Alan Ralsky, King of Spam
Internet commonly knows Alan Ralsky as the world’s largest most prolific
spammer, but recently his spamming has come to a halt. He stopping sending
spam before President Bush, on December 16, signed the new Can Spam Act, a
law meant to crack down on marketers, like Ralsky.
start celebrating yet, Ralsky plans to resume his spam again in January
after he overcomes some computer problems and only after he changes his
practices to include in his messages a return address and other information
required by the CAN-SPAM law, which stands for Controlling the Assault of
Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing.
his own admission, he once produced more than 70 million messages a day from
domains registered with fake names, largely by way of foreign countries —
or sometimes even by way of hijacked computers — so that the recipients
could not trace the mail back to him.
experts in junk e-mail, known as spam, have dismissed the new federal law as
largely ineffectual. And many high-volume e-mailers say the law may even
improve the situation for them because it wipes away a handful of tougher
Ralsky, who lives in a Detroit suburb, says the law's potential penalties
— fines of up to $6 million and up to five years in jail — are making
him rethink his business.
course I'm worried about it," he said after the law was signed.
"You would have to be stupid to try to violate this law."
recent weeks, authorities have finally gotten the attention of spammers with
a series of tough civil and criminal actions. Recently, Ralsky said the law
is more one-sided than he originally thought. ISP, he figures, will be able
to tag and discard his mail with more certainty.
58, Alan Ralsky seems an incongruous character in an industry largely made
up of men from the Nintendo generation. "I am the oldest spammer you
know of," he said.
have a bunch of kids in their late 20's doing this with a lot more technical
knowledge than I have. But they don't have any business sense."
for this story came from NYT News Service