Spam Arrest Tries to Rewrite History, Asks Authors to Remove Negative Reviews of SpamArrest
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Pity poor Brian Cartmell, CEO of SpamArrest. He has a tough job: going hat in hand from site to site saying “please take down the bad things you said about us.”

Spam Arrest is the purveyor of an anti-spam challenge/response system. When someone sends email to a SpamArrest user, they must first respond to a challenge sent to them by the SpamArrest system. This means that SpamArrest now has that email address – the email address belonging to their customer’s correspondent – in their own database. You can see where this is going, can’t you?


About two years ago, SpamArrest sent out some “marketing messages” [cough – spam – cough] to, uh, all of their users’ correspondents. That means that if you had, say, two hundred people who had sent you email, ever, since you signed up with Spam Arrest, and who had responded to the SpamArrest challenge, those two hundred people got marketing email from SpamArrest, courtesy of you, because you were the one who had made them jump through the SpamArrest hoop, giving SpamArrest the ability to harvest their email address.

Oops.

As you might imagine, many people were upset by this. And of course the irony of an anti-spam company spamming people, especially people with whom it had no relationship of its own, only added to the ire.

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And you can probably also imagine how quickly news of this spread around the Internet. SpamArrest’s name was mud.

But just in case you can’t imagine it, here is a link to Google results for the cries of outrage over SpamArrest’s spamming.

Fast forward to 2005, and the scenario with which we opened. Brian Cartmell, who is no stranger to Internet scandal, having previously been president of the online-porn company Internet Entertainment Group, which under his tenure was sued over an explicit video of Pamela Anderson which they somehow “obtained”, is now back in the hotseat with his requests to various Internet authors and archive custodians, “Let my indiscretion go!”

 

Ok, what he really is saying is “Please let me know if you might consider removing the links [to the information about our spamming all of our customer’s correspondents] as the information presented on it is really out of date, and the actions referenced have not been repeated in over two years.”

Of course, this is a bit akin to Cantor and Siegal asking “please remove reference to our Green Card scam”, or to Nixon asking “please just splice out those eighteen minutes” (to you Godwinites, no, we’re not going to go there, so sit down).

It’s history, it happened. Live it down.

Oh, and this current campaign to rewrite said history? History in the making.

Apparently it’s true that those who do not learn from history are destined to repeat it.

Of course, odds may well be that Spam Arrest is about to go out looking for funding, and at a time like that history really has a way of biting you in the captcha. Perhaps Mr. Cartmell should send an email to all potential VCs explaining the situation.

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13 thoughts on “Spam Arrest Tries to Rewrite History, Asks Authors to Remove Negative Reviews of SpamArrest
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  1. After cancelling 1 week into the next year’s billing cycle, I was told that they can’t issue a pro-rated refund. Scumbags.

  2. @jen: people don’t like challenge/response because spammers often forge legitimate addresses as the “From:” part of their spam. Where do you think your challenges go in that case? Yep, to legitimate people. I’m one of ’em; my personal domain is a “catch-all”, so anything sent to anything@mydomain ends up in my Inbox. Spammers have been making up addresses at my domain for YEARS and using it in the From line, and I’ve been getting Spam Arrest (and other) C/R garbage all that time.

    But, I have my little revenges – I *always* click through, because how am I supposed to know you don’t want the email?

    @TIP: “Fast forward to 2005”? Since the spam was two years ago, and it’s now 2010, I’m not sure where that came from…

  3. I have been a SpamArrest affiliate since the program started. Often, I will post a fake ad on CraigsList wanting to sell something cool at a ridiculously low price. Then I give a email address that is protected by SpamArrest. When people email me, then get the SpamArrest challenge/response auto-reply which, of course, has SpamArrest’s advertising with my affiliate codes attached. Technically, I’m not spamming anyone, they are emailing me. And it works like a charm. God bless Internet marketing. :)

  4. I was a customer of SpamArrest all those years ago when they did their spam scam.

    As the editor of a fairly large website, you can imagine the size of my address list. You can also imagine the number of irate people I had contacting me to tell me that our anti-spam system had spammed them.

    Never again. A breach of trust like that doesn’t deserve to be forgotten or forgiven.

  5. I accidentally paid spamarrest a subscription, when i was still on a free period that they offered me. My Paypal sent them some money, which they have basically said, you sent it to us, it’s your fault, no refund!
    ok, it was my oversight, but surely when you pay a company money by accident, they give it back?
    I won’t be recommending Spamarrest.

  6. I don’t understand why people have anything against service like spamarrset. I have had my business address since 2003 and get literally 500-1000 emails a day. Thankfully spamarrest blocks almost all of them. I would not get any work done without it.

    The only complaint I have is with their server. When I log on online it is really jumbled and can not handle subfolders.

  7. Spamarrest works perfectly for me and has for a number of years.

    “If you have not posted a comment here before, we apologize for having to ask you to enter the letters and numbers you see in the image above to validate your comment, but we are being attacked by thousands of comment form spams every day! You only need to do this once; once you have successfuly posted a comment here you will not be asked to do this again.”

    Exactly the point of keeping my Spamarrest service.

  8. I had been a loyal and paying customer of Spamarrest for some time, recently their service has been erratic and I lost a number of important messages. After not receiving adequate support I decided to cancel my recently renewed account and asked for a refund of the unused portion. Here is their response:
    Hi David,

    Thanks once again.

    David, I am very sorry to tell you that we are not able to offer you a refund for your account. You may continue to use your Spam Arrest account till 2008-10-01 by reactivating the account.

    I truly apologize for your inconvenience, David. Please do let me know if you need anything else.

    Best Regards,
    Peter
    Technical Support Specialist
    Spam Arrest

  9. even if a spam does not trespasses privacy and spyware issues it will allways stay annoyance for users.

  10. Before I even heard about their initial spamming of their customers’ correspondents, I had created an OE message rule to automatically delete any message containing SpamArrest’s challenge string from the server (with three locations & five computers I usually leave messages on the server for 3 days so I can have multiple machine access to them). I let my family and friends know that I would not even see their messages if they used this service, and simply didn’t worry about anyone else whose messages might be s**tcanned as a result. This action was partially because I simply don’t like C/R systems, and don’t think they are very effective, but primarily because I had received a half-dozen challenges from morons who were memebers of mailing lists to which I belong. Any imbecile who joins or is a member of a subscription mailing list and expects the entire list to “OK” themselves with his C/R server deserves to have all of his telecommunications go into the great bit-bucket in the sky. As for Cartmell & Co., to paraphrase the adage, they made their cesspool, let them lie in it.

  11. Oops, thank you Timmer, you are absolutely right. Don’t know how that “Paul” snuck in there at the end, but it’s fixed now!

  12. I think you mean “Brian” Cartmell, not “Paul”.

    SpamArrest didn’t spam just spam addresses that *responded* to its challenges, it spammed address that *received* challenges (and I’ll leave the issue of C/R being inherently abusive for another time).

    But this is interesting, from the Seattle Times 4/18/05, and would suggest that these “please let bygones be bygones” requests are not out of any sense of contrition:

    “Cartmell is launching a marketing campaign next month, which will include nationwide spots on Comedy Central and other cable channels. The ads show a man throwing his computer on the ground and stomping it in frustration. Cartmell estimates that the new business will help Spam Arrest become profitable, likely by the end of the year.”

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/businesstechnology/2002244362_btinterface18.html

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