Friday, December 03, 2004

Chongqed at O’Reilly

Today we got the first article that lets people know about Brian McWilliams, author of Spam Kings, wrote "Chongq and the Spam Vampires" about us and other methods of retaliation against spammers.

Recently the Spam Vampire idea was taken up by Lycos Europe and turned into a screensaver called Make Love Not Spam that will use up bandwidth of spammer websites. They say they are not running a Distributed Denial of Service attack because they are not trying to knock the websites off the internet, only to slow them down and increase the spammer' cost for running them. They plan to monitor site response and throttle back the attack when it gets too slow. So far they have already knocked a few sites offline. Not that that bothers me at all that spammers are knocked offline, but its not what they said they were going do.

I have mixed feelings about the whole idea of Spam Vampire and Lycos' version. I like that it hurts spammers, but it could cause too much collateral damage. There may be innocent websites on nearby servers that are affected by all that traffic. And it wastes a lot of bandwidth over the routes it takes to get to the spammer sites.

Since many spammers are from China, likely much of the bandwidth between them and other countries is taken up. That likely slows their reaching websites outside the country, and we know their networks are already very slow. While I occasionally think it would be nice to cut them off from the rest of the internet, which their government would probably love, that wouldn't be right. There are at least a few users there that aren't spammers.

I am not that against using Spam Vampires though, right now I have Lad Vampire going in a window. I doubt I will run it frequently, but it is fun watching all those spammer images rotate.

I just think this Lycos version will be too powerful and apparently I am not alone, some major internet backbones are blocking the site. Being run from a large company as a screensaver gives it much more power than the usual Spam Vampire and is a much better target to sue.

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