FAQ: Why are you doing this?

The brief answer is that we are publicizing spam by legitimate companies hoping to encourage (or shame) them into stopping it. We got tired of seeing spam in our inbox that blacklists and spam filters somehow kept not recognizing as spam. We got tired of hearing our families, coworkers, neighbors, and friends complain about the same thing.

Many of us work either professionally or avocationally on blacklists, spam filters, or managing mail servers for others. We understand why the usual measures against spam do not work well with mainsleaze spam. Most companies that send spam via ESPs are established companies with a legitimate product or service, not purveyors of snake oil medicines (pharma), virus-ridden copies of commercial software (warez), Make-Money-Fast schemes (MMF), or ${ORGAN} enlargement methods. Many are also large companies with a staff of lawyers that they are not afraid to use if a blacklist lists them for spamming or somebody prominent calls them a spammer.

We complained about it privately among ourselves for a few years, with the expected results. (None.) Somebody then commented, casually, that companies with legal departments also usually have PR departments, and for a reason: most large companies hate bad publicity. (“There ain’t no such thing as bad publicity” is the slogan of snake-oil salesmen; legitimate companies rarely subscribe to it.) We then mulled over the possibilities of a blog that reported spam sent by legitimate companies using legitimate bulk email methods. We would make no factual claims without supporting evidence. Opinions would be clearly marked as opinions. Companies and ESPs mentioned in blogs would not just be allowed to comment, but encouraged to do so. And companies that wanted to act against spammers would be given actionable intelligence instead of pointless rants.

And that’s what we did. We are waiting with interest to see how it turns out.

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