Same, same (but different)

Through following unsubscribe links in unsolicited email advertisements, one can often reach the home pages of the self-proclaimed “advertising agencies” that send the spam. Examples of such pages include:

As well as this site:

Hang on a sec, those pages are identical (almost). Eagle-eyed readers might have noticed that the name of the company has changed, but the rest of the page has remained completely the same. Also consider:

What’s going on here? Are all these “leading providers of direct marketing” who pride themselves in “innovative direct response campaigns” really unable to come up with an original blurb for their website?

Interestingly enough, all of these different websites share neighbouring IP ranges and nameservers and we can therefore safely come to the conclusion that all these different “direct marketing” firms are run by the same people. So why go to the hassle of setting so many of these different business names (I counted at least 30) to send the same spam messages? The answer may lie within the finer details of the CAN-SPAM act (or as many like to call it, “you can spam”). The act is based upon an opt-out principle, where the sender can legally keep sending unsolicited messages to an email address up until the time when the receiver opts out. After an opt-out request is received that sender must cease communications; however, in this cheeky loop-hole each marketing company is a different sender and therefore can still send mail to a user once an opt-out request is received by another.

This once again demonstrates that once one is unlucky enough to get into the address book of a spammer, it is virtually impossible to get back out. It also shows that the current anti-spam legislation is almost entirely ineffective.