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

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January 25, 2006

Spam history goes 404

encyclopedia.jpgIn recent weeks, spammers have been accused of trying to erase the past. But it seems that anti-spammers sometimes have an interest in obliterating the historical record as well.

Late in 2005, ancient spam king Jerry Reynolds sued anti-spammers Ed Falk and David Ritz to try to get Internet postings about his spam and porn operation removed. We also had the case of the anti-spam software company using search-engine tricks to hide complaints about its spamming. And most recently, there was the pill spammer suing to get Usenet postings about him taken down.

But some anti-spammers have (preemptively?) taken to scrubbing their sites clean of spam-fighting records.

Most notably, Chickenboner.com, the homepage of Spam Kings protagonist Shiksaa, has been sanitized of much of its interesting content. Gone are the Bulk Barn Diaries, which chronicled instant-message conversations with spam kings like Scott Richter, Bill Waggoner, and Dr. Fatburn. You'll also get a 404 message if you try to access the site's former directory of spam fighting resources, or the humourous collection of doctored photos of spammers.

And don't go looking in Archive.org for copies of the missing files. There's a rather prohibitive robots.txt file at chickenboner.com, preventing all indexing by the likes of Google and Archive.org. (At least Spamcentration still seems to be working. And there's an old cache of information about Eddy Marin.)

The web site of another anti-spammer profiled in Spam Kings has also been gutted. Karen Hoffman's Diary of a Spam Victim, where she stored information about spammer Tom Cowles, is gone, including from archive.org's database.

Note to self: Ask Ed Falk for a copy of his 1,300-page Encyclopedia of Spam before something happens to it.

Posted by brian at January 25, 2006 4:01 PM


My lawyers are shy about talking about the Reynolds lawsuite in public until the jurisdiction is settled, but I promise to have some updates by then, if not earlier. ---

There's talk of setting up a defense fund, but nothing solid yet. I'm thinking of giving away a copy of the encyclopedia to everybody who donates $500 or more to the fund, but it's not settled yet. The book is just a printout of the contents of my http://www.rahul.net/falk web page, if all you want to do is read it.

Posted by: Ed Falk at January 25, 2006 5:39 PM

Ed, thanks for the update about the lawsuit(e). I was only half serious about getting a copy of the encyclopedia. I hope those files will be online somewhere for a long time.

Posted by: Brian at January 25, 2006 10:42 PM


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