Saturday, May 21, 2005

 

The lifeblood of the spammer is email. They need to be able to send lots of it on an ongoing basis to stay in "business". High profile spammers can send 80 million pieces of junk email every single day. Yes one single person.


ISPs all over the online world have vowed to stop spammers sending such vast amounts of email through their mail servers. Do they really keep their word? All the end user sees is that the spam keeps coming. There must be a loophole there somewhere. There is.


In the soft white underbelly of the internet there exists something known as a pink contract. The term pink contract comes from the color of the famous tinned meat that junk email gets its name from. A pink contract is simply a business agreement between the ISP and the spammer. The spammer agrees to pay the ISP to turn a blind eye to the junk email passing through their mail servers.


Surely this is bad business for the ISP? Well the answer to that is both Yes and No. Yes it's bad news for the people who receive the junk email and No it's good news for the ISPs bank balance. A monthly pink contract can pay the ISP amounts from $10,000 upwards. Bearing in mind that the average work-at-home spammer averages $100,000 net per year the above figure is small change fo the bigger junk email vendors (the guys who earn $200,000 - $400,000 per month.)


But..... the CanSpam Act 2003... surely that's going to make a difference? Of course. Any ISP in the United States can get in serious, serious trouble for signing pink contracts. Problem is that there's a whole big world wide web out there and the vast majority of pink contracts are signed with overseas ISPs where US authorities have no jurisdiction - China and Russia being perfect examples.


There's no moral to this story. Spam is a huge problem that's finally being taken seriously by Governmental bodies. However until they start imposing prison sentences or seizure orders on those individuals and companies in the pink contract business the problem can only continue.


Niall Roche is the content author and owner of http://www.spam-site.com which reviews and tests spam blocking software for the business and end user.



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