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Time to moderate ARABIDOPSIS??? On spamming

Natalie Kim Bjorklund umbjork1 at cc.UManitoba.CA
Thu Nov 14 09:46:32 EST 1996

The following is stuff I have learned lurking on admin.abuse 
hierarchy. I strongly recommend that if spam is getting to you, that you 
check them out.There is a whole group of wonderful people fighting spam 
and direct e-mail advertising. You can learn a lot there.

Spamming and off topic posts are a major annoyance especially when they 
arrive in your e-mail inbox because you're on a list serve. There are a 
few things individuals can do to get rid of a lot of the spam. 

The admin. at net.bio.net might want to think about this too.

1) Set your killfile to delete anything posted to more than 1 - 5 
newsgroups. This will get rid of a lot of the multiple group cross 
posted spam from amateur spammers. If you don't know how, talk to your 
provider. It won't protect you from the pros but like all crime most of 
it is done by amateurs.

Check out: http://www.smartpages.com/bngfaqs/news/announce/newusers/top.html
for great FAQs on some of this.

2) Contrary to what a lot of people think, it does help to complain. The 
trick is to know where to complain to. Most providers are very 
responsible and will immediately cancel the account of someone they get 
multiple complaints on. To file your complaint, look at the full header 
of the message and it will usually have a lengthy list of locations. Most 
of the time the last header is the return address. Send a copy of the 
offending message to postmaster at ---- and abuse at ------ filling in the last 
part with the e-mail address.

Yes, this can end up bouncing back to the wrong person and hurting someone 
else. Or worse, some of the more professional "spammers" set their 
machines up so any protest messages get sent to the list serve again. So 
if you're unsure how to complain properly, find out how by checking out 

There are a small number of completely rogue servers who will do anything 
for a buck including letting spammers have accounts and then doing 
nothing about their users, ignoring complaints from all reasonable people.
Fortunately they represent a minority. Again the killfile is a joy and a 
wonder. Set your killfile to block any and all posts from rogue sites. 
This does two things. 

1) Prevents you from getting garbage.
2) Puts tremendous pressure on the rogue site to clean up it's act 
because all it's legitimate users leave to find accounts where their e-mail 
is accepted from.

Lists of rogue sites are regularly posted on the admin.abuse groups. 
Ask your provider to help if you don't know how to do it yourself. Start 
with this month's King of Spam hill @earthlink.net. This will also 
prevent you from getting those incredibly annoying unsolicited e-mail 
advertising which tend to come from the same servers.

These measure will reduce the crap by about 90%. A new set of special 
filters are in the process of being compiled and designed that will 
aleiviate the problem of spammers on usenet.

Those #*^%@! ads in my e-mail:

A special note about unsolicited e-mail advertisements. There are a few 
companies out there whose execs should be drawn and quartered. They have 
programs designed to crawl around web pages and newsgroups and collect 
e-mail addresses. These are then sold to unscrupulous or unwary 
advertisers. The best way to handle these are to complain. Most of them 
keep and trade lists of trouble makers and and complainers and they screen 
their lists before they sell them. If you make enough noise you get off 
their lists by being label a problem. It'll take about a month of 
complaining about every single ad you get but they will start tapering 
off in about two weeks.

Complain in the following way. 

1) A 1-800 number from what looks like a legit company? Call them and let 
them know what you think of their advertisement. Some companies out there are 
actually stupid enough to think this is a legitimate form of advertising. 
A few thousand complaining telephone calls from ex-potential customers 
usually convinces them it's time to fire someone and get off direct 
e-mail advertising. Faxes work even better.

2) Send copies to the postmaster@ or abuse@ and follow it with the e-mail 
address. aol.com. and sprint and all the biggies _don't_ allow e-mail 
direct mail and will immediately cut off those who send it.

3) Set your killfile to block rogue sites.Start with @earthlink.net

4) Bill them. Start adding something like the following tailer to your 
e-mail signiture:

All Commercial E-mail sent to this address better be about
a topic I have written about or I will consider it Unsolicited Comercial
E-Mail (UCE). There will be a $200 archive and download fee for each UCE
recieved. Mailing constitutes acceptance of these terms. Invoice sent upon
recipt of UCE.

You won't get any money but you will sure get on the trouble maker list 
in a big hurry.

Good luck. Usenet and e-mail are a new medium but rules of conduct exist 
and are enforced by the majority. We have to be our own police.

For more info the following groups are really great:

news.announcenew.user - (moderated - full of FAQs with lots of good info)
news.admin.net-abuse.misc - high traffic (200+ messages per day but lots 
of good info and insights into the wonderful spam warriors)
news.admin.misc - (good general info, some crap)
news.admin.announce - (moderated, lists of all cancelled spams)

or try: <URL:http://www.vix.com/spam/> for more info

Natalie K Bjorklund
Grad Student
U of Manitoba

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