Microsoft Sues Alleged Spammer For Circumventing Filters
Mizhen, who previously settled a separate spam lawsuit brought by Microsoft, allegedly got around the company's anti-spam system by creating millions of new email accounts and then arranging for those accounts to classify his messages as "not spam," according to the lawsuit.
Microsoft also named other companies as defendants, including three that Mizhen allegedly controls: Media Network, Inc., New Age Opt-In, Inc. and Permission, Inc. Microsoft alleges that those companies all present themselves as online ad companies, but are actually used by Mizhen to send spam.
"Defendants developed and executed an elaborate scheme to circumvent Microsoft's Hotmail spam filters to disseminate a large quantity of spam email advertisements to Microsoft's Hotmail users," the company alleges in its complaint, filed last week in federal district court in Seattle.
The complaint details how Mizhen and his affiliates allegedly manipulated the statistics that Microsoft's anti-spam system relies on by creating millions of new email accounts and then moving up to 200,000 of their own messages a day from "junk" files into inboxes.
An associate of Mizhen allegedly contacted Microsoft and said that the messages weren't spam -- as evidenced by the statistics showing that people moved the messages into their inboxes. Microsoft was taken in by the associate's representations and unblocked the spam messages, according to its complaint.
"Defendants' deceptive conduct allowed them to circumvent Hotmail spam filters and to continue to disseminate a vast quantity of spam email messages to legitimate Hotmail users," the company asserts.
The court papers do not specify the nature of the ads. Microsoft's Tim Cranton, associate general counsel of digital crimes unit, says only that "a variety of types of ads were represented."
The lawsuit alleges that Mizhen and other defendants violated various laws, including the federal Can-Spam law.
This lawsuit marks the second time that Microsoft has sued Mizhen for allegedly spamming Hotmail users. The previous case, filed in 2003, ended with Mizhen agreeing to pay $2 million and to refrain from spamming Hotmail users in the future.
Mizhen did not respond to Online Media Daily's request for comment.