An Internet Patrol Exclusive: Interview with a Spammer – TIP Gets Down and Dirty with Spam King Scott Richter

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This is the first in a series of dialogues wiith self-proclaimed Spam King and Daily Show veteran, Scott Richter. The Internet Patrol has agreed to provide this venue to allow Mr. Richter to take and respond to questions from our readers. If you have questions or comments for Mr. Richter, please leave them as a comment to this article, and Mr. Richter will do his best to respond to them.

Follow up: Scott Richter has responded to many questions and comments which our readers have posted for him. See the comments section at the end of this interview.

The Internet Patrol (“TIP”): I’m sure it will come as no surprise when we tell you that you aren’t the most beloved email sender in the world, and are often called the “King of Spam”, a name you’ve even joked about yourself. Is your reputation as a “spammer” deserved?

Richter: I was looking to be part of royalty but did not expect to be the King of Spam. On the other hand we are a marketing company so we have to make do with what comes our way and run with it.

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TIP: Ok, but are you really a spammer? Do you deserve to be called the King of Spammers, one of the top spammers? Is it a case of if you are going to do something, you might as well do it right?

Richter: No, based on CAN-SPAM in the U.S. I am not a spammer. The Spam King name is just a name given by the media. I soon will be the Anti-Spam King.

Many people have nick names, some relate to them more then others.

TIP: Recently you’ve said that you want to go straight, and to change your wicked spamming ways. But you’ve also bragged about how much money you make from spam, so why should we believe you? Why should anyone believe you?

Richter: Actually I have not bragged, this is something reporters usually write about and misquote. I actually do not do what I do for the need of money. I just enjoy working and employing employees and building a business. I am like most people, and really enjoy a challenge. What many may find interesting is that I wanted to hang it up or move on many times, but the pressure from the anti-spammers is actually what keeps me motivated and in the game. It’s like chess, no one wants to lose.

TIP: So, again, why should anyone believe you that you want to go straight and send only wanted, opted-in to email? Tell us something which will convince us that you really want to go straight.

Richter: Actions speak louder then words. Any ISP who has worked with us and allowed us the chance to meet their guidelines can, I think, honestly say we have done a good job doing it.

TIP: We have heard from more than a few sources that they have received spam from you as recently as this week. Are you still sending spam? And if so, why?

Richter: This is an interesting question. I think if the definition of “spam” is based on CAN SPAM, we are not sending spam. If “spam” is based on a third-party’s statements based in another country outside the U.S. then some may call it spam.

Another issue people to not understand is that we host a large amount of clients on our network and most anti-spam fighters do not take the time to read past the IP space, and just find it easier to blame me for it.

However, by not complaining about an abuser on our network, because they either think its me or for whatever reason, we then do not have the chance to know and deal with it, which then actually can cause a large abuse issue to take place if we are not told about it.

TIP: So all of the email you send now complies with CAN-SPAM?

Richter: All of the email that we personally send has always complied with CAN SPAM to the best of my knowledge.

TIP: If you could sit down at a table with the heads of the top six ISPs in the United States, what would you want to say to them?

Richter: I would ask them to give me the opportunity that two of the six ISPs have given us to show that we can follow anyone’s rules and work with them. All I ask is to be treated equally.

TIP: Are you saying that if an ISP lays down the rules for you, you will abide by them and that the only email you will send to that ISP is email which meets their criteria?

Richter: Correct. Different ISPs have different requirements on many things, all the way down to bounce handling. We have no issue meeting or exceeding any ISP’s requirements of us.

TIP: Same question, but for the top six spam filters in the United States.

Richter: Probably thank a few of them for building LLC to what it is today. If not for the Spamhaus yellow pages most would have never found us. You really cannot put a value on the advertising it does for us. It’s sad but true in a way that Spamhaus works against itself as it advertises what ISPs to use, and who the top senders they list are, so most advertisers use it when deciding who they want to work with.

I would also ask that any filtering company judge us like they judge any other ISP. We face many of the same issues with hosted clients, and harassing us, our upstreams or people we work with is wrong. Besides, when was the last time the harassment really worked and put anyone out of business for good?

On the other hand if they were more civil and open minded instead of a few which are one-track minded, they probably could have made a difference on the net a long time ago and email wouldn’t be where it is today.

TIP: You say that you would like to be judged like any other ISP, but you’re not just an ISP. You are also, by your own admission, a “high volume email deployer”. What would you say to the ISPs and spam filters which are blocking specifically the email which you, not your customers, send, or which you send for your customers?

Richter: That is their choice, all we can do is ask them to unblock us, and meet whatever they require of us to stay unblocked or whitelisted.

TIP: What do you think of anti-spammers?

Richter: I think some are super great people who truly want to make a difference and understand that no matter what you think of someone, if you give them a chance and work with them you can change them. Then others I think are so one-track minded that it’s a shame they give the good ones such a bad image – all they do is complain and post to many newsgroups with no hope of ever making a difference. It’s sad to put in so much time to something that you really don’t effect. If they want the attention they should work with email houses to make a difference, and suggest ideas that are open-minded and which over time can work. Not “you’re blocked until you die”, that just wont solve anyone’s issues.

TIP: Like what kind of ideas? If you were going to consult to email houses and tell them what they need to do to clean up their act and get their mail delivered, what would you tell them to do?

Richter: I would tell them to work one on one with what ever ISPs are blocking them and to follow what ever requirements they have.

TIP: Who do you think is the biggest problem spammer out there today?

Richter: Hard to say, but from email I get it’s who ever is joe jobbing us.

[Ed. note: A “joe job”, in anti-spam parlance, is the act of sending spam and forging the “From:” information to make it appear that the spam is coming from someone else.]

Richter: I have taken a lot of blame for huge joe jobs against us. The good part is there are a few respected anti-spam fighters who have pointed this out to the others who were blaming me for it, and we are working to find out who is behind it and to seek legal action against them.

TIP: There’s a kind of poetic irony to the King of Spam suing another spammer for sending spam which makes it look like the King of Spammers is spamming, isn’t there?

Richter: No, I see it as one legit high volume sender going after one illegal unlegit email sender for damaging his reputation.

As to name names, its tough, I really do not know the workings of the really bad ones. I am under the impression that most of them are in Russia, from reading what people write about them.

TIP: Well, let me give you a name. Ronnie Scelson told the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee this week that he was trying to abide by CAN-SPAM, but that if ISPs like AOL and Hotmail didn’t stop blocking his email, he was going to resort to using deceptive tactics again. What do you think about that?

Richter: I think that is wrong and very bad. I am not him, so that is his business, not mine.

TIP: If you could advise the United States government as to the best thing they could do to stop that pesky spam problem, what would your advice be?

Richter: I think they have begun it, I think CAN SPAM is a start. I think that over time they will change it more, but at least they laid the ground work to start. Also with the FBI now investigating, and the FTC, I’m sure that a few more crackdowns like what took place a few weeks back will send a message to anyone U.S.-based, doing anything that is not compliant, to quit real fast.

TIP: Do you really think so? You said earlier that it is like a chess game, others have compared it to a cat and mouse game. Why do you think that if there are legal crackdowns, spammers will stop spamming rather than just finding a new move?

Richter: Just a lucky guess. My instinct tells me that most illegal spammers cannot be really making that much money, and that the cat and mouse game will end sooner or later for them.

As I have said and will always say, the big issue is this is a global issue, and while we may solve the problem here in the U.S., we need to solve it somehow globally.

TIP: Is there any question which you think we should have asked you? If so, what is it, and what is your answer?

Richter: So many, but I’d rather let the readers write in to ask what they feel is most important to them.

TIP: Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers, or the world at large?

Richter: The most important is that no matter what, people on either side of the issue should realize that at the end of the day we are all human, and that treating anyone like a human will get them a lot further then they may imagine.

To send questions or comments to Mr. Richter, please leave them as a comment to this article, and Mr. Richter will respond to them.

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81 thoughts on “An Internet Patrol Exclusive: Interview with a Spammer – TIP Gets Down and Dirty with Spam King Scott Richter

  1. Actually, Spam is NOT costless. Unfortunately, the cost falls on everyone ELSE that is storing, transmitting, or routing their unwanted trash through the system.
    And it costs everyone, not just those people – Imagine how much faster the internet would be if 40% of the traffic wasn’t spam being routed.

  2. Scott Richter said: “No, based on CAN-SPAM in the U.S. I am not a spammer.”

    Are you stating that you send NO unsolicited bulk email at all?

    There are a number of definitions of spam. The commonly accepted one is simply that – unsolicited bulk email.

    I have noticed that you frequently imply that bulk email that complies with CAN-SPAM isn’t spam at all, simply because it’s not forbidden. The FTC, which is responsible for most of the interpretation and enforcement of the law, seems to disagree with you.


    They clearly refer to senders of CAN-SPAM compliant commercial email as spammers.

    The current expectation is that they will make a clear distinction between mailers sending CSA-compliant unsolicited commercial email and those sending email for which affirmative consent (ie, PROPER permission) has been obtained, and that they will not consider or refer to the latter as spam.

    The difference between legalistic interpretations of the word “permission” and the FTC’s application of the phrase “affirmative consent” is substantial. A large segment of the co-registration industry, for example, falls outside the realm of “affirmative consent.”

    Repeating my question in that light: Are you stating that you send NO unsolicited bulk email at all?

    Unles you can answer that question with a solid “Yes, that’s what I’m saying,” you are a spammer. By common definition and that of the FTC.

    Separately, to the individuals who claim that the phrase “busines ethics” is an oxymoron… Get a clue. They’re cheap.

    There are a lot of us on the busines side of things who oppose any use of spam or other unethical business tactics. All that kind of nonsensical rhetoric does is make us want to lump the entire anti-spam side of things in with the spammers as being worth only the effort of ignoring them.

    We’re probably the best lever you could have against the influence of the DMA and other business groups that want to make spam an “acceptable” business practice.

    Unfortunately, ridiculous comments like the ones above have left many businessfolk entirely unwilling to get involved in the issue at all. Why try to help someone who publicly accuses you of being unethical simply because you’re in business?

    Back to Mr Richter…

    You give the impression of being brighter than the usual image of a spammer. Perhaps you could explain why you persist in promoting a process that can only end in the destruction of the host environment?

    Surely you, more than most, are aware that UBE cannot continue without bringing the entire email system down. Is this public effort then an attempt to garner a reputation that will allow you to move your business into other channels when the axe finally comes down on UBE? Perhaps as “an established opt-in mailing house?”

    If so, this is analogous to helping to spread a disease so that one may later sell the cure.

    Paul Myers
    (814) 452-2855

  3. You have the brass balls to say “…unless anti spam blocking people unblock some net space there is no motivation for us to go 100% confirmed ”

    That’s like saying, “Unless people start leaving their front doors unlocked, there is no motivation for burglars to knock on the doors before breaking in”.

    What a maroon.

  4. First I want to thank all of you for reading the Internet Patrol’s interview and allowing me the chance to respond to different questions asked. Second off I would like to encourage all of you to attend the Great Debate as I think it will be a great chance to learn and see from both sides to the block what goes on as well as what solutions are out there that can solve a lot of the issues that go on. Believe it or not there are ways for both sides to work together to help make the Internet a better place. Once again looking forward to seeing all of you at the Great Debate (unless Julian pulls out, im sure he won’t, hes a big boy) and please keep posting questions, im more then happy to read and respond to them.

  5. You must be a spammer – you spout their line like one. But it’s incorrect, your imagination is simply too limited to understand that many people do indeed know. I get spam to addresses that have never been used; they are simply guessed names at one of my domains, like, and if you have a catchall, it gets them. Understand? Or is it still too complex for your little spamming brain? Ever try unsubing a virgin email address? It won’t be virgin no more, for a lot of the spammers. Believe me, I know from experience. I get spam at addresses used for posting to discussion groups that have never been used elsewhere – no way did I subscribe.

    Now, apologize or get lost.

  6. If you ever triied to unsub from spam, then you would know what I’m talking about.

    Unsubbing does not work. It’s that simple.

    And no, the userid with Optinrealbig crap in the Inbox was not used to join any lists.

  7. You never know, maybe you did join a list. Saying that you did not sub, so you don’t unsub makes you sound more childish them Mr. Richter.

    Time to grow up and click remove if its that big of an issue to you. Otherwise me thinks you enjoy getting mail if not making any attempt to unsub.

  8. I did not sub, so I don’t unsub.

    I have tried unsubbing in the past on other occasions – most of Snotty Scottys peers might process an unsub appropriately, and then pass the email addreses being unsubbed to their peers, as a verified email address.

    That results in even more illegal email, from other sources.

    No experienced spam victim will trust a spammer to simply remove his email address and do nothing else.

    The only answer is for all spammers to delete their illegaly acquired victim lists (NOT subscription lists), and start over. Take the money that they have acquired from illegal activity, and return it to the victims.

    Then make a new list. And fucking ask permission the next time.

  9. So why don’t you use the unsub, or do you enjoy opening email, identifying who you got it from and then spending all your time posting about it?

    Seems like a simple solution to a lot of your problem.

    Just my two cents, keep up the fight Snotty

  10. Are you Bush’s spiritual advisor?

    Too many people think like you, and that is why we have these kinds of problems.

    If you think morals only belong in a small circle, then you certainly don’t understand them.

  11. Nitecruzr brings up a good point about Theft Of Service. A few hundred or thousand of us users AND internet backbone operators bringing a class action lawsuit against Scott Richter and Does 1-50 (to be subpoenaed) for the cost of service theft and penalties, on behalf of all spammers service theft for their private enrichment, currently estimated at over 60%+ total internet bandwidth. We could -FINANCIALLY- rape, rob, torture and murder spammers as a group, As They Have, Us. Take back their homes, boats, cars, planes, take away their hidden assets in the Caymens, take their brats out of private catholic school and shove the lil bastards into public school… Sweet, sweet vengence. Nitecruzr, your idea rox0rz. At the very least, U.S. courts COULD orders these leeches to pay our ISP charges… even if we have to continue receiving their spoor in exchange for the free internet service. A proper and fair exchange then… Sorta like Google GMAIL.

  12. Mr Richter,

    I am familiar with OptinRealBig, and I get email from that organisation, and advertising their websites. Yet I have NEVER asked for it. Obviously your optin system does not work – if it did, I’d never get your crap.

    If I didn’t ask for it, it’s spam. If it’s spam, it’s theft.

    When YOU start paying for my ISP charges, then you can talk about your thievery in the same breath as TV commercials. Until then, FOAD.

  13. As far as I am concerned I find the whole spam debate to not be a big problem for me. Yes I get a considerable number of unsolicited emails(ranging from less than 10 to somewhere in the hundreds at times) offering or promising all of the things mentioned in earlier posts. I also make liberal use of spam filtering and blocking. In other words unless you, the spammer, are on MY opt in list your emails do not stand much of a chance of getting looked at much less acted on. So feel free to keep on sending them and to all those companies out there paying to have their spam sent…keep on paying for vapor mail.

  14. Thanks for your reply; sounds like I’m caught in the middle of a war and so I suffer from the consequences of both sides. I have no problem with true opt-in email, but if it’s not confirmed, there is no incentive for the sender not to spam people who don’t opt-in, since there’s no proof that the receiver didn’t either inadvertently opt-in, or get opted-in by someone else. Also, I’m afraid to opt-in, because their is a good chance the sender will then sell my name to all his “partners” (customers) and pretty soon I will be on an ever-expanding list of senders. My only alternative is to use a temporary address that can be closed. Most spammers are digging their own graves, in my opinion.

  15. This love one another stuff is fine in Christian circles, but this is war. You don’t win a war by playing lovey-lovey. You win it by so trouncing your enemy that he can’t rise again to strike back in any meaningful way. If you don’t, you will be fighting an endless battle.

  16. Buddhists suffer spam too. The Covenant With Christ may bind Christians to love Mr. Richter, but the world is not all Christian, and Most Certainly Does Not Love Mr. Richter’s industry. Let’s leave religion out of this one folks. It’s a distracting non-starter.

    If only we could buy a small hardware box that checked against a reputation-based consensus-driven database of spammers and open-relays (like Cloudmark+Senderbase,) before even allowing a -connection- to be made with mailservers. One that would allow mailadmins to blacklist and whitelist any leaks.

  17. Four times we are told.
    Three times in John and again in 1 Peter

    “That ye love one another.”

    Thanks Pop

  18. You know, it is sad that this is a war that will go on and on escalating as each side plays various word games with the other and both sides hearing nothing but attacks. Mr. Richter, you are making good money right now and that may go on fo quite a while, whether or not you go to jail. And I have no way to know, other than typed words, if you are serious about improving this industry or if you truly want to change your image. Mr SpamNazi and Mr Gardenhire your mastery of sarcasm and overstatement of the obvious is outstanding but I have seen no concrete suggestions of steps to begin this change that you feel is so necessary. You seem to feel that Mr Richter has no real stake in this and he can just get and walk away with no problem. Could you just walk away from your job or source of income right now. And Mr. Richter, I am a minister. Could you explain to me why I would, by any stretch of the imagination, would be interested in illegal cable descramblers, drugs, software, or porn? Yes, I know you can’t tell that by my email address to me and my children everyday. People, Maybe what we need is to tone down the heat in these messages and start listening to each other and try to find a common ground. Then maybe you can find a way to bridge the gap and even create a new method of email advertising that will work instead of throwing barbs and arrows at each other.

  19. No motivation at all–except for a sense of right and wrong. Oops, this is Scott Richter. Never mind.

  20. Dear Fried:

    We use optin on some sites and confirmed on others. I think what people do not understand is that unless anti spam blocking people unblock some net space there is no motivation for us to go 100% confirmed currently. We are very open minded and happy to change all our practices to improve the Internet but it takes work from both sides.

    We are all ears and waiting for them to make an offer.

  21. It does my heart good to know that simply by staying employed and earning an honest wage I am supporting millions on welfare.

  22. Although I know nothing at all about you; it would appear that you have quite the reputation as a spammer. While I feel that you have in the past committed the crime of sending spam, you claim to not do that anymore. You claim, that in the future, you will become known as the King of Anti-Spam. I somewhat doubt your conversion, as it were, since you continuously dodge the question. Mr. Richter, you have yet to give a straight answer, and by doing so, you automatically destroy any credibility that you may have. You even chang the wording so that the answer you give can be the truth. But you asked for details.

    For someone to so artfully skirt the laws and regulations as you have; inherently presumes a keen undrerstanding of the laws and regulations. It has long been said that ‘it takes a thief to catch a thief.’ Just as we use those who have been caught penetrating site security to assist in preventing breaches; so too can you be useful in stopping spammers who choose to continue. You know the ins and outs, Mr. Richter. You know the loopholes that are being used. You know how things are done, exactly how things are done, spurious methods that are used, etc. The person who knows all this can almost certainly utilize this knowledge to bring the machinery to a halt. Consider it an atonement, sir. We have now come to the time when spam has become a horrendous creature; and it is now a situation of us against them. It is the bottom of the ninth because war has been declared. Bases are loaded, you stepped up to the plate when you said that you desired to have the title of King of Anti-Spam. Well sir, it’s yours. I’ll even shine the crown for you. All you have to do is hit the Grand Slam homerun. If you can show us how to put a complete stop to this invasion, without a doubt, you would instantly become the most hightly esteemed person in the world. And I do mean the world. One can only begin to imagine the adoration that would be yours.

    You have the knowledge–you’ve been doing it for years.

    You have the experience–you have earned the title King.

    You stated you desired to be a champion–a person who fights for or defends any person or cause: a champion of the oppressed. a fighter or warrior.

    Simply put, Mr. Richter; one who can continue when forces try to stop them can surely turn these talents and use them to stop those who couldn’t be stopped. If you try to skirt this sir, you will only condemn yourself; trust me on this.

    Personally I think that you are all blow. I think there isn’t a truthful or honest thought in your mind or bone in your body. I wouldn’t trust you to carry out the garbage. However, people can and do change. Some see the light. You state you are one; now prove it.

  23. Confirm Opt-In E-Mail Only is Eligible
    To use the Habeas headers you must apply for a license and warrant that you will only use the header on e-mail messages that are confirmed opt-in (sometimes called “double opt-in”). “Habeas Compliant Message” applies to any email for which any of the following is true:

    The sender has the verified permission of each and every addressee.
    The sender and each and every address are all individuals who share a preexisting, professional (as opposed to merchant-consumer) relationship, and the email is relevant to that professional relationship.
    Each and every addressee is a personal friend or family member of the sender, the email is not equally applicable to many other potential recipients, and the email is not commercial.
    The email is sent to a single addressee.
    For online businesses, statement one applies. Habeas defines “verified permission” in this way: that “the addressee has confirmed their desire and permission to have their e-mail address placed on a mailing list….” and requires confirmation of that subscription, by either (1) replying to an e-mail or (2) clicking on a URL in a subscription confirmation e-mail. Additionally, proof of this must be demonstrated by the confirmation e-mail itself or logs that include “a unique token generated by the operator” such as a date and an IP address. You can read the fine print the Habeas License Agreement and in their FAQ.

    If part of your list is Habeas-compliant, and another part is not, that’s okay. You send compliant e-mail with the Habeas header and the non-compliant e-mail with a link allowing the subscriber to confirm his subscription immediately. Thus gradually your entire active list will become compliant. After a year or so, drop those who haven’t confirmed their subscriptions — they obviously don’t read or care about your e-mails anyway.

  24. I realize you’re a busy man, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen more of a non-answer to a simple question. You should go into politics. You’d go far. Ah well…we tried. Thanks, anyway.

  25. Lots can be done, the main problem is that some stand in the way of stuff getting done.

  26. Spam is a HUGE problem. It threatens to destroy the base function of email. Sucks large amounts of time and bandwidth (read money). You are (or have been) at the forefront of generating this flow. You know how and why it works. You are in a prime position to help the entire Internet community and stop this. What can be done?

  27. Heh, Heh, Heh: I just wouldn’t be me if I didn’t say it. After all, what’s fair is fair.

    I love it; I truly do.

    All Hail
    Anne of the Internet Patrol (at one time known as “Aunty Spam”)

    Gotta tell ya…Anne wins this one hands down. Hit the nail right on the head she did. Cut to the chase. Bottom line. ‘nough said.

    Mr. Richter;

    Got it now? If you facilitate it, for profit or not, it’s wrong. Choose sides and come out fighting. We’re going to win, the rest are going to jail. Help us do that ; and you too may see All Hail above your name one day. Think about it. We truly need a champion and you have the ability to accomplish what needs to be done. It’s the bottom of the 9th, and you’re up.

  28. We truly need a champion and you have the ability to accomplish what needs to be done. It’s the bottom of the 9th, and you’re up.

    explain in more detail please

  29. Just to clarify lead generation offers are the large paying items on the net currently, people need leads to call on. Even non profit groups need leads of people interested in donating

  30. Let us step in here a minute to clarify, or to stir things up, if Mr. Gardenhire will permit us .

    Mr. Richter is claiming that content does not define spam, and in that regard he is right – and has the agreement of much of the anti-spam community.

    However, the corollary is that CONSENT does define spam.

    Consent, not content.

    If Mr. Richter sends dog treat offers to people who have agreed to receive that sender’s offers, or who have even requested to receive that sender’s offers, then it is not spam. Goodness, if Mr. Richter sends email to GROW YOUR MALE ORGAN REAL FAST AND FIRE YOUR BOSS, and he sends it to people who have actually consented to receive it (and we know a few who should), then it’s not spam.

    If, on the other hand, Mr. Richter is sending dog treat offers to people who have not consented by word or action to receive those offers, it is spam.

  31. Google is your friend. Go to and click on the link that says “Advanced Search.” Then look for the word “OptInRealBig” in the newsgroup and you will be able to see a huge archive of Scott Richter’s spam with your own eyes.

  32. WRONG. Unsolicited Commercial Email, UCE, is spam. That is the definition. If the recipient did not specifically and explicitly ask for it, if it’s selling something, and if it was sent by email, then it is spam. Period. End of story.

  33. Agreed, but it is ALSO content. if I sent you an email that simply says “Hi, Aunty!, How’s the weather where you are?”, that is not spam, because there is no commercial content. Unasked for, yes, but NOT UCE. Mr Richter, being quite evasive on this point, is only killing his side of the discussion. Obviously, dog treat offers and Cancer newsletter requests ‘just for fun’ is not earning him that large paycheck. I wonder what is?

  34. Again, dodging the question. You’re not making much sense. The content of the email is the very determination of its spammishness. “Just for fun”, you send dog treat offers, and Cancer newletter requests. What do you send out for profit? Evasive answers can only lead one to think that you are skrting the law, if not overtly breaking it. You are the only one who can change these thoughts…:)

  35. What you send has nothing to do if its spam. Just for fun I send dog treat offers and requests for people to join news letter on Cancer patients. So then this is not spam?

  36. I may be living in a fantasy world, but they know me there and ,yes, you are correct. I do not do business with any company that deals in DECIET. It is not that they interrupt but it is force fed. Yes, I have a delete button, span filters, pop up blockers,firewalls, and anti-virus programs, all of it, and a MUTE button on my TV. I am reminded of the local auto glass business owner who was convicted of breaking windshields in his own community because his business wasn’t doing well at the time. I believe that products and companies that spend large amounts of $ on advertising do so because they sell crap!! The marketing plan of the day seems to be make or import some cheap crap and then spend your money on MARKETING. (SPAM ETC.)

  37. Please don’t dodge the question, Scott. What is sent DOES define whether it is spam or not. And you can only define what it is by looking at it. We’re in agreement that Spam = Unsolicited Commercial Email, right? A commercial message, that I did not ask for, is spam. I’m sure you’re very aware of the wording in the Can-Spam Act. So are many of us. All I’m asking for is an example of some of the things you have sent, that we may verify whether or not it is Spam.

  38. Dear TIP,

    Actually I am an expert. Air Force Intelligence (Vietnam). And judging by the posts that followed, maybe what I was trying to say is you were being much too polite and accomodating. We simply do not like these kind of vermin and I had assumed that you were on our side. Oh, assume; makes an ass out of u and me; but then, I already knew I was an ass.


  39. You to read better. I said “I don’t want anyone to get email from me unless they want it. I fully support Opt-In email. ” Later I also said “with a Legit email ad campaign” So before you start calling someone names, know your facts, please.

  40. Unsolicited paper mail helps to “pay” the way for 1st class postage. If it weren’t for bulk mail the cost of 1st class postage would be much higher than the stupidly high 37 cents it is today. Unsolicited email pays nothing for me, or other INTERNET users. You start paying part of my data connection, I’ll let you send me SPAM all day long, as I also have a delete key and spam filters.

    If I want to buy prescription medicines from Canada, which I do and will continue to do so, it’s not going to be because of some SPAM email with a subject line like Vi@gra On line, or medi:cal cent,re at h,ome. If you have to obfuscate the subject line to get it through a filter, then you are a low life SPAMER. But if the product is that good, simply put it in a 6.5 cent bulk mail envelope and mail it to me, helping to keep the cost of postal mail of importance down. But use my email address gratis is akin to stealing my time, bandwidth and patience.

  41. Not a good comparison. To be honest, I pay for a mailbox myself, not the advertisers/spammers. And if the grocery store were to sneak flyers under my door disguised as something else, then no, I absolutely would not do business with them. To be honest, I feel you are the one living in a fantasy world, or a world that justifies dishonesty if you think spammers are the same as legitimate advertisers – and I’m not accusing you of not being legitimate, because I don’t really know about you personally, but if you send me email ads I didn’t ask for, then you are included. Period. No justification BS.

  42. Hey, how much do you personally pay for the paper junk mail to be delivered to you? Nothing, right. Would you feel the same if you had to pay something for each of those junk mails? I doubt it. By the way, you’re a pretty big hypocrite to tell people to stop whining, then go into a big whine about your personal problems. I guess that makes you a loser whiner, which is even worse than being just a whiner.

  43. Turn off your Non-Delivery Reports! Help end Bounce-forward Spam and fake administrator messages!

  44. What is your opt-in policy? Do you confirm opt-ins with the recipient before entering their name, or can anyone opt-in an enemy or friend as a prank? Obviously, without confirmation, there is no proof that someone didn’t opt me in without my consent, or (for some) that I didn’t inadvertently opt-in. FWIW, most of what I deem spam is obvious spam, fake return address, tricks to beat filters, etc. I will never reply to them, nor will I visit any unknown web sites to opt out, so something like Spam cop is the only option. I don’t report every unwanted email to them, though.

  45. The problem with anti-spam solutions by content-filtering algorithms is they still accept the spam in, then read it over. Spam Kings then turn around and tell their potential clients that they successfully delivered x emails, justifying their fee. If they’re truly venal, they’ll suggest x number of eyeballs received their message, which is a marketing lie, since they know they’re being blocked, but they have no data on how many sites screen them out after delivery.

    Blocking the connection with huge IP blocks prevents their connecting to you. It also allows spammers to know how many sites reject their content, and offers a way for their clients to force spammers to provide proof of delivery… If a spam run is turned away at 10,000 sites, connection log data will show that, concrete evidence of 10,000 less ‘eyeballs’ they claim delivery to.

    Solution: Ban spammers ISPs, and keep banning them as they move (get kicked off that ISP and have to move to another.) DO NOT purchase anti-spam solutions based on filtering or algorithms, as those support spamming, since the spammers will claim successful delivery to their clients, even though your filter screened them out.


    Jump to the endgame. Learn how to ban these fools from your network. Only purchase spam solutions which BLOCK CONNECTION BASED ON SENDERS IP, UPDATED BY REPUTATION AND OPEN-RELAY CHECKING STATUS. Purchase the right solution, or learn how to do this by hand, and these guys will suffer financially. Don’t worry about those abusing MSN, Yahoo, etc., for spamming. Those folks are developing solutions to turn off that source, which you would not want to IP ban.


  46. Spam is UCE, Unsolicited Commercial Email. Law is irrelevant because the phenomenon, the definition, and the word that describes it all existed long before the law.

  47. When did what you send out decide if its spam or not? Spam in the USA is defined by a law, not what you send.

  48. Google is your friend.

    You may have to copy and paste bits of that into Notepad and stick it all together before you can paste it into your Web browser’s address bar.

  49. If you send UCE, you are a thief, pure and simple. Your personal history and US government policy are neither interesting nor relevant. UCE is theft, and if you send UCE, you are a thief.

  50. Scott Richter, have you no conscience? (The last thing you’ll hear before being sentenced to prison for five years, all your assets stripped.) Our children’s agency has been subjected to tens of thousands of spam, a sick amount sexually explicit, inappropriate for a children’s business. We placed spam traps. Filters and spam trap addresses that COULD NOT opt-in. They were harvested by hollow-message-address-banging our machine in name dictionary attacks looking for bounces. I cannot suspect Scott’s firm for performing the attacks against us, but HIS IP BLOCKs (NOT Joe Jobbers forging FROM:, but HIS IP blocks, looked up via SenderBase) send spam to those addresses. Lie if you want about your UNSUB procedure, but *YOUR* IP blocks have sent unsolicited spam. We now do the only reasonable solution. We no longer ban spammers.

    Read this Fellow Victims!

    The answer is not to merely ban spammers but ban their uplinks. Learn how to use SenderBase and WhoIs utilities to lookup spammers BY IP BLOCKS, then move up their chain. Ban their ENTIRE provider network. Don’t bother with abuse@ letters. These guys payoff ISPs heavily, to ignore the abuse@ until they move on to another network. Ban their entire UPLINK networks. This is particularly effective against Florida, NY/NJ, SoCal spam networks. Get a Zero-Tolerence Policy & Procedure implemented in your business. Make the business case based on the multiplier effect of lost productivity on employees. Grow a backbone and ignore pleas to unblock networks. If your employees must converse with a victim on a spammer-infected network, have them mail you at a Hotmail address. Let Microsoft help you filter.

    Learn to block huge IP blocks. We no longer hear from the immoral sleezoid wasting perfectly good oxygen.

    And Mr. Spammer… Us victims are hoping more than 50 sleezy spammers will be simultaneously busted later this year. The evidence is being gathered, spammer assets being identified for seizure. God willing, immoral jerks like you who cannot see their spoor is unwanted, will be part of that gun heavy bust. Tell us how much you support spam once a federal agent holds an AK against your head while you are cuffed.

    Bow your heads. Let us Pray.

    Needless to say, these are my opinions, not necessarily shared by my employer, who has been victimized worse than I.

  51. Geez, what a bunch of whiners. I get unsolicted email. That’s why they created the delete key. I throw out my paper junk mail in the trash can, too. Simple. Is whining getting you anywhere. I think not.

    You want to hear someone whine from someone with reason to whine. I run a small personal “adult content” website. I don’t want anyone to get email from me unless they want it. I fully support Opt-In email. What I think is truly unfair is that gay adult content is lumped with hetro porn. I’d want to target only to the gay male community, which unlike hetro porn exposes few underage email recipients to it. Yet I have to put my home address on my ad emails and risk some wacko showing up at my door. The only way I know to avoid the wackos would be to get a PO Box. Being disabled and housebound due to a non-income producing uninsured motorist crashing into my car a few years back, makes it near impossible for me to get a PO Box, since it has to be done in person.

    And if you think I am making money hand over fist, think again. I use what little I make to pay for things U.S. Disability won’t pay for because I get too much disability money. I buy things like pills and handicap home remodelling, which I can’t live without. I’m lucky if I have $25 leftover every month. I’m having just my bedrom and bathroom enlarged so they are wheelchair accessible and that’s costing me $50,000. I couldn’t even take out the loan in my name, I had to get relatives to sign for me. How long you think I’ll be paying that? Forever and a day, for a car accident that wasn’t my fault. ABC isn’t knocking down my door to do an Extreme Makeover of my house.

    This adult website is the only way I’ve found to keep my income below the measly $800 limit imposed by the Republican run Social (In)Security Adminstration. After that amount they start taking away my base disability monies, which is what I am trying to build on in the first place. Just doesn’t make sense. “You can make some extra money, but make too much and we’ll penalize you!” Now think about all that next time you have to delete a few extra emails in your inbox. Put yourself in my place.

    I’ll tell all of you that if I had the money to afford to advertise my website with a Legit email ad campaign, I’d do it in a heartbeat and not feel one bit of guilt. I not asking for a handout, unless Mr. Richter wants to volunteer to do some Pro Bono work, after all Mr. Richter is in business to make money. I think Mr. is doing a great service to those that can afford it.

  52. OK, Scott. You’ve said you’re NOT the ‘Spam King’, that all your mass emailing conform to the CAN-SPAM Act. You don’t send out ‘Need a bigger *enis’ emails.
    What DO you mass email? Give us a few specific examples of the stuff you’ve sent out, that WE may judge whether it is spam or not.

  53. I run the mail system for a small county government, we use several devices to remove unsolicited spam as It is against our policy for any county employee to use their email in anything but Offical county business. yet I filter out about 1000 spams a day and the number is slowly getting larger.
    After talking with the SA and the County Manager, we started blocking any website that is mentioned in the spam for future spams and blocking the IP addresses of same sites that use spam to advertise.
    If ISP’s would block the sites that use spam, I think that they might get the message.

  54. Television advertisers sponsor the shows and the networks that we watch. Spam sponsors your wallet. Try making a comparison that works in the real world, please.

  55. Jeff

    I think what you are missing is I am not the one sending you the grow the stick fast emails.
    People need to understand that because a web site posts a position doesn’t mean they are at all accurate in there ranking system.

  56. re the tv ad arguement, at least for watching them, we get something in return, ie. the programming. for your junk we get nothing but irritation. no value for MY money=straight into the trash. i’ll never buy anything from a spam. they just tie up bandwidth and cost me money by wasting time better used on something i want, rather than something you want. me to want.

  57. Scott, Trust me, I am not going to buy my meds from Canada, and my lady friends tell me I don’t need Viagra. Why then do I need to get 20+ e-mails about these items, everyday? And, why should I be bombarded with come ons for porn sites? Also, re: TV commercials, I pay for cable to recieve quality programs, without ads. I would expect that many people feel as I do, by paying for the broadband connection,I should get that entertainment “commercial free” as well. I’ll bet, many would not mind the side panels on web sites used for advertising. That would be as unintrusive as the commercials that I can ignore on TV while I raid the fridge. TV ads go away by themselves. Spam requires active participation. That’s why I hate it. BTW, postal spam doesn’t carry viruses, worms and/or trojans. Throwing that into the argument is specious.

  58. Unfortunetly I have seen some of the spammers stats. One email run alone got them 60k for one run!!! That is based of of 40% commision of sales!

    There are some very slow people out there buying from these people! AAARGH!

  59. To put it honestly with you, your living in fantasy world.

    Im sure you don’t do business with people who run adds on TV since they interrupt your shows and you don’t buy from the grocery store who sends you weekly flyers in the mail since you didn’t ask for them either.

  60. Could be many things. I do not think the crack down has any thing to do with it. If your using a free email service maybe they changed there email filtering they were using.

  61. I for one think you are making this up. Our system works that a unsub is a permeant ban from our system. I would like to see real proof of your false claim against us. We take great pride in knowing that our unsub system works accurately.

  62. We do not allow for any customer to do any illegal activities on our network. We run our network much like other large ones and actually have a stricter abuse policy in place then can-spam.

  63. I can think of quite a few areas to work on to improve it. I think that ISP’s need to first agree in large part to some requirements together that they would like to see.

  64. How do you explain the fact that when using a spamtrap email address, I get spam from you. Then opt-out per the CanSpam act. Then I recieve twice as much spam from you for other adverts. Opting out of those gives me 4 times the amount of spam from you from other, different, advertisers? This continues to grow exponentialy.

    This is a loophole in CanSpam, which allows you to hide behind it. While perfectly legal, it is deceptive and unwanted. Why do you continue to harvest emails from unsubscribes?

    Note: These are confirmed emails from you and you ‘partners’. Not other spammers. Specificaly you.

    I look forward to you informitive answer. Thank you,

    Mr. No Spam.

  65. You are correct. “bussiness ethic”has always been an oxymoron. I mistakenly thought that ethics still mattered to some of us when we consider who we do business with.
    I had not heard of the backgroud of marketers. Thanks for the info(:

  66. Deceptive marketing exists in all venues. Frankly, the only way to get rid of unwanted email (including those mass mailings from friends) is to impose a charge for every message delivered. The low cost of spam is what makes it attractive. I get junk mail from the postman every day. My solace is that the advertiser paid a price to send it to me — printing and postage. Spam on the other hand is nearly costless on a per-message basis. The response rate to spam can be microscopic yet still profitable. Instead of laws and filters, the spam problem could be solved by rethinking “free email”.

  67. First off, “business ethic” is an oxymoron.

    Second, spam doesn’t have to bring in sales for the spammers to make money. The spammers just have to convince the marketing department at $BIG_CORP that it will. Cash in advance, please.

    Note that marketers have never been known either for their brains or for their ethics. They tend to be sociopaths who washed out of law school.

  68. My question to the spam industry: Do you really believe that people are going to do business with companys that believe spam is a good way to do business? As for me, I will not do business with anyone who engages in trickery or deciet. If I go into a car dealership and have the misfortune to get a pushy salesman, not only will I not talk to the salesman, I go to a different dealership altogether. I believe it demonstrates their business ethic. If it does not pay off for companies to spam , spam will dry up and blow away.

  69. Sounds like Mr. Richter is trying to tell us what the definition of “is” is. Spam is spam and I don’t want it. I have enough garbage to deal with. He can in no way justify what he does.

  70. As my grandpappy used to say: “just because it’s *legal* to do something doesn’t mean it’s *right* to do it.” As humans, our responsibility to behave apprpriately doesn’t end at the threshold of “legal”. Rather, it just begins there.

  71. Until recently, I was getting up to 500 spams a day at this email address. In the last month, that figure has plummeted to a dozen or so. Is that a resullt of a crackdown?

  72. Mr. Richter: If I shout to the world that I DO NOT WANT to receive junk mail, ads, solicitations, or porn, you DO NOT have an inherent, God-given right to stuff it in my mail box… and I will use every means available to me to make you stop doing it.

  73. As the guy that manages the e-mail system for my work, I get the garbage e-mail sent to me, mostly existing addresses that have been letter transposed. But i also get mail sent to non-existant address, mostly spam beign targeted to common addresses like ‘support’ or ‘sales’.

    My question is: “Who would you except as a customer? Someone selling perscription drugs over the Internet with no doctor note required or someone selling a means to get all the cable channels for free? What are your ethics for accepting a client?

  74. Dear Mr. Gardenhire,

    Surely an expert such as yourself is aware that what is not said often speaks more loudly than what is said.

    Still, if you do feel that you could do a better job, as clearly you do, by all means, have a shot at it.

  75. Mr. Richter, my dear Mr. Richter; I fear that you have given yourself away. And I quote:

    “So all of the email you send now complies with CAN-SPAM?

    Richter: All of the email that we personally send has always complied with CAN SPAM to the best of my knowledge.”

    Just for fun, let’s change a few words without changing the intent.

    ‘All of the relationships that we have personally engaged in have never fit the definition of sex as contained in Wegsters 5th World Edition, to the best of my knowledge.’

    You’re good Mr. Richter; just not that good.

    And now for the Internet Patrol. Just who’s side are you on anyway? If you don’t have enough experience to nail down the question, why don’t you let someone else have a shot at it. How many times do you want me to point out to you that Mr. Richter did not answer the question you asked?

    Lockergnome: Pay attention–these guys aren’t worth your time.

  76. Mr. Richter, you state that the CAN-SPAM act is a start; and further, you (rightfully) say it’s a global problem. Wether or not you change your business to Anti-Spam or continue to spam (albeit CAN-SPAM-compliant), how would you improve upon the CAN-SPAM act; and what would you do to further the solution to the problem? – StarWolff

  77. Mr. Richter,
    Please address the following issue.
    I did not opt-in. Where is the opt-out option? This SPAMMER is not Habeas Compliant .
    George F Lynch

  78. I am a technology columnist looking for information about how spammers evade spam filters. Anybody out there want to help?

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