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Home » Hacking News » Spam king surrenders his crown

Spam king surrenders his crown

by Nikola Strahija on July 23rd, 2005 Scott Richter aka Spam King has been dropped from an authorative list of known spammers after cleaning up his act. Richter and his OptInRealBig option were a fixture in Spamhaus's Register of Known Spam Operations (ROKSO) for years.


Only hard-core spammers who become the subject of repeated complaints feature on the list. Presence in the rogues gallery makes it difficult to obtain internet service from ethical suppliers and problematic to register domain names. Only those who restrain themselves from sending bulk unsolicited email for six months are eligible for removal from ROKSO.

Since the beginning of this year, Richter switched to a confirmed opt-in mailing list business model that contrasts with his previous business activities. Richter was sued by New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and brought to the brink of bankruptcy by Microsoft over allegations the he used a network of 500 compromised computers to send millions of junk emails to hapless Hotmail users. Richter denied any such wrongdoing in settling the NY lawsuit last July but he was forced to agree to stop sending deceptive emails and generally abide by the US's CAN SPAM Act.

Richter claims to be a reformed character. That's as maybe but Spamhaus director Steve Linford confirmed that Richter has kept his nose clean over the last six months and thus earned his removal from ROKSO on Tuesday (19 July). -Richter stopped spamming many months ago. We checked with other anti-spam organisations and they confirmed this. We've seen a massive drop in overall spam levels since Richter quit spamming, Linford told. Richter and OptInRealBig were fixtures in the top 10 of ROKSO for years. Linford reckons Richter made millions from spamming over the years but this has been offset by legal costs. -Richter is still in bulk mailing but he has adopted a confirmed opt-in model, he said.

The apparent redemption of one of the net's worst spammers has been precipitated by intense legal pressure as well as the effort of anti-spam activists like Spamhaus. Richter has yet to agree a settlement with Microsoft and OptInRealBig's financial position remains perilous. -I'm confident, hopeful, we can make it through bankruptcy, Richter told Computer Business Review.


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