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March 28, 2006

Another Idiot Closer to Home

No sooner do I rant about the Idiot Italian Spammer than a spammer from northern California pulls some of the same idiotic stunts.

From what I can gather (that is, by means other than visiting the spamvertised Web site), this message is promoting a self-published book, produced in California. The spamvertised site's domain appears to be registered to the author. The blurbs make it sound like part thriller, part romance novel with religious overtones. I can't really tell. I don't really care.

Two things tick me off Big Time about this mailing.

First, this message violates major provisions of the U.S. CAN-SPAM law. Let me count the ways:

  1. The subject suggests the message is an "update." Update to what? There is nothing of news or new information in the message body—just a sales pitch and testimonials from people I've never heard of. Misleading.
  2. There is no mailing or physical address identifying the advertiser or sender.
  3. There is no provision to opt out of the mailing list.

I also want to know how my email address got onto the list. Harvested perhaps (another violation)? I looked through the list to see if I could identify any other names in search of a possible connection. At most I found one name that could belong to someone I know but haven't had contact with in years (and the actual address doesn't look right to me, anyway).

Second, like the Italian job, this message exposes 270 email addresses in plain view to all recipients by listing them in the To: field. This is so dangerous to all 270 of us that my blood boils. If even one of these recipients has an infected PC (there's a very good likelihood that the infection percentage is in the double digits), all addresses will be captured and sent off to additional spam/phishing/virus gangs so that we'll get even more crap from the worst of the worst. Thank you very much.

As an author, I know how difficult it is to get a book noticed. You slave over a title you believe is excellent, yet sales are horrible. BTDTGTTS (been there, done that, got the T-shirt). But spamming—breaking a federal law and putting all recipients' email addresses at grave risk—is not the way to do it. And if the author was hoping that even negative publicity is better than none, I've been careful to omit any references that would lead a Google search to his doorstep.

Posted on March 28, 2006 at 08:10 AM