Note: Projects discussed in this post have been discontinued. Just scroll down and watch the analog spam-trap video.
I am pretty sure that within the mass of people who say they hate spam (and that is all they ever do against it) there may be a few that actually want to fight back.
As a believer in proactive measures against spammers I was an avid fan of Blue Frog, an Israeli software that started causing spammers actual financial loses. After its sad demise in 2006, which left me with a lot of spam and nowhere to shove it, I had to find a path to which I can direct my anti-spam energies.
Until the new and improved Blue Frog project (called Okopipi, or Black Frog) will mature, I was left with SpamCop.net, a free spam-reporting tool that has been around since 1998, but was never aggressive enough for my taste.
I have been using this tool for a couple of months now, and thought it is nothing to email home about. Basically, it identifies the IP where the email originates (thus allowing the ISP to identify the spammer) and the server that hosts the website selling the advertised product (thus allowing the hosting company to identify the seller who paid the spammer for the marketing campaign).
I could not get excited about SpamCop because you never know if the reports you file are ignored or acted upon by the anti-spam personnel at those companies. After reporting more than 1500 emails, I could not answer truthfully if I made any difference.
This is the email I just received and wanted to share:
Thank you for your report concerning this Unsolicited Bulk Email incident.
The account concerned has been identified and suspended under the terms of the Sky Broadband Acceptable Use Policy.
Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience that this incident may have caused.
Sky Broadband Abuse Team
That’s why I will keep on reporting my spam with SpamCop, knowing that others will do the same, and hoping that the small dents we might make in the big spam machine will accumulate and lead to its beautiful demise.
To leave you with a smile, here is a video documenting an art installation by Bill Shackelford. It is an analog spam-trap machine, consisting of a computer that monitors email accounts, a printer that prints any spam that arrives, and a paper shredder that automatically shreds any printed spam.