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Spam Kings by Brian S McWilliams

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Shiksaa Plays Peacemaker

Eight copies of Hawke's Web Manual ad somehow landed in the America Online in-box of Karl Gray, an AOL user in London. Like most ISPs in the United Kingdom at the time, AOL's service was metered, which meant that Gray paid a per-minute charge while online. Downloading and dealing with spam therefore wasn't just a nuisance; it cost him money. While most AOL users might have deleted the Web Manual ads in disgust, Gray posted a copy of the spam to a newsgroup named alt.stop.spamming, along with the words, "Any one want to help me wage war?"

Morely Dotes, the online alias of a Nanae regular named Richard Tietjens, spotted Gray's posting during his regular morning sweep through anti-spam newsgroups. Dotes looked up the domain registration record for WebManual2000.com and posted the information as a reply to Gray's message. Dotes also noted in his message that the ad's headers indicated it had been transmitted from an InnovaNet user operating a spam program with "direct-to-MX" capabilities. Such technology routed the ads directly to recipients' email servers, leaving no trace at InnovaNet's mail server.

"It is obvious from the fact that Kincaid used direct-to-MX spamware that he knows what he is doing is wrong," wrote Dotes.

Had Shiksaa been a regular reader of alt.stop.spamming, those words might have inspired her to pounce on the case and run searches on Kincaid's phone number and email address. Eventually, she would have her first online encounter with Hawke. ...

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