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  1. #1
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Spam king, Verizon settle lawsuit
    W. Bloomfield man's deal with Internet service limits his reach, but he vows to stay in business

    By Joel Kurth / The Detroit News

    I admit no liability ... and I don't know if any message has been sent at all (with the settlement.)
    Alan M. Ralsky,
    commercial bulk e-mailer
    Related reports:
    With vigilantes on their heels, top spammers keep the e-mail flowing
    Junk mail foes target spam king
    Spammed: A costly war of attrition sours the Internet experience

    WEST BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP -- A landmark lawsuit some hoped would help define the limits of free speech in cyberspace has been settled, sparing a trial for Michigan's most notorious Internet entrepreneur.
    Verizon Internet Services announced Monday it has settled its multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Alan M. Ralsky, a West Bloomfield commercial bulk e-mailer who some consider to be among the worst spammers in the world. The deal allows Ralsky to stay in business but shrinks his customer base.
    It was the first time Verizon sued a sender of the unsolicited pitches that promise everything from pornography to credit repair. The settlement avoids a trial scheduled for Monday and, observers hope, serves as a deterrent to one of the top annoyances in cyberspace.
    "Ralsky is one of the better-known spammers out there," said John Mozena of Grosse Pointe Woods, vice president of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-Mail. "The bigger the spammer that falls, the happier we are. The bigger the stick they're whacked with, the happier we are. It's nothing personal, we just don't appreciate getting their e-mails and want them to stop."
    The settlement permanently bars Ralsky and his company, Additional Benefits LLC, from sending bulk e-mails on any of Verizon's networks, which reach 164 million customers in 40 states.
    Ralsky also must pay the corporation an undisclosed fine.
    But a defiant Ralsky said he will continue sending bulk e-mails.
    Verizon's suit in the U.S. District Court's Eastern Virginia District had sought to shut him down, seeking as much as $37 million on allegations Ralsky twice paralyzed its network in 2000 by sending millions of e-mails for diet pills, on-line gambling and other offers.
    "It didn't happen," said Ralsky, 57, denying that he sent millions of e-mails on Verizon's networks. "I admit no liability ... and I don't know if any message has been sent at all (with the settlement.)"
    Ralsky calls unsolicited e-mail the "best business in the world," considers "spam" a dirty word that doesn't describe his honest venture and proudly notes that he doesn't send offers for pornography or messages to those who indicate they don't want them.
    He gravitated to the business in the late-1990s while recovering from bankruptcy and the loss of his insurance license.
    Neither Ralsky nor Verizon would comment extensively on the settlement, citing confidentiality agreements.
    But Bobbi Henson, a spokeswoman for the Reston, Va.-based Verizon, called it a significant case. "People should see this and think twice about sending spam on our lines."
    The case was closely watched because many had hoped it would set a legal precedent in the often-murky world of cyber law. Legislators in about 25 states have passed laws restricting spam, but few cases have gone to trial to test them.

    Don't you wish they'd have just shipped him of to China without a penny in his pocket!!

    WebMaster Mike

  2. #2
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    I just got a faster computer with enough memory to run the mailWasher program to fight against spammers. It bounces their crap back to them if I check off bounce/delete as I preview the e-mails before it gets sent to my Outlook Express program. Neat....

    WebMaster Mike

  3. #3
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    January 17th, 2005
    >Don't you wish they'd have just shipped him of to China without a penny in his pocket!!

    Oh yeah, that's what we really need - the king of spammers in a country that would give him official support in his activities and no way to even slow him down! - I dunno about you, but a lof of my spam comes from .cn sources.

    As for Mailwasher, you should read my posts more often - I first suggested that one months ago.

  4. #4
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    JayBat I did read your older post recommending Problem was it chocked up my older system with only 32MB Ram. Now I've gotten a faster one with 128MB Ram and it was one of the first things I downloaded and installed along with Ad-Aware.

    WebMaster Mike

  5. #5
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    January 18th, 2005
    St Clair Shores MI.
    Well many here think I just rant about parasites and spammers. For those who lurk this board who knowingly use spam or theftwarez as a money making tool beware the FTC is on your case.

    By Troy Wolverton
    Special to ZDNet News
    November 14, 2002, 5:48 AM PT

    A coalition of government regulators led by the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday announced a crackdown on online spammers and scammers.
    Altogether, the regulators announced they had filed more than 30 enforcement actions and had sent letters to about 100 alleged spammers warning them to cease sending the unwanted and often fraudulent commercial e-mail messages. Additionally, the regulators announced the results of an investigation into spam, concluding that Net users who post their e-mail addresses in publicly accessible places, such as on chat sites or newsgroups, are highly likely to receive spam as a result.

    The regulators' action was the third such FTC-led initiative this year to combat spam, noted Brian Huseman, a staff attorney at the FTC.

    "The FTC and its partners are stepping up law enforcement and consumer education on this topic," Huseman said.

    The FTC trained its sights on spammers in January, announcing that it would begin taking legal action against those who sent deceptive e-mail messages. In April, the agency along with six U.S. states and Canada announced they had filed 63 enforcement actions and had sent warning letters to 500 sites accused of sending illegal chain letter scams. The FTC announced a similar enforcement action in July.

    Although states such as California have enacted laws prohibiting spam, there is no comparable federal law. Despite this, the FTC has the power to combat deceptive practices, advertisements or outright fraud.

    If a company promises in an e-mail to allow customers to "opt out" of receiving further messages but doesn't provide a legitimate opt-out address, the company could run afoul of the FTC. Likewise, the agency can take steps to quash pyramid schemes online or offline.

    Legal actions taken by the FTC usually take the form of civil, not criminal, complaints that force parties found guilty to pay restitution and cease their activities.

    As part of Wednesday's announcement, the FTC said that it had filed a complaint against Brian Silverman of Manhattan for allegedly defrauding bidders on eBay. Silverman, who sold laptop computers on the online auction giant's site, defrauded more than 200 bidders out of about $300,000 starting in January, said Ann Weintraub, an attorney with the FTC.

    Silverman asked bidders to pay him with cashier's checks, money orders or wire transfers, meaning that they had no recourse once he didn't ship their computers, Weintraub said. The FTC is seeking a preliminary injunction against Silverman, whom eBay has suspended twice, she said.

    "I think that the best thing for people to know is that they should look for sellers that accept credit cards. That's your best protection," she said.

    Attacking spam
    With spam becoming a growing problem that is overloading corporate servers as well as individual's mailboxes, lawmakers, regulators, companies and consumers have been taking increasingly desperate measures to combat it. Among the solutions have been laws outlawing spam and attempts to blacklist Internet providers seen as spam-friendly. Some Internet users have even turned to small claims courts to file suit against alleged spammers.

    But the responses to spam have drawn criticism themselves. Some critics have argued that state-enacted antispam laws violate free speech or the U.S. Constitution's interstate commerce clause, although a California appeals court earlier this year upheld that state's antispam measure. Meanwhile, blacklists have been criticized for blocking access to innocent sites as well as those of spammers.

    In an effort to study spam, the FTC and state regulators set up 250 e-mail addresses and posted them on various places on the Internet. Of those addresses that were posted on chat sites, 100 percent received unsolicited e-mail messages, the FTC said in a statement. Meanwhile, 86 percent of addresses posted on newsgroups and 50 percent of those posted on free personal Web pages received spam, the FTC said.

    Spammers appear to be getting the e-mail addresses by using automated harvesting programs that comb Web sites looking for "@" signs, the FTC's Huseman said.

    "If consumers post their e-mail addresses in public places on the Internet, these harvesting programs will pick them up," he said.

    In addition to the FTC, regulatory agencies involved in Wednesday's announcement included the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts; the New Hampshire Department of Justice; the attorneys general of Connecticut, Maine, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont; and consumer protection departments in New Jersey, New York City and New York state.


    A proposal for eliminating spam

    Spam has spawned blacklists, which are preventing thousands,
    perhaps millions of legitimate e-mails from arriving at their
    destinations. We need to put an end to the useless prevention
    methods before they bring an end to the Internet as we know it....

    I have a better cure than blacklists. No ISP POP# e-mail server will forward any e-mail that doesn't have a ONE CENT e-Stamp attached to it. Legit bulk e-mailers will be able to purchase reduced rate e-Stamps like in the real world. ISP customers will get 300 FREE e-Stamps per month and the balance goes onto their monthly bill. MY rule: "If what you write or offer someone isn't worth ONE CENT ..then don't send it" Use a chatroom -IM or forum to disguss drivel. e-Stamp proceeds all go to me unless I allow participating ISP worldwide to do the collections, metering and issuing of e-Stamps.


    WebMaster Mike

    [This message was edited by on November 15, 2002 at 10:34 AM.]

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