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Does anyone realize this happened?-

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Trading4profit   Sunday, 07/08/12 03:56:08 PM
Re: elbiatcho1 post# 27600
Post # of 193516 
Does anyone realize this happened?-

18 Responses to AwesomePennyStocks.com: Stock-Pumping Spam via an ESP :(


June 5, 2012 at 9:42 am

Thanks for the heads-up, Catherine. I’m in Berlin at the moment, but I’ll have our compliance team drop a hammer.

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June 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm

At MAAWG, are you? Sorry to interrupt the fun, but this doesn’t look like a difficult issue from a compliance perspective.

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June 7, 2012 at 3:45 am

Andrew, your people have not shut this nitwit down. He’s still spamming from iContact; my traps received another spam in the past couple of hours while I was fixing dinner. :/

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June 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm

To “Spambouncer”

We are the operators of the newsletter which you claim has hit one of your spam traps.

Our website has been in operation for years, and we have maintained nothing but the best of relations with icontact which is why they have never shut us down.

Our lists are fully optin as you probably already know from seeing our ads throughout the internet.

We have nothing to gain from sending spam, or using purchased lists or anything of the sort, all our traffic is self-generated and legitimately purchased from companies like google.

The only problem we see is that anyone could have gone to the website and entered your “spam trap” into our subscription form.

You are right that icontact does not want this sort of customers who are spammers, and we are not. Don’t you find it odd that this is the first instance of an issue occuring in several years of operation? If we were actual spammers you would’ve experienced problems with our newsletter many years ago, and in a recurring fashion.

Not only does this newsletter comply with all canspam regulations, but it also complies with all SEC, and federal regulations in the US.

Please contact us to work on solving this problem.

Thank you

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June 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I’m afraid I had never heard of your company before you started spamming my spamtrap. That doesn’t mean that your ads aren’t around the Internet, BTW — I use FireFox with AdAware when browsing so rarely see advertisements on web sites.

This blog was posted several weeks ago. However, the spam to that spamtrap has continued in the interim. The spamtrap did not opt in to receive your email. That means that you’re spamming at least one email address. If your web site accepts just any email address that some random visitor puts into the subscription field, without confirming that email address, then that may be the source of your spam problem.

In this case, however, I’m not interested in helping you regardless. Your business itself appears to me to be shady at best, and is probably illegal in many countries, whatever claims you make to the contrary. For many years I’ve seen spam whose intent is to pump up stock prices so as to sell out on a rising market; at times it has been among the most common criminal/botnet spam. Your emails are nearly identical to this type of spam except that they are sent from IContact. I suspect that those emails are intended to accomplish the same goals, although of course I have no proof. I consider it unethical and wrong to attempt to deceive people into buying a worthless product, so I really don’t care to spend time helping you fix a problem (spam) that I consider peripheral to a more fundamental issue.

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June 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm

Dear “SpamBouncer”,

We understand that if you run adaware you will not see the ads, and that would explain why you have never heard of the company before.

We also understand that the blog is a few weeks old, however it seems to portray a bigger problem that we have experienced recently with someone maliciously inputing random email addresses through the script. The reason why the site is not double opt in is that conversion rates drop dramatically once it is set that way. We trust that visitors will be honest enough not to try to harm the company.

Addressing your issue about the “fundamentals” of the business itself, we’d like to reiterate that it is perfectly legal and compliant. You may have seen websites or actual spammers who run their “business” in the fashion you have described, however they are not legitimate, and create a horrible image for us.

We work with large companies such as Goldman Sachs, and only profile legitimate small companies who are looking to succeed. Everyone deserves a chance. Moreover we do not attempt to deceive anyone into anything. Regarding your mentioning that our emails are nearly “identical” to that type of spam – we cannot control who can copy the format and replicate it in an attempt to make their content look legitimate.

If we were spamming, icontact would never allow us to run on their network for almost half a decade now.

You see spammers copying paypal and banking websites completely in order to try to phish users, but clearly it doesn’t mean that paypal is behind it. Please do not penalize us for other people’s wrong doing, and we kindly ask you to please reconsider assisting with this issue because as you can see we have absolutely no benefit in spamming random emails.

Thank you.

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June 23, 2012 at 10:34 pm

IContact has very little means of vetting the legitimacy of their customers, nor would I expect them to. They remove customers when they get a certain number of valid spam complaints. A single complaint, even from a trusted reporter such as myself, is not enough. (Nor do I think that it should be.) That has nothing to do with whether your business is legitimate.

I just looked over your web site. I see nothing there that changes my earlier opinion about the nature of what you are doing. Maybe it is legal; it does not appear to be right. If I see that the spam stops, I will report that, as I do in each case. I won’t spend more time trying to help, though.

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June 23, 2012 at 10:46 pm

I’m just pretty curious though about how your email got on there. Could someone have randomly input it? Did you at some point in the past 5 years maybe sign up on one of our affiliate sites? I would think that you did sign up at some point, unless anyone can easily have access to your email address.

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June 24, 2012 at 12:26 am

This was a spamtrap, not one of my email addresses. Even if it were a personal email address, however, it would be unlikely to the extreme that I would have signed up for anything. I simply don’t. I let my retirement fund handle investments; the whole subject bores me to tears. (No offense — my mother plays the stock market and has a wonderful time with it — but it is not for me.)

If you work with affiliate programs, however, that could easily explain my spamtrap simply because so many of them despite their claims of opt-in are simply spammers selling lists.

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June 24, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Hi Catherine,

I have killed the account. I apologize for the length of time it has taken to correctly and permanently remediate the issue. I will be working with management to identify all the points at which our processes broke down, and to correct them.

All the best,

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June 24, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Cool. I wondered what put the Tabasco in your customer’s grits, that he showed up here three weeks after I blogged about his spam. He must have seen the boom coming down, delayed but sure. smile

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June 25, 2012 at 12:11 am

Well, I hate to name names, but it rhymes with “Spamhaus”.

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Tom Mortimer

June 25, 2012 at 6:48 pm

SBL listings are public record, Andrew. It’s quite alright with us if you name names, although we do appreciate the discretion on other issues.

Speaking of which, there were some other issues than simple spam in this case. I can’t go into detail, but suffice it to say that this was most certainly a customer that no reasonable ESP or ISP would want on their network. :/

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