I see that Atro Tossavainen graphed the spam that we saw in January. Atro and I manage a substantial spamtrap collection together, so I have seen what he posted about. Nothing there surprised me except the hugely disproportionate amount of spam Topica sends to our spamtraps. I’ve blogged twice about Topica, and in the last blog recommended blocking their /22 because of the amounts of spam and probability that little or no non-spam email is sent from them any more. However, I did not realize that we were seeing twice as much spam from Topica as from ExactTarget, which sends several orders of magnitude more email than they do.
A friend died last night after a brief illness, Ellen R., best known to many as “Ellen @ Spamcop”. I’ve known Ellen for a couple of decades now; she was an early stalwart in the antispam world. For many years she handled the abuse desk at Spamcop, one of the early antispam blocklists. Ellen handled everything: complaints from spammers, email from bewildered end users who did not understand why their email was blocked, misdirected spam reports from angry end users who just wanted the spam flooding their inbox to stop. She handled it all with professional courtesy and something better: genuine concern for people and a desire to help them keep their mailbox free of spam so they could find the messages that they wanted to receive.
Spammers didn’t like her much. Most other people did. I did, and I’ll miss her.
Florida-based real estate sales firm International Sales Group (ISG) is emailing a list that contains almost a dozen of my spamtraps. Most of those spamtraps were email addresses at real estate firms that went bankrupt between 2008 and 2011. ISG is either emailing a list that they have not contacted in years, or they bought a list or hired an email appender. Their ESP is Vertical Response, whose abuse department appears to have gone AWOL sometime in 2014.
Today in a private forum some friends, all of them involved in one way or another with the email marketing world, were discussing a new post on the Only Influencers email blog. In that post Bob Frady (an email marketer) expresses his approval of comments by Dela Quist (another email marketer) that dismiss the importance of “engagement” in email marketing. For those who are not familiar with email marketing terms, “engagement” means the degree to which recipients of marketing email open, read, and respond to the offers presented to them.
Transportation management consulting company Ahern & Associates, which appeared on the Mainsleaze blog once already, is emailing a large number of spamtraps, at least a half dozen of which are non-typoed pristine spamtraps. This time, they are emailing through ESP Vertical Response, which has been completely unresponsive to spam complaints for the past few months.