'Spam King' disappears after $234m MySpace fine
Thursday 15 May 2008
MySpace.com, the social networking website owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation, has won $234m (£120m) in damages over junk email sent to its members, in what is believed to be the largest anti-spam ruling ever.
A federal judge in Los Angeles made the award against Sanford Wallace, the notorious "Spam King" who has been the subject of a string of failed federal attempts to shut down his activities, and a business partner, Walter Rines, after the two men failed to come to defend themselves in court.
The pair were accused of hijacking hundreds of thousands of MySpace members' accounts and sending messages advertising Mr Wallace's ragbag of commercial websites, infuriating members and forcing MySpace to spend millions of dollars on a cat-and-mouse game with the spammers.
MySpace, though, admits that it is doubtful it will ever be paid the damages. Both have gone missing and Mr Rines has failed to pay other costs ordered by the judge throughout the 14-month case.
Indeed, the spammers have repeatedly broken an injunction against them and were continuing to taunt the company as recently as January, according to court documents. Using software that tracks links from spam emails through to underlying websites, the security enforcer for MySpace, Joseph Marotta, was directed to a Rines company webpage containing nothing but a picture of a middle finger.
Mr Wallace came to prominence in the Nineties as a proponent of junk email as a marketing tool, earnings himself the nicknames Spamford and the Spam King. He and Mr Rines are alleged to have generated 11,000 fake MySpace accounts and encouraged other users to visit a fake MySpace-sponsored website where they were induced to give up their log-in details.
This scam, known as phishing, gave him and Mr Rines access to 320,000 accounts, from where they sent 400,000 messages and posted 890,000 comments. These comments encouraged users to visit websites such as freevegasclubs.com, real-vegas-sins.com and stop-passing-gas.com. Mr Wallace claimed that he earned about $1m a year from those websites, according to court documents.
Most importantly, since the Wallace websites contained adult material, and since MySpace is open to users as young as 14, the scheme potentially exposed minors to offensive content.
Under a 2003 federal anti-spam law known as Can-Spam, each violation entitled MySpace to $100 in damages, tripled when conducted "willfully and knowingly". Judge Audrey Collins held Mr Wallace and Mr Rines jointly liable for $157m in damages and Mr Rines individually liable for a further $63m.
- 1 Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
- 4 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 5 Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
Sally Farmiloe dead: Howards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, dies aged 60
Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
Australian model Robyn Lawley stages naked protest against huge coal mine seven times the size of Sydney Harbour
Drew Barrymore’s sister Jessica found dead in her car surrounded by 'dozens of white pills'
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Secretary (Sales Team Support) - Mat...
£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...
£450 - £650 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...
£350 - £400 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Analyst, ALM Data, Halifax, ...