Spam has become a real pain in the butt. My august sister and fellow blogger has had a few comments on it lately, and it’s time for me to join in.

The whole email system was set up by a bunch of geeks who never stopped to ask, “how could this system be abused?” They needed a way to send messages between each other, and they made one. Simple as that. Why should they have the system verify the origin of the sender? Why would Dr. Schmidt send a message and say it was from Dr. Li?

Well, the Internet grew up, and before long just everybody was using it, but the standards upon which the system was built were not modified to protect the system’s users from abuse. Thus was born spam.

We all get spam. It’s a part of life. There are sophisticated programs designed to detect and stop spam, but the spammers have sophisticated programs to get around those programs. For a while I was actively telling spammers to take me off their lists, listing the laws I would throw at them if they continued, and while this took more time than deleting the messages would have, I had the satisfaction of getting far less spam than any of my coworkers.

These days, occasioinal spam slips through into my mailbox, but not much. I hardly feel the billions of dollars the big providers say they lose on spam each year.

But now, this.

There are spammers using my business domain,, in the sender and reply-to fields on their spam. That means I get hundreds, if not thousands, of returned messages every day that were sent back as undeliverable. My mailbox is always full, which means people trying to reach me for legitimate business reasons, like to send me a damaged file so I can find bugs in Jer’s Novel Writer, cannot. The message is returned with a “mailbox full” message.

What impression does that give prospective clients? That of a flake who doesn’t even read his email. It gives the impression of a company that is not currently doing business.

Then there are the thousands, perhaps millions of people receiving spam with my domain on it. It is quite possible that my domain could be blacklisted on mail servers. The spammers would stop using me, but I wouldn’t be able to send emails to some of my clients, either.

The system is broken, and the only real solution is to fundamentally change the email protocol. The change is long overdue.

21 thoughts on “Jerks

  1. Horrible! I used to get spam through my website but my administrator has the spam sent on to an old email address that no longer exists.

    There is now a new service that keeps giving you a new email address and they then send on your email from this address to your protected or secret address.

    Thus you do not post on your web the original or final email address, the box you look at. You only post and update the alias email addresses that you can keep changing as they get spammed out.

    You can also ask President Bush to start a war on all spammers, letting him know that terrorists are really behind it, trying to disrupt the American and world economy.

    I like your real solution also of changing the protocols.

    Why do you need machine guns when you can use the cheaper and more deadly spam instead?

  2. Spam on emails, spam on blogs, spam on the Piker Press comments section … I agree, and I think everyone does who isn’t a spammer. There has to be a solution. We need a superhero who can root out the spammers and annihilate their systems.

  3. In Newfoundland they have this huge patty of Bologna they eat with breakfast. It’s like the size of your average burger patty and it tastes exactly like fried bologna. Then all day long, much like Dunkin Dougnuts, you’re burping up that shit, nasty. They eats some whack shit up there in Newfoundland, that and none of them crazy bastards can swim. Like, what’s up with that anyways? You live on a island people.
    Seriously though, I was looking around for some media to get some Pirates Credits out of the way and I realized I don’t have no disc of shots what you took down there at the White Sands. We gots to get something hookd up again.

  4. Are you sure your server hasn’t been hacked? Try turning off the SMTP outgoing on it and see if it stops.

    I think they just need a system where you give permission to emailers. You’d have a separate “new sender requests approval” list that comes up.

    /go Pads!!!!

  5. Really weird coincidence: I vowed never to give in to the spammers, and to continue to allow posts on my blog as usual, but delete the spam asap. Pat experienced a spate of spam and raised the security barriers on his blog. I didn’t. But I haven’t had a commentspam since. I’m wondering whether the spate of spam that Pat experienced led to Blogger getting more effective anti-spam protections.

    Meanwhile, I must agree that the harm done to you by spammers is horrible. It’s identity theft. Maybe you can do some damage control by trying to get the message out that you’ve been the victim of an attack, but that’s sort of like telling people in the Ninth Ward to evacuate after the Industrial Canal levee had already broken.

  6. Went to another blog that uses gravatars, found the same problem. Went to Gravatar’s website, found it was down and disabled. The spammers are crippling the system.

    Earlier this evening, I got urgent security updates from Mozilla, Microsoft, and my antivirus software provider.

    Are we under attack?

  7. Aser
    How about Spam on Spam? Maybe a nice Raspberry Tart, only a little Spam in it.

    /Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spammmmmmmmmmm, Wonderful Spam!

  8. CA, your gravatar is just fine.

    We’re at 5’oclock somewhere for the weekend; plan is to work on projects, check on the boat and haul it out for the journey south to warmer waters.

  9. OK, this is really weird. Pat logs on and sees my gravatar, but then I get online, and all I get for a gravatar is a blank black box.

  10. Bob, you are the only one to come up with suggestions for Oct 2th. I’m just trying to figure out how to do Rock-Paper-Scissors with myself to figure out which one to use.

  11. sigh
    just went over to CA’s blog and her latest has been hit by 4 stupid comment spams. Jer had it right when he labeled this entry ‘jerks.’
    Nobody expects the Spammish Inquisition!
    I wonder what would happen if she had a “floating” first entry that was nothing; it would just be space filler that would always look like the latest episode to the outside world, but her latest, real entry would be inserted right below? Then the FATWWTRC* would attack the filler entry and we could all ignore it.

    *first against the wall when the revolution comes

  12. Man, you go away for a weekend and all Hell breaks loose.

    Five commentspams. Three obscene. Two purportedly purveying child porn. Not suitable for the level of decorum I wish to maintain. Note that my level of decorum isn’t all THAT high — I’ve never censored Dr. Pants.

    I’ve instituted Level One Protection Plan.

  13. Still don’t have the haiku list updated. Sorry about that. I’d do it now, but the particular Internet bar I’m in has no electrical outlets, and my time is running out.

    I’ll do the images offline and pst them next time I find Internet.

  14. There’s another wrinkle in the spam wars that I would speculate is a semi-new corruption, and little talked about. It is the hijacking of your internet searching by pages that somehow instantly incorporate your search term and include it on their page. For example, say you want to know more about biogeochemical models that simulate carbon uptake in the ocean, so you enter something like, “carbon cycle geochemical model” and the next thing you know you’re on some bogus page that lists vacuum cleaners CARBON CYCLE, home business opportunities in GEOCHEMICAL, and MODEL airplane glue: best prices!

    What a bunch of shite. Asswipes.

    I got caught up in one of those pages and it instantly reset my browser to fill the entire screen. I couldn’t get my mouse arrow into any corner to bring it back in line. It took a half hour reading the mozilla help file to find a way to resize the window. And my fonts are still jacked up.

    Jerks, jerks jerks. FATWWTRC.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *