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A Dispatch

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June 07, 2005

Why Do They Bother?

One of the requirements of the U.S. CAN-SPAM law is that an unsolicited message must have a valid physical address to which a recipient may write to be removed from the mailing list. Compliance with this provision is next to zero among senders who mail to harvested email addresses (since harvesting is also illegal according to CAN-SPAM).

So, when a message arrives (in my Suspects bin) that includes a mailing address, it's kind of amazing. When such an address appears, however, it's usually a tremendous joke. The message in question has very little text (beyond the Bayesian filter hashbuster block), and what text exists is not English (it tries to be). Only by some weird characters in the Subject: line and by the domain name that includes the word "date" do I suppose this site is for some kind of adult site. This is the type of spam to which I do not respond in any way—no Web site hits...Zero Response.

With a little checking on this message and domain, I see that the spamvertised site is hosted in China, and the domain registrant claims to be from Nicaragua. Apparent ties to the U.S. are nil. So why bother with the address to comply with the U.S. law? Not only that, but the address is complete window dressing:

9145, 18 AVE, ZZ, %PAIS_65438

See that "%PAIS_" part? That's a placeholder for a random filler. "País" is Spanish for "country." The spammer's routine failed to fill in a random country name for this address. I'm assuming the "65438" is to be interpreted as a postal code.

Anyway, even if a country name appeared in this bogus address, it wouldn't make the message any more compliant with the CAN-SPAM law. Why bother?

Posted on June 07, 2005 at 07:39 PM