Business Technology: A Trip To The Woodshed For Serving Tainted Spam

Three letter-writers take Bob Evans to the woodshed for publishing anti-spam solutions from readers without vigorously vetting the efficacy of those suggestions. Also, they offer a range of rich anti-spam resources and perspectives.

Bob Evans, Contributor

January 7, 2005

2 Min Read

As Andy put it, "If you think you can "simply return the message to the source" or "simply charge for E-mail," then you're not thinking the problem through. However, you can rest assured that others have. For real questions and answers, here are some sites:

Thank you, Andy Lester.

The third letter was from Paul Howell, and it touched on some similar themes: "The majority (yes, majority) of spam coming to my clients' inboxes is from hijacked home computers on broadband. Not from identifiable, semi-legitimate bulk E-mailers but from home PC's on DSL and cable broadband that have been infected by Trojans and serve out spam all day, unwittingly, until the ISP figures it out and shuts them down. Any return E-mail to these spam factory robots is ignored, of course. They aren't set up to process incoming E-mail. A worse problem is that sending such a reply would unwittingly bomb legitimate E-mail users who are totally unrelated to the spam problem....

"So, regarding your editorial, none of the suggestions from readers of the "cat-o'-nine-tails" persuasion will help me, none of the "traceable sender" or return E-mails ideas will help me, and certainly none of the "pay as you go" ideas will help me. Improved filtering does help, both on my incoming servers and at my desktop. Alert ISPs who automatically alert and shut off access to the robot spam clones would help--but such ISPs don't exist...." The full text of Paul's letter can be found with Mitch and Andy's additional resources here.

So, folks, I stand before you woodshedded, chastened, and at least, I hope, a bit wiser. While I will continue to use this column regularly as a forum for your ideas and perspectives, I'll be more careful about how I frame the overall issue under discussion and the thoughts you've submitted. Thanks again to all of you.

Bob Evans
Editorial Director [email protected]

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About the Author(s)

Bob Evans


Bob Evans is senior VP, communications, for Oracle Corp. He is a former InformationWeek editor.

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