July 19, 2024

Spammers Concerned by CAN-SPAM?

Alan Ralsky, one of the biggest spammers, thinks the new CAN-SPAM act will hinder his spamming business, according to Saul Hansell’s story in today’s New York Times. Naturally, eventhing this guy says should be viewed skeptically, but the article is interesting nonetheless.

Mr. Ralsky talks a lot about himself in the article, and a revealing picture emerges. He has constructed a (rationalized) view of himself as a legitimate businessman who has been forced by those nasty antispam technologies to resort to practices like operating underground, forging mail headers, using open relays, and so on. Now the CAN-SPAM Act will ban some of those practices – and he wants us to feel sorry for him!

Mr. Ralsky also claims that he has been inactive (i.e., not spamming) for the past few weeks. I’ve been remarking to people for the last couple of weeks that there seems to be less spam than there was before. I almost wrote a blog entry asking all of you whether you had seen the same thing. Is it just the holiday season? Or is this one guy sending lots of my incoming spam?

Mr. Ralsky says he will soldier on, continuing to spam while complying with the new law. But he worries that his compliance will make it easier for people to filter out his messages. Let’s hope so.


  1. I’ve seen an increase, but I’ve also been “joe-jobbed” a few times, so my address got spread far and wide.

    I’m hoping those are acts of desperation from a dying industry.

  2. My spam hasn’t shown any large changes in volume. Maybe up a little.

    I’ve long noticed that different people get different (but overlapping) parts of the spam flow. I assume this corresponds to each address’ presence in various address lists.

  3. My spam amount has decreased in the past weeks… but this is largely because I’ve enabled SpamAssasin and set the sensativity to 2 (very low)… then I scan the spam folder and whitelist emails that I want to receive. After about two weeks of this, most of my “spam” folder is totally spam and very very little makes it into my inbox.

  4. Perhaps Mr. Ralsky is your personal spam provider. My spam ammount has only increased in the past weeks/months. Lucky you!

  5. Actually, my spam levels have gone up rapidly in the last month or so. In September I was at about 100 per day. By November I was at 200. Yesterday I received just over 300 messages. If Ralsky has let up on spamming, then some others have filled the void, at least when it concerns my email address.

    I also wrote a post yesterday about this article and Ralsky’s comments. It’s great how someone can rationalize the idea that as long as they can do anything with the technology it must be legal – but anyone else doing something with the technology to block them from doing something, it’s a bad thing. Also, he doesn’t just blame “antispam technologies”, but the entire “internet” for being out to get him.

    Maybe if he wasn’t in the business of annoying everyone on the internet they wouldn’t be so upset with him. However, these days, personal responsibility never enters into the picture. It’s always about what the other guy is doing to you that “forces” you to do something.