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Thoughts On Removing Spam - The Watchtower of Destruction: The Ferrett's Journal
June 4th, 2003
09:56 am


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Thoughts On Removing Spam

A single weekend garnered me 120 unwanted emailings about real estate leads, horny women, penis enlargement pills, and of course swiss watches. I tucked them all neatly into a folder, and am now going through them one by one, clicking the unsubscribe link in an attempt to remove myself from their lists.

Some of them say, "You can remove yourself from this list by sending an email with the word 'Remove' in it." I always do, and add, "...And I hope all of your children die in a grease fire, you spamming cocksucker."

Some of them include a large disclaimer saying that this isn't spam, it's targeted email, as they'd never send anyone unwanted email. I unsubcribe, and then hunt down a contact info at that place to tell them, "You are indeed a spammer, you little arrogant shits, as I never asked for this in the least. Either you're scummy enough to play games with words, or you're so dumb you don't deserve to live. Either way, I hope your children die in a grease fire, and you get to hear them cook, you spamming cocksucker."

Yes, I actually do this. It makes me happier.

But the ones who drive me nuts most of all are the ones who include a link to unsubscribe that leads to a 404 "Page not found" error - or worse yet, opens up a form that never processes correctly. Somehow they're worse than the ones that simply don't have a link; they strike me as more hypocritical. "See? We'll take you off if you ask... Neener neener neener!"

There are enough hackers and crackers out there to "0wN" sites, breaking into them and disrupting their service. I ask the hacking community as a whole: Is it not possible to come up with some white hat hacker who will create a DOS attack for any site trying to sell wares via a spam email, thus ensuring that anyone who does spam people will never make a goddamn dime off of the retards who are actually going there? Because while I'd cheerfully script kiddie myself and learn how to break a system, I just don't have the time these days.

Current Mood: cynicalcynical

(39 shouts of denial | Tell me I'm full of it)

[User Picture]
Date:June 4th, 2003 07:04 am (UTC)


I'm afraid part of the reason you get so much spam comes from clicking those "unsubscribe" links. It may occasionally get you off one mailing list, but it almost certainly adds your address to five more. The only way to consistently beat spam that I've discovered is to have ironclad mail-filtering software or simply never, ever, ever give out your e-mail address in any form an automated script could recognize.
[User Picture]
Date:June 4th, 2003 07:11 am (UTC)

Re: Ouch.

Actually, that's a common misconception. I was skeptical about unsubscribing until my wife, who had no other options left, gave it a shot - and it decreased her total spam traffic by about a third. It decreases mine, too - at least until the next crop of email harvesters comes to town. Unsubscribing works.

And as the editor of a site, I can't NOT have my email address public. I hate that.
[User Picture]
Date:June 4th, 2003 07:21 am (UTC)


For those who do not unsubscribe you, do not have "forms" that work, direct you to page 404 error, or just plain keep sending that cr@p no matter what the reason .... just hit FWD and send it to the Federal Trade Commission that is trying to fight spammers. uce@ftc.gov

More info can be found at

**side note**
i have found with some of the spamware programs for email, that being a business email address that sometimes it will delete/block email i need to see!

i always get some sense of sassifaction when i end up forwarding it to the federal government. It takes a bit of extra time but in the end i'm hoping the benefits will be worth it.

His ~angel~

Date:June 4th, 2003 07:34 am (UTC)
I have too much angst to really reply with a coherent insult like you do. So congrats!!! Most of my angry replies are unreadable, ebcause I just see red and fly off the handle at them...
[User Picture]
Date:June 4th, 2003 08:27 am (UTC)
I say this as both a computer hobbyist and as an IT professional... If the delete button is too hard to operate, turn off your computer.
[User Picture]
Date:June 4th, 2003 08:28 am (UTC)
I say this as both a computer hobbyist and an IT professional: If you're wasting both my fucking bandwidth and my time, you can die and go to hell, as can anyone who defends you.
Date:June 4th, 2003 08:40 am (UTC)
I certainly unsubscribe from spam that at least tries to look semi-legitimate, but I think if the email asks you to reply to an address that looks suspicious, it probably won't work.

Also, what if it's a way for some evil spammer to harass people who harass him (or her) - just include their email address as the "reply to remove" address in the message.

As far as why you get so many 404 not found errors - I'd guess it's because people have complained and gotten the web site removed. If the site was still up, the unsubscribe probably wouldn't have worked anyway.

BTW, I really hope some of your nasty messages actually go through to the actual spammers.
[User Picture]
Date:June 4th, 2003 09:12 am (UTC)
Paul Graham argues that really effective spam filters (by which he basically means Bayesian filters) will, if they become widespread enough, not only reduce the amount of spam each user sees, but eventually make spam no longer cost-effective to send. I'm not certain we can get a high enough percentage of folks using Bayesian filters to have that effect, but a) it's a lovely thought, and b) even if they're still sucking my bandwidth, I like the thought of a filter more effective than what I'm currently using so that I don't have spam getting all the way to my mailbox.

So I plan on installing CRM114 Real Soon Now.

Filtering doesn't allow you the release of screaming back at the spammers, of course, but you could always go through the "filed as spam" folder for rage-targets when the urge strikes.
[User Picture]
Date:June 4th, 2003 09:37 am (UTC)
That's a beautiful response, man. I've only sent angry messages with a couple of my unsubscribe e-mails, but more out of anger than anything else--I always just sort of assumed that no real person would be reading it, just a computer program or something.
Date:June 4th, 2003 10:04 am (UTC)

Removing SPAM

As a general rule , when ppl recive spam its from a bulk word search they use and when someone clicks on the remove page , it confirms that a address exists and adds it to the 'this email works - so keep spaming list'

Best way to remove spam is to use the message source and track the persons orginating ip address and send a 'abuse@thereisp.com'

If you get spam , theres a good anti spam page with tools there to trace the orginal person at:

Good luck
[User Picture]
Date:June 4th, 2003 11:04 am (UTC)

fuck the spamer with an aids infected bull

i hate spam and i hate pop ups and yes i am on aol. they (aol) are even working to rid us of spam hopefully it will be as sucessful as the telemarkter no call list that starts next month on hte first. Newest version of aol 8.0 has a block and rport function for spam even tho i use it i still some times get the same damm ad's but then from diffrent email addresses... So what good is it to even use. Aol has installed a pop up blocker but recentily i now started getting pop ups on my Ie some how it bypasses my aol brouser and now opens my ie brouser what the hell how did this happen now ... if it is not one thing it is another
i pay 23 a month to keep this email address and dont really want to change it cus i have had it for a long time and i am being lazy i guess ..... I just dont know what else to do any ideas
Date:June 5th, 2003 12:11 am (UTC)

Re: fuck the spamer with an aids infected bull

Does AOL have a email only account thats cheaper ?

Or better still make all your subscribed email goto a free pop3 , eg yahoo mail

Charlie Brown
[User Picture]
Date:June 4th, 2003 03:12 pm (UTC)
My dad, since retiring in August, has been on an anti spam crusade. He answers and analyzes headers of nearly every piece of (no EVERY piece) spam that enters his inbox.
[User Picture]
Date:April 6th, 2005 04:13 am (UTC)
One method I have heard to be effective for SysAdmins in at least tracking spam is to have an omniforward @yourdomain, and then give out your eMail address differently to each company or person you interact with.

For example, if you're signing your eMail on a purchase with Amazon for a book about gorillas, give them the email AmazonGorillas@theferrett.com. Then if you get Spam addressed to AmazonGorillas@theferrett.com , you know where the spammers likely got your email address, and you can attack the source.
[User Picture]
Date:April 6th, 2005 06:30 am (UTC)
That's actually a pretty good idea. I may steal that.
[User Picture]
Date:November 11th, 2006 04:31 am (UTC)
My favourites are the ones that come with the header "Peta! Enlarge your penis today!". I'm female, for pete's sake.

I was perfectly fine until I gave my e-mail address to my sensei and then a deluge of spam came flooding in on an hourly basis. Some of them in some form of 'writing' that I do not understand. Still, spammers deserve lots of fonging pain.
Date:March 15th, 2007 02:03 am (UTC)

attacking servers

I was responsible for a number of sites including several charities.
The host was attacked because one of their customers started spamming. At the time they could only legally terminate the customer at the time of contract renewal, yet a certain anti-spam organisation listed them as spam-friendly.
This meant that all their customers had problems sending emails.
When I complained about that organisation, they tried attacking my sites on other servers too and the other host took my sites down until I finally threatened the other host with legal action.
Attacking hosts rather than just the spammers treats innocent customers as acceptable battle losses (I forget the military term for accidental civilian casualties) Just as in a real war, it's immoral and unacceptable.
Both the anti-spammers who do that and definitely the spammers themselves need shooting, unless someone can think of a nastier fate for them.
And delete ain't good enough - I waste an hour a day on deleteing spam that makes it through filters.
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