Failure to educate a spam-friendly ISP: The case of

I, Jeffrey Goldberg, report here on an failed attempt to educate a spam-friendly ISP,, during the middle of December 2000. You may wish to jump right to the mail exchange instead of reading this over-long page.

The players
Spam was sent from This was direct to MX spam with no attempt at forgery. Other information reported from indicates that they were spamming at less than 100,000 recipients per day. So this is relatively small scale spam, with no forgery or relay abuse involved.
This is the mini ISP which hosts These are the people I first reported the spam to. These are the people whom I am calling a spam friendly ISP. Though actually now they are only a "would-be spam-friendly ISP" as their provider, has compelled to behave properly once I brought that matter to the attention of
These are the providers for They were initially a bit slow to respond to my report, and were careful in their investigation. They appear to have been skeptical of the accuracy of my conclusion and were initially inclined to put some weight to their customer's denials. However, after they investigated more thoroughly, they concluded as I did and managed to get to cut off Although there were some minor technical hiccoughs which may have reflected a lack of experience in dealing with spam, behaved extremely well and was very helpful. I would say that their inexperience with dealing with spam reports is to their credit.
I am a sometime email manager. I routinetly report the spam I receive to the appropriate parties, but have never been engaged in anything like this before. You can find out more than you want to know about me by following links from

Several important facts

  1. In mail to me (which you will see), snet repeatedly denied that they are a spam-friendly ISP. The conclusion that they were indeed a spam friendly ISP is my own and is based not only on what they did, but on what they have said in the very same email messages which deny the claim.
  2. At the time of this writing, has acted to prevent spam from their customer I reported. However, they are only doing this because their provider,, has applied pressure to to stop the spammer. The spammer in question was, an customer. So now snet is just a "would-be spam friendly ISP".
  3. After I sent a notification to snet (and others) that this website and mail log had been established (but not advertised), I received a message explaining to me
    It seems that a junior administrator has been communicating with you under my name he has been summiraly dismissed
    This message adopted a very conciliatory tone and apologized for the rudeness of the other messages, but appeared to reconfirm the overall spam friendly policy. That message, and my response, is listed in the correspondence published. It also had the same pattern of punctuation style and spelling as all of the previous messages. (My spelling is also terrible, but it works somewhat like a finger print: Everyone who spells correctly, spells the same way; while each misspeller has their own style.)
  4. The person I corresponded with at snet has threated to sue me for calling them a spam-friendly ISP. I believe that the facts speak for themselvs and that is my primary reason for wishing to post the mail I've recieved from them on this matter.
  5. I've also been threatened with legal action if I post this correspondence. I have done some investigation and have determined that both under US law and UK law I have the right to do so. As a courtesy, however, I have removed the address and telephone number (even though these were likely to be business telephone numbers) of the person I dealt with. I do list his name (as given in the messages) as he claimed to be the director of snet. I have also removed some other, possibly personal, information about him.
  6. The person at snet has said that he has reported my actions "to the authorities". I don't know what that is supposed to mean, but I have not had any contact from any authorities.
  7. I have posted about this matter on Usenet in the group My initial posting, <Pine.LNX.4.30.0012181034530.28331-100000@lehel.goldmark.private>, has had a number of followups. But start with that message ID to see the ever changing thread.

Why am I posting all this?

Why does this page suck?

I never expected to put in so much time to a simple report of spam as as gone into this one. It is a matter of getting things done at all, instead of producing a well designed page for this with lots of useful links. Maybe it will be improved.

Where's the beef?

Read the mail exchange.

Version: $Revision: 1.6 $
Last Modified: $Date: 2002/01/05 17:49:37 $ GMT
First established December 22, 2000