The genesis of this book was an unusual onslaught of junk email in May 2003. Over the course of two weeks, I received over one hundred spams for pills and other products that I traced to a company in nearby Manchester, New Hampshire. I discovered spammers practically in my backyard and decided to tell the world about it.
I am grateful to my editors at Salon.com, especially Andrew Leonard, as well as my editors at Wired News, including David Ian Miller, for encouraging me that summer to write about the company, Amazing Internet Products LLC, and its fascinating founders. Thanks also to Mark Beavis and Jon Greenberg of New Hampshire Public Radio for working with me to advance the story further for radio.
I am indebted to my agent, Martha Jewett, for recognizing that a book about some of the major figures behind the spam problem was long overdue. Martha’s help in conceiving Spam Kings was immensely important to me.
My editor at O’Reilly, Allen Noren, guided this project with just the right mix of hard-boiled skepticism and patient handholding. Nothing motivates an author like knowing your editor is a better writer. Special thanks to Allen and to the rest of the team at O’Reilly for their dedication to this project.
I appreciate the help of John Levine, who provided a crucial technical review of the manuscript.
My initial research was greatly assisted by Piers Forrest and Gordon Shumway. Reporting on Davis Hawke’s neo-Nazi years by Erik Hedegaard and Gary Henderson was a big inspiration. I am also grateful to the scores of people who provided important background but were not mentioned in the book, including Bill Cole, “Relic,” Jeanne Kempthorne, Anne Mitchell, Dan Clements, Jeffrey Eilender, Brendan Battles, Stan McDonald, Bill Nelson, Tanya Bibeau, Ted Bernard, Andrew Broome, Blair Russell, and the numerous sources who’ve asked to remain anonymous.
I couldn’t have written Spam Kings without the thousands of people who have sent their spam samples to the news.admin.net-abuse.sightings newsgroup. The Archive.org web site and Google Groups search engine were also essential to my research.
Finally, thanks to my family, especially my wife Diane, for accompanying me on this journey and for your feedback along the way.