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December 31, 2004

How To Ruin a Reputation in One Easy Spam

My "Suspects" directory got a message whose Subject: line read "Happy New Year." The From: listing showed a domain name that I did not recognize. Here is the text of the message (real names/URLs disguised to prevent you from visiting their site):


Your friends at www.foo_bar.com want to wish you a Happy New Year, the best of wishes and success in the 2005 season. We're hoping to serve all of your cycling needs in the upcoming year.

The Foo_bar Team

I researched the domain name, and found it to have been created way back in 1999, so this is not some Johnny-come-lately business. The domain registration lists its home base as Florida. Unfortunately for Floridians, the name of their state causes the blood pressure of veteran spam fighters to ratchet up a few mmHgs. It seems that a lot of spamming operations are based there. Most of that activity, however, tends to be in the southeast portion of the state (Boca Raton has the spammiest reputation). The domain registration of my suspect spammer showed him to be on the west coast of Florida, up in the St. Petersburg area. In truth, the geography is not an issue with me—egregious American spammers are distributed all across this Great Land of Ours.

Based on the message, I guess I'm supposed to believe that I am a customer of this outfit. I can tell you that I enjoy cycling, but haven't done so on a bicycle that goes anywhere in probably decades. There just isn't enough wind resistance or danger on my recumbant stationary cycle that I'd need a helmet or spandex suit. Nor have I bought cycling gifts for my cycling friends. In other words: In no way on Earth could I be considered a customer of this outfit.

But that doesn't stop it from lying about it in the hope that I'll click on their link to visit their online store.

What this message does stop is me from ever visiting this online shop. If they have a retail store, I wouldn't go in there either. Merchants who try to play these kinds of tricks don't deserve to be rewarded for their trickery. This message isn't a friendly holiday greeting to customers; it's an outright spam message trolling for Web site traffic (and not CAN-SPAM compliant, at that).

Then a second, identical message was sent within less than 24 hours. Sheesh!

To this firm I say: You may have been in business for a number of years, but in my book, you have crossed the line into blatant spamdom. No click-throughs for you.

Posted on December 31, 2004 at 09:53 AM