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Official evidence that CAN-SPAM is not working

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Here is a link to a study done to evaluate the impact of CAN-spam.

One question looms large: Can CAN-spam can spam?

(Nice rhythm, no?)

No surprise, but their answer for the present is "No!"

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It's good to see that someone is actually studying the problem in a methodical manner, but this paragraph has me flummoxed:

We created nine of our experiment’s e-mail addresses in plain text, but encoded the remaining two in ASCII, a computer code that transforms ordinary text into numerical representations: “this,” for example, appears as “this”.(7)

I can't decide if they're trying to explain to the lay person what they did, using such small words it has become incomprehensible, or if they have no idea what they're talking about in the first place.

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See data at http://www.asciitable.com/ .... what they meant to say was something like "this" looks like "& # 116; & # 104; & # 105; & # 115" (and now wondering if this will display the code or the word again <g>) .. added some spaces in between the & and # amd numeric codes to allow them to be displayed on this screen as ASCII equivalents ....

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Another interesting paragraph is this one:

some CAN-spam-compliant firms sending legitimate, legal (though perhaps unwanted) marketing e-mails often find themselves on the wrong side of the filters. Legal action on the part of these law-abiding businesses seems almost predestined.

This should point out to any and every legitimate business that unsolicited email marketing is something they should never, ever use. If your ads are ending up on the "wrong side of the filters" (the absolute right side, IMHO) then that's a clear indication that we don't want them. If your idea of a good business plan is suing me to make me read your ads, then I will giggle with malevolent glee when your company goes bust.

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Although I know CAN-spam will ultimately fail, and even though I'm pissed it superseded the much better California legislation, it appears that there is at least one recent success:

(archived in case the link breaks)

Big time spammer shut down by CAN-spam

Monday, August 02, 2004

Staff Writers, TechWeb News

A US federal court last week shut down a big-time Florida spammer and froze his assets, using the CAN-spam Act to put a stop to his mass mailings.

Creaghan A. Harry is "responsible for what likely amounts to millions of illegal spam messages," said the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in a statement.

Harry allegedly marketed bogus human growth hormone products, said the FTC, which collected about 40,000 complaints in the first five months of the year concerning messages linked to the Boca Raton, Florida resident.

The spammer's messages linked to a slew of his websites, which promised that his products stopped or reversed the aging process. A one-month supply was priced at US$79.95, leading to the defrauding of "thousands of consumers of hundreds of thousands of dollars."

The FTC filed a complaint in a Chicago federal court 21 July, alleging that Harry used a slew of tactics that violate the CAN-spam Act, including spoofing forging return addresses and sending messages through hijacked computers, dubbed "open proxies."

Last Tuesday [uS], a US District Court Judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting Harry from further spamming and blocked his assets, which had been transferred to a bank account in Latvia. If Harry is convicted, those monies would be used to refund consumers who bought the phony products.

Copyright © 2004 CMP Media LLC

This article is available at www.itnews.com.au/storycontent.asp?ID=20831

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