A Blast from the Past: Return Path Acquires OtherInBox

This morning a heavy hitter in the legitimate bulk email community, reputation service Return Path, announced that it has acquired OtherInBox, an interesting free webmail provider with some good tools for managing email overload. Return Path plans to use the data that users of OtherInBox generate by their activities to improve its main reputation products and gain more insight into “the user experience” with email.

Despite my respect for Return Path and interest in their activities, I doubt I’d have bothered to comment on this except for an interesting side issue: the founder of OtherInBox is Joshua Baer, a former titan in the spam email business in the late 1990s and early 2000s. I became aware of OtherInBox a few months ago after I stumbled across Baer on Twitter and, wanting to find out what he was up to, went over to the OtherInBox web site.

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Chase Bank: Including Customer Information in Marketing Email Sent to Spamtraps

Months after I first blogged about Chase Bank sending marketing emails to an email address that had been closed for many years via Acxiom Digital, and after I added a comment to that blog indicating that Chase was sending marketing emails to a different email address via Epsilon Interactive (Bigfoot Interactive), this second email address is *still* receiving the same bulk emails. Worse, they STILL contain the customer’s name and the last four digits of the customer’s credit card number, although the customer has not owned this email address for years!

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Happy 2012!

I’m back from the holiday road trip, a much needed vacation, so my blogs will resume as of today. It appears that InfiniteMho spent the intervening two weeks on his computer. Thanks for keeping up the blogging, Atro! Now somebody needs to give him and his family tickets to Tahiti so that he can get *off* the computer for a bit and relax. 😉

Blogging during the Holiday Season

Blogging will be light during the Christmas season, for the next two weeks, at least from me. I will be away from home on a road trip and visiting friends. I have not specifically asked the other bloggers, but assume that they will have other things to think about during this time as well. It would be nice if the spammers were also taking a vacation (sigh), but I see little hope of that. So not to worry: <Schwarznegger on> I’ll be back!<Schwarzenegger off>

Merry Christmas! (Feel free to substitute the holiday you celebrate or general good wishes.) 😉

Bank of America: Transactional Email to a Spamtrap :(

Bank of America is sending non-bulk transactional emails to an email address that was closed in 2008, and that subsequently rejected all email for a period of over a year before being re-enabled as a spamtrap. The email contains a customer name and the last four digits of a credit card number. :/ This is not spam; the email was not bulk. However, if Bank of America were paying attention to bounces, it should long since have realized that this email address was not receiving its notifications. Bank of America needs to verify its customer list NOW to fix this security breach. The ESP is ExactTarget.

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Citibank: Emailing Sensitive Private Credit Card Information to a Spamtrap

First Chase Bank sent marketing emails that contained personal names and credit card information to spamtraps. Now Citibank is doing the same thing. Today Citibank sent a bulk marketing email to an email address that, if it ever existed at all, has been closed since 2007. The email contained a name and the last four digits of a credit card number. Either Citibank is deliberately including made-up “customer” information to make bulk marketing email look more legitimate (which I doubt), or Citibank has badly mismanaged its customer list *AND* (worse) is including sensitive personal information in marketing emails that are going to unconfirmed and incorrect email addresses. The ESP is Epsilon Interactive via its ESP Bigfoot Interactive.

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J. D. Falk: 1974-2011

Yesterday, after a year-long struggle with stomach cancer, J.D. Falk — one of the giants in the anti-spam, email, and Internet world — died, sadly at just 37 years of age.

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Chase Bank: A Spamtrap is “an Amazon.com Business Rewards Visa cardmember”?

Chase Bank is sending advertising emails to an email address that has been closed for many years, claiming that the owner is “an Amazon.com Business Rewards Visa cardmember”. The ESP is Acxiom Digital.

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How I’m Handling Resolved Spam Reports

Readers may notice that certain spam report blogs of mine are now appearing with the prefix (Resolved Issue): instead of the spamming company name. If you check inside these blogs, they have a notice at the top indicating that the issue is resolved, and a tag that also says “Resolved”. The blogs are still there, and still contain the same information. All the comments are preserved as well. The only changes are to the title, an additional paragraph at top, and an additional tag.

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