Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Friday, February 7, 2003

Confessions of a Spam King Revisited

Guest Article
by Wade Andrews
Silicon Hills Media Group

"Due to responses for more from the Spam King, I conducted another interview for this Christmas edition. It also seems to be a favorite time for the Spam king to work. You'll see what I mean during the interview."

Wade Thanks for taking the time to talk with us again. You mentioned this was a very busy time for you. What's up?

SK I've had harvesters running 24 X 7! Holidays are a great time to collect email addresses, tickle people with impulse buy items and traffic on the Internet is flowing!

Wade You mentioned harvesters the last time we talked. Will you tell us more about them and more importantly, how to avoid them?

SK harvesting programs are software packages that seek out email addresses on the Internet. They search through websites, newsgroups, FTP sites, etc. looking for email addresses which are stored, cleansed, and loaded into list managers which shoot out the Spam. Some of these programs have an AI (Artificial intelligence) that makes up email addresses for popular portals like AOL, MSN, Yahoo and others. I also acquire addresses from list brokers for special marketing campaigns.

Wade That sounds like a lot of traffic coming out of your computer. Why doesn't your ISP block you?

SK Because they don't know it's email. To them its just traffic going out of my system like any other. These programs are their own mail servers and don't route through the ISP's DNS servers. Looks like I'm playing an online game or listening to an online music stream.

Wade Sounds like some rather sophisticated software....

SK It is. Expensive too!

Wade OK, we know something about how you do it, how do we stop you from getting our email addresses?

SK Alright, as a Christmas gift I'll tell you how to stay out of a list brokers database. It's harder than it may seem.
You have to READ every web page, email and form that wants your email address. Simple in concept, hard to do. Every time you give out your email address on the internet there is a good chance your address will be "shared" with partners, distributors and in some cases, flat out sold to list brokers.
Legitimate online businesses do this every day. Here's another example of how spammers get email addresses. This list is already available on the Internet. Tower records just discovered that because of some bad code on their website all of their customers records were available to any one with a web browser. Spammers are looking for this kind of crack to exploit all the time. The information listed included email addresses, names, street addresses, everything except credit card numbers. This is a gold mine for a spammer. A virgin List!

Wade Wow, I read about that... Seems that happens fairly often

SK Yes it does. Hackers love to get lists. Email addresses, credit card numbers, information... And a lot of them sell those lists to list brokers. Of course, a lot of these lists are laid out there by the company waiting to get picked because of bad coding or some kind of programming mistake.

Wade You make it sound like there is no way to really protect my email address from spammers.

SK There really isn't a 100% foolproof way to prevent Spam. There are ways to reduce it and there are ways to control it but you can't prevent it. The only sure-fire way to prevent Spam? Don't get on the Internet.

Wade SK, How much email are you sending out during the Holidays?

SK That's kind of' need-to-know but I'll tell you it's around 2.5 million emails a day. Give or take a hundred thousand or so. Depends on how many responses I get to the first blast. That first blast feeds auto responders that send more email.



Wade Auto responder?

SK You don't think I sit there all day writing emails, do you? I have chains of auto responders that do the work for me.

Wade I can see there is a lot to learn about spamming.
Thanks for taking the time to fill us in on what your doing.

SK You're welcome! I'm making my list and checking it twice got to find out who gets Spam to entice!

Wade Andrews is a writer for the Austin Business Times and host of The Talk of Silicon Hills on Talk Radio 1370 AM in Austin, Texas. He can be reached at or at

If you have any questions for the Spam King a temporary email address has been set up at

Readers' Comments    
2005-02-25 09:31:44


To survive in this hart competition you must deliver something special. And that is what you definitely do.
So go on like this, it's really great.

2004-08-23 13:12:04


very nice and informal comments

posted by Robin Good on Friday, February 7 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




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