The DMA: Spamming Job Services to a Purchased List

The United States’ Direct Marketing Association (or DMA) spammed what appears to have been a purchased list yesterday morning. The email claims that the recipients of the email had expressed interest in the DMA, but it was sent to email addresses that never existed and were not likely typos. The ESP is Yesmail, a division of information broker Infogroup.

Other organizations would probably learn from this mistake and not repeat it. The U.S. DMA, however, is a special case. The U.S. DMA — unlike every other Direct Marketing Association in the world that I know about — openly defends the practice of unsolicited bulk email. We at the Mainsleaze blog consider unsolicited bulk email to be spam. So do almost all ISPs and companies whose mailservers are targeted by spammers. I suppose it is no surprise that the DMA practiced what it preaches.

I’d have previously thought that the DMA would at least have the sense not to spam the personal email addresses of such antispam luminaries as CAUCE Director Neil Schwartzman and Spamhaus CEO Steve Linford, however, to say nothing of many other antispam activists. This spam run has already resulted in Schwartzman posting a scathing blog on the CAUCE web site, and Spamhaus listing the IPs used to send it. (97.107.23.191, 97.107.23.192/31, and 97.107.23.194.) From the grumbles that I am hearing or reading in antispam fora, I expect the volume of protest to go up considerably.

Sending IPs: 97.107.23.191-97.107.23.194

Spam Sample:

Actual Headers:

Received: from outbound2.email-dmamarketing.com (outbound2.email-dmamarketing.com [97.107.23.192])
        by <xxx> (Postfix) with ESMTP id <xxx>
        for <xxx>; Sat, 26 Oct 2013 16:xx:xx -0000 (UTC)
DKIM-Signature: <xxx>
DomainKey-Signature: <xxx>
Date: Sat, 26 Oct 2013 09:xx:xx PDT
From: "DMA Career Center" <Information@email-dma.org>
Subject: Kick It Up A Notch With The DMA Career Center
To: <xxx>
X-Header-Versions: DMACareerCenter.<xxx>@email-dma.org
X-Header-CompanyDBUserName: dmamarketing
List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:dmamarketing<xxx>@email-dma.org?subject=unsubscribe>
Message-ID: <DMACareerCenter.<xxx>@email-dma.org>
X-Vitals: <xxx>
Reply-To: DMACareerCenter.<xxx>@email-dma.org
X-Header-MasterId: <xxx>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
        boundary="==========<xxx>====="

Readable Email:

From: DMA Career Center <Information@email-dma.org>
To: <spamtrap>
Subject: Kick It Up A Notch With The DMA Career Center
Reply-To: <DMACareerCenter.<xxx>@email-dma.org

NOTE: You are reading this note because your email program does not support messages in multi-part “MIME” format (you can see the plain text version of the message, but the HTML version is garbled). The best solution to this problem is to upgrade to an email program that supports MIME. If you can’t do that, then just ignore the part of this message that is improperly displayed by your current email program.

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4 Responses to The DMA: Spamming Job Services to a Purchased List

  1. Some don’t think the comments were scathing so much as ‘chill’ and level-headed. Tomato, tomato.

    • Perhaps. “Scathing” is often quite cool, cold even. 😉 In any event, the DMA could not possibly have mistaken how strongly you felt about the issue. I hope that Spamhaus also speaks up, in something other than those three SBLs.

  2. An update…. In addition to Neil Schwartzman and Steve Linford, the DMA spammed a couple of completely invented email addresses at services.net, a personal domain belonging to “Internet for Dummies” author John Levine. You can read the whole story on Levine’s blog.

    I’m really starting to wonder if perhaps a disgruntled former employee with intimate inside knowledge of the DMA’s bulk email setup deliberately uploaded a list full of spamtraps and known antispammer email addresses.

  3. Your wish is our command, Catherine. The Spamhaus blog is here.

    We at Spamhaus are NOT pleased with the DMA, to put it mildly.

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