Just An Online Minute... To Catch A Spammer
The proposal comes as the FTC only last month nixed the idea of creating a do-not-spam registry. After exploring how such a registry might work, the FTC decided that it wouldn't be effective without a system to authenticate email origins. Instead of stemming the flow of spam, such a plan, the FTC concluded, might actually increase it.
It's even more difficult to figure out how a bounty system would work. How much is a major spammer worth? Are we talking about the spam lords--people who run off-shore networks, similar to heads of drug cartels or mafiosos--or smaller-fry individuals? And how do we capture sneaky, underhanded spammers? The FTC might be able to leverage bloggers who exchange intelligence and compare notes on spammers. Who knows.
The federal CanSpam law took effect on Jan. 1, and requires email marketers to use clear heads and subject lines, label adult content, and give consumers the opportunity to easily opt-out of mail. The law also contains a provision that offers individuals who identify spam law violators a reward of "not less than 20 percent of the total civil penalty collected" by the FTC. But after six months, some research firms are finding that the law has had little effect.
One of those firms is Montreal-based Vircom, a provider of email security services. After a six-month study, Vircom found that less than one spam message in 7,500 complies with the CanSpam Act. "It is apparent from these results that spammers are not worried about any potential legal action," Marc Chouinard, head of Vircom's Spam Buster Team, said in a statement. "If a business relies on legislation to handle the spam problem, they are pretty much out of luck."
This is not encouraging. The findings of similar companies such as Brightmail, also don't look positive.
Finally, several of you wrote to correct an error in the June 28 Online Minute where I stated that Salesforce.com's IPO had been postponed. In fact, the Salesforce.com IPO closed on June 23 and as of this morning, the company's stock stood at $16.68 per share. Thanks to the handful of you keeping close tabs on IPO news, I am corrected. Thank you.