Spam King Dark Mailer faces 47-month sentence
From the penthouse to the Big House
One of the world's most prolific spammers has been sentenced to nearly four years in prison and ordered to forfeit more than $708,000 in income for blasting out tens of millions of unwanted emails.
Robert Alan Soloway, 29, on Tuesday received 47 months in federal prison following a two-and-a-half-day sentencing hearing. Federal prosecutors pushed for a nine-year sentence, but the judge presiding over the case rejected the call, saying sentencing guidelines for the nation's anti-spam statute aren't clear enough.
Even still, the next four years will be a far cry from the luxury apartment, designer clothes and other extravagances that became a way of life for Soloway. Prosecutors say he earned more than $700,000 over three years, income he pumped into a penthouse apartment overlooking Seattle's swanky Elliott Bay, more than $7,000 worth of shoes, and sunglasses worth more than $3,400. US District Judge Marsha Pechman gave Soloway 60 days to report to prison.
Soloway has emerged as one of the most reviled figures among anti-spam crusaders for the perseverance and volume of his junk mail campaign. He's been successfully sued in civil court for spamming offenses, including by Microsoft, which in 2005 obtained a $7.8m judgment. At his hearing, Soloway said he owes more than $17m in civil penalties.
And yet Soloway continued his relentless spam binge. Prosecutors say he used a program called Dark Mailer to pump out messages advertising his business called Newport Internet Marketing, which sold software for spamming. At the hearing, one exasperated businessman from Florida said he went to great lengths to stop receiving Soloway's spam, including dispatching a friend to Soloway's apartment. The barrage only stopped after Soloway was arrested.
A side note: journalists and bloggers, usually at the prompting of prosecutors, have taken to calling just about every accused or convicted spammer a "spam king." If you include Soloway, Sanford Wallace, Alan Ralsky, Scott Richter, and Eddie Davidson, that's five kings alone, and we're sure we're missing a few. Enough already. ®
If you live in the UK (and presumabley are a private individual), you can opt out of receiving marketing telephone calls with the Telephone Preference Service. The system is effective, and works, because anyone violating it (and its pretty easy to track who it is once a complaint is made, unlike spam) can be reported very simply, and violations carry a hefty £5000 fine.
28 days after turning it on, you will receive no marketing calls, recorded or otherwise..
Now it's time to...
Go after telemarketers and junk snail mail.
I can at least filter out junk email, real non-virtual interruption is 10 times worse in my opinion. The "do not call list" for telemarketers has helped, but you still get bothered by smaller business which aren't subjected to it.
"Somebody always wants Viagra! (or so it appears!)."
What I don't understand is why the Viagra spams work at all. If you want cheap Viagra, there are any number of online pharmacies that will happily sell it to you, shipped from one or another country with less restrictive rules on the sale of Rx meds than the EU, US, etc.
Or is it shyness, a reluctance to say "hey, doc, the old pecker's a bit limp these days and the missus is unhappy about it, can you give me something to put some lead back into the pencil?"
But, ah, it's Thursday, so a true story to amuse those reading: about a year ago I ran out of Viagra and needed to get a new prescription; I use the stuff rarely and the old Rx had expired, so couldn't be used for a refill. I went to see my doctor and got his wonderful locum, whom I call Dr. Ida. She's a gal "of a certain age", a good egg in every positive sense. I explained my need, she smiled and said "well, what do you want, Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra?" Ha ha.
We nattered for a minute or two after she wrote the scrip. She laughingly described how middle-aged farts come skulking into the clinic and get all flustered at asking (gasp!) a female MD for ED meds. Evidently, her cheery and straightforward approach "well, which one do you want?" is difficult for them to handle.
Unfortunately, Viagra is very costly, so some months later scoured the web for a non-ripoff online source, and ended up with a lifetime supply of a generic version from Country X at a fraction the price of the brand name stuff.
I think Pfizer's shooting themselves in the foot with their high prices.
Back to IT.