August 21, 2007

Google's Spam Priorities?

So, this bunch of annoying little [expletive deleted]s have recently started spamming one of the newsgroups I haunt with messages about things like "Best Car Air Conditioners". For email my spam filters take care of a lot of this crap, but on newsgroups I pretty much have to take what my NNTP server delivers [and there's a market opportunity right there: millions of Thunderbird users are currently casting around for the next non-Microsoft solution to their problems, and if someone chooses to build a newsreader that integrates Spambayes or some similarly competent technology they could probably make a modest income). Score one if you noticed that I just wrote a half-open interval.*

Being a civic-minded netizen I decide that my only recourse is to make sure that at least these nasty little buggers will have to register new Gmail accounts (not that they will worry about that, as they probably register thirty-five new accounts a day, but anyway ...), so I decide to report them to the appropriate abuse address (even though I realize as I do so that I will either be ignored, or I will be one of several thousand irritated readers who are just as pissed as me).

So. CTRL/U gets me the message headers, and lo! I see
Hooray! There's a large, responsible, "do no evil" company who is prepared to stand up and stop these little [expletive deleted]s in their tracks. Great. So I send a message (being careful to include all the headers) to the appropriate address and return to work basking in the warm comfortable glow of having done my duty and helped, as best I can, to put an end to the abhorrence of spam (really, sometimes I look at the human race and what I see depresses me: there really are people out there to whom money is so important that they will fund the exploitation of thousands, nay millions, of vulnerable always-on under-protected basement-dwelling computer systems to send out millions of messages a day about how someone is just waiting to transfer several million dollars into their bank account in return for a modest fee for their assistance. Give me a [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] break).

Having taken the time to compose and send a message to the above-mentioned address, pointing out how the offenders are spamming a programming language group with inappropriate messages, I go about my business feeling virtuous. Only to see, when I next return to the computer, the following email:
This message was created automatically by mail delivery software.

A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of
its recipients. The following addresses failed:

SMTP error from remote server after RCPT command:
550 5.1.1 No such user v66si6536119pyh

--- The header of the original message is following. ---

Received: from [] (helo=[])
by (node=mrus1) with ESMTP (Nemesis),
id 0MKpCa-1INdGx0Vee-0007V8; Tue, 21 Aug 2007 19:36:44 -0400
Message-ID: <>

[... etc., etc., ...]
It can't be easy running a large company. If it was easy then I guess I could do it too. So much for help with abuse. I guess we have to turn to the federal government for assistance now. Oh, sorry, that's no good. The federal government stopped taking an interest in the spam problem when it was pointed out that over 50% of the world's spam originated in the USA (though this is now an out-of-date statistic).

I guess it's up to us vigilantes, then. Whar's mah gun?

No comments: