A Weblog About Topics and Issues Discussed in the Book Spam Kings by Brian McWilliams

« The mixed message from spam lawsuits | Main | Blue Frog and the blurry hash »

August 13, 2005

"Reformed" Richter still blacklisted

richter-johnston-sm.jpgBy now, everyone knows that former spam king Scott Richter is reformed and no longer sends junk email to people who don't want it. But apparently the news hasn't yet made it to Irkutsk, the tongue-in-cheek home of the mysterious Spews.org blacklist.

Huge swaths of Internet protocol (IP) addresses owned and operated by Richter and his company OptInRealBig.com (listed here and here) remain on the Spews blacklist, even after Richter has settled his lawsuit from Microsoft and been removed from the Spamhaus roster of the world's biggest spammers.

As a result, any Internet service provider or email administrator who subscribes to the free Spews list will automatically reject any emails sent from the blacklisted IP addresses.

Among the Richter's IP addresses on the Spews blacklist is, which is used by Richter's two primary corporate sites, Optinbig.com and Optinrealbig.com.

Another IP address on the block list is , which is the home of EasyCream.com, a "cellulite removal cream." Richter's Netfuncards.com site, at IP address, is also on the Spews blacklist.

Also blacklisted is IP address, home of Richter's cpaempire.com -- an email marketing affiliate program.

So who's right ... the anonymous operators of Spews, which was first launched in 2001, or Spamhaus?

Spamhaus said it removed Richter after his company's spams failed to land in Spamhaus' network of honeypot email addresses for several months.

But a review of OptinBig's privacy policy may persuade some people that Richter's company is far from squeaky clean.

When you sign up to use a "free" OptinBig service like Netfuncards.com, you are also agreeing to allow Optin to add your address to any of its many mailing lists. According to the policy, you'll also be subject to web beacons (aka web bugs) and tracking cookies. What's more, you agree to have your personal data sold or transferred to Richter's partners.

Now, it's easy to unsubscribe from OptIn mailings at the address unsubscribe@optinbig.com, but that doesn't get you off Optin's partners' lists. Once it has sold or traded away your personal information, Optin provides no assistance in protecting the privacy of that information.

The listing at Spews has to rankle Richter. As detailed in chapter 7 of Spam Kings, Richter was furious when initially added to Spews in December 2001. At one point, Richter seemed to make it his mission to try to unmask the operators of Spews. Some believe he was involved in a failed 2003 lawsuit against a number of anti-spammers -- litigation that apparently was designed to force the spam fighters into revealing who was behind Spews.

Some also have claimed that Richter was also involved in publishing photos of the condominium owned by Susan Gunn, a spamfighter who went by the nickname Shiksaa (who's also the heroine of Spam Kings), along with other personal information about her. The goal, they say, was to intimidate her into divulging information about Spews.

Hang on, it's not just Spews that's still blacklisting Richter. The venerable MAPS blacklist also has several blocks of Richter IPs blacklisted, which are detailed here.

Posted by brian at August 13, 2005 12:04 AM



Last time I looked, SPEWS also had the ASF mailservers listed, too. The ASF is the home of Apache SpamAssassin. ;)

Posted by: Justin Mason at August 13, 2005 4:36 PM

Spamhaus may want to reward that ugly ex-spammer for quitting the spamming business (after being sued by several), but why should anyone else have to? SPEWS and MAPS are just doing what any normal mail administrator would do; protect their network first and not worry about the emailing ability of a dastardly fiend, excuse me, ex-dastardly fiend,.

The previous comment stated Apache SpamAssassin was blacklisted?
http://spews.org/ask.cgi?x= -Nope.
http://spews.org/ask.cgi?x= -Nope.

But on that second one [], one may wish to ask why the ASF & SpamAssassin would be helping fund MCI, the cesspool of internet networks?
For shame.

Posted by: DebBoo at August 14, 2005 5:31 AM


Weblog authors are solely responsible for the content and accuracy of their weblogs, including opinions they express,
and O’Reilly Media, Inc., disclaims any and all liability for that content, its accuracy, and opinions it may contain.

All trademarks and registered trademarks appearing on spamkings.oreilly.com are the property of their respective owners.

O'Reilly Home | Privacy Policy

© 2004 O'Reilly Media, Inc.
For assistance with this site, email: