Some thoughts about spam...

Why do I write this? Well, I'm just in the mood. I hate spammers. I hate them for years, and they keep spamming me for years. First they grabbed my address from web pages. Then they took it from usenet news groups. But it became really, really bad when I made the terrible decision to use this particular address for posting my resume to a bunch of popular US job sites like and the likes. Don't get me wrong, those sites are great. They are just being abused by scum to send silly messages, a few thousand or even million with every wave.

Lesson learned: When posting your resume to public sites, create a special email address first and only use this one. When you start to communicate with a company there is still enough time to deliver your long term email address. Believe me, after you have completed the job search you will receive tons of spam. Then you can just cancel that account and go on with a spam-free life.

Ok, now it's too late. What can I do? Well, I can try to get rid of those spammers. How do I do this? Reply to they opt-out address? NO WAY! This is their way for validating the address. Replying will result in a higher amount of spam. No, I rather report them to their uplink ISPs. How do I do this? The clueful way is to read the mailheader, analyze where the spam originated from and contact that ISP. If the spam mentions a website, I can check where it is hosted and complain to that company. I never use my precious address for this. I use my dedicated spam complaint address. Which is a wise decision because if I report to a baaaad ISP who supports spam I will receive more spam instead of getting rid of it. Spam friends will say that this is a myth. Ok, then why do I receive spam at the address which I use exclusively for spam complaints?

I said reading headers and reporting is the clueful way. It is also a time consuming way. Fortunately there are sites out there who can help making this process much faster. My favourite one is Spamcop. You register, you paste the spam into a form, submit it and then you can choose to which addresses that are involved you are willing to complain. Great thing! Important: Before submitting a spam I clear all hints regarding my address. I delete the strange number or letter code at the end of the subject line or at the end of the message. I clear my address from the header information. I don't want them to see that this address is still "hot". I never give up hope that they will let me alone some day.

Good, now I've told you about the methods for light and for medium amounts of spam. What can a victim of massive spam do? I consider myself one of these. Only today (it is 2:30pm now) I have received 10 spams. No personal message. A box full of mails but only messages that I don't want to receive. You don't believe this? Ok, here we go, take a look at today's important messages, all of them especially for me, because I subscribed to their list (yeah, right) or I have indicated somewhere that I am interested in that kind of message (sure) or they simply have the goddam right so send me this (free speach, you know?):

Received: from ([] by with esmtp (Exim 3.34 #1 (Debian)) id 16geid-0001ol-00; Fri, 01 Mar 2002 05:32:33 +0100
Subject: Enhance Your Sex Life !  [...]
"easily achieve NATURALLY TRIGGERED erections"

Received: from (HELO ( [...]; 1 Mar 2002 05:21:24 -0000
Subject: Live life to the Fullest!, Secrets Revealed....
"Making over half million dollars every 4 to 5 months from your home."

Received: from ([])
          by (Lotus Domino Release 5.0.6)
          with ESMTP id 2002022819443363:1256 ;
          Thu, 28 Feb 2002 19:44:33 -0800

Received: from unknown (HELO ( [...]; 1 Mar 2002 06:23:08 -0000

Received: from ( [])
        by (8.9.3/8.9.3) with SMTP id CAA22250;
        Fri, 1 Mar 2002 02:56:56 -0400
Subject: _Missing Persona? We Find Them or it's FREE!!!_

Received: from ([]) by with
Microsoft SMTPSVC(5.0.2195.4453);
         Fri, 1 Mar 2002 03:28:15 +0100
Subject: Guess who lost 25 pounds

Received: from ([])
        by (8.9.3/8.9.3) with SMTP id RAA63255;
        Fri, 1 Mar 2002 17:19:41 +0800 (CST)

Received: from (
  by with SMTP; 1 Mar 2002 10:20:18 -0000
Subject: Joke of the day: Good Manners

Received: from qmdzxq ( []) by www.chiba (8.6.10/8.6.10) with ESMTP id VAA12836; Fri, 1 Mar 2002 21:16:22 +0900
Subject: Serious Money from Home!

Received: from egnbg ( [])
        by (8.9.3/8.9.3) with ESMTP id VAA24575;
        Fri, 1 Mar 2002 21:54:39 +0900
Subject: Be Debtfree at no cost to you...

Oh, and while typing this we can say hello to spam number 11 of today:

Received: from ( []) b
y with SMTP (Microsoft Exchange Internet Mail Service Version 5.5.
2653.13) id FYB1LV2J; Fri, 1 Mar 2002 21:45:47 +0800
Subject: Re: Payment Past Due            

What can I say? First of all: I'm female. I don't want an erection. Also, I don't want penis enlargement (which is offered to me at least 3 times a week) or something against hair loss. Earn serious money? Thanks, I'm happy with what I have. Which is why I don't want to reduce my debts. I don't have any. Accept credit cards? Hm... I don't sell anything, no thanks. Joke of the day? Yeah, I bet among spammers "Good manners" are a joke. This is one of the last mysteries... how do they make money from those annoying joke of the day spams? Please enlighten me. Conclusion: Not a single targeted message. Everything absolutely not interesting for me. All of this unwanted. Sent from all over the world, but referring to services or companies located in the US only.

Oops, I wanted to talk about the "heavy spam victim solution". This is a very ambivalent one. The effect for the individual is great - instant peace for the soul and a mailbox only for messages that are welcome. The effect for the community is.. well, none at all. It is a filter solution. Now I hear you say "Ah, filters don't work. You can't update your filtering rules as fast as the spammers change their addresses". No, I can't. But I can benefit from the fact that spammers send out their mass mailings and then go on with their sinister business. I have shown you today's spam but I haven't read the messages. My friend has installed the Tagged Message Delivery Agent (TMDA), which is the ultimate solution for desperate people. Cite: TMDA's Whitelist-centric Strategy ``Deny everything that is not explicitly allowed''. This means: I have a whitelist with addresses from people who I know and who I want to be able to send me email. If somebody writes to me who is not on that list, he will receive an automatic reply saying "I don't know you. If you would like your message to be delivered, please take a second to reply to this email and the system will deliver your original email and all your future mails". TMDA has been installed 7 days ago. Since then, 59 mails have arrived. 58 of them are spam mails. None of the spammers has bothered to reply. So I would not have seen a single message if I hadn't checked the "pending" directory in order to see what's going on and to check if I have forgotten to put a serious address on the whitelist. Isn't this just great? I think it is. THANK YOU, JASON!! (Jason has written TMDA).

Ok, now this is more than just a few thoughts about spam. I hope it was useful for you. Actually I think I forgot to utter my thoughts about spammers at all. Here they are: I hate spammers. I think they are the biggest scum on the Internet. I recently heard that one of the spammers - a guy with cable access somethere in the US - seems to be responsible for about 10 percent of the whole spam of the Internet. I would really like to send 3 or 4 guys with some nice baseball bats over. But this would be illegal and inappropriate. So I just go on reporting the smaller amount of spam that I receive at other addresses. Sometimes when I receive a non- US spam and I can see that this is a beginner and not a bad person, I even bother to write back and explain why spam is bad and why they should not do this. And in some cases I even was successful. This is why I don't stop even if I know that I can't win with the current legal situation. This is why I encourage you to begin with or keep fighting spammers. Here are some links that might help you. Thank you for your time and consideration! And please excuse that there's no address on this page. I might add a feedback form later because I am interested in what you think about this whole issue. Unless you are a spammer yourself. If so, get a real job and stop trying to earn money in such a dirty way.

Some useful links

Short note of the day (May 2nd): A-ha. 309 mails registered in my incoming.log. One came through my whitelist. 308 spams. What a ratio. Yeah, sure, why not just delete and keep quiet? Guess you know why.

That's all, folks!

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March 1st, 2.002