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Spamford Wallace banished from MySpace

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Sanford Wallace, perhaps the world's most persistent and reviled spammer, has been banished from MySpace by a federal judge who ruled the social networking site is likely to prevail in a lawsuit that claims Wallace flooded MySpace with more than 1m come-ons related to gambling-related sites.

US District Judge Audrey B. Collins forbid Wallace and his associates from creating or maintaining MySpace profiles, using the site to send private messages or post public comments or to suggest in commercial emails or other electronic communications that that they are affiliated with the social network.

The preliminary injunction came in a lawsuit MySpace filed in March. It claims Wallace created more than 11,000 MySpace profiles that churned out private messages, comments and bulletins that directed users to spoofed MySpace pages seeking their login information.

The ruse allowed him to hijack at least 320,000 accounts, which he used to send 400,000 private messages and post 890,000 comments, both of which redirected MySpace users to the sites freevegasclubs.com and realvegas-sins.com. The sites are owned by Feeble Minded Productions, an aptly-titled firm affiliated with Wallace.

"Plaintiff has expended significant time and resources in implementing various measures to prevent abuse of its service and curtail commercial spam," Collins wrote in a court opinion earlier this month. "Limiting spam is important because it clogs networks, uses up bandwidth, and degrades the user experience."

We were unable to find a phone number for Wallace and were reluctant to email him.

In ruling against Wallace, Collins agreed that the electronic messages sent over MySpace fell within the definition of an "electronic mail message" in the CAN-SPAM Act. Attorneys for Wallace attempted to wriggle out of the law's reach by arguing the act didn't apply because MySpace addresses had no domain name and remained within the MySpace system rather than being routed over the internet at large.

"Even under defendant's more restrictive interpretation, however, messages sent through MySpace.com fall within the definition of 'electronic mail message' sent to an 'electronic mail address,'" Collins wrote.

We've admitted before to having a grudging admiration for the determination and audacity of Wallace's spamming propensities. He was among the earliest spammers, coming to prominence in the mid 1990s with a company called Cyber Promotions, which spewed out 1m messages a day. He ultimately disbanded the outfit and promised to curb his spam diet after facing lawsuits from AOL and CompuServe.

Alas, Wallace's habit seems to grow by what it feeds on. According to the opinion, Wallace's MySpace spam barrage continued even after he was sued. Over a five-week span starting in May, Wallace sent more than 110,000 messages from 76,200 user accounts, suggesting that the self-proclaimed king of spam is on yet another binge. ®

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