Spam As Revenge?

Is spam being used as a business weapon to damage a competitor’s reputation? Florida-based North American Liability Group, an insurance company, said yesterday it had “become aware that an unauthorized spam email was sent out about the Company by an unknown third party”. A press release issued by the company said it “has discovered that someone who identified himself or itself as “RB” sent a spam email which contained information which did not come from the Company, was never approved by the Company and in fact, contained inaccurate information about the Company.” It seems the company has no idea who RB is (and the company doesn’t say what the spam contained: Either way, given public impatience with spam, it’s not likely to enhance the company’s image.)

What benefit could RB possibly derive from such spam, unless it was to discredit the honest folks at North American? A disgruntled employee? A rival? Certainly spam is a potent way to damage reputations: I recall a year or so back trying to find out who sent out spam in the name of TemplateStyles.com. The company itself denied all knowledge, but some angry respondents were suspicious, pointing to the lack of proper information about the company on its website. A year on it seems the site is now up for sale, so either the doubters were right or the spam killed off the company’s chances. Either way it brought home how easy it would be to dent a reputation by sending out spam in someone’s name.

Then there’s the Spam Slur: A few days back I started receiving an email alleging that some German individual “is a knave” who apparently does not deliver goods he has contracted to deliver. (I’m afraid I foolishly deleted several copies of the email, which was clearly sent out in spam-like quantities.) No one can trace the source of the slur, but the target is bound to have felt some pain at being labeled a knave. I haven’t been called that since school.

24. December 2003 by jeremy
Categories: Spam | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 comments

Comments (16)

  1. Cyberpunk-Veteral Bruce Sterling has picked up this idea in his 1998 book
    “Distraction” which takes place around
    2040. IT involves a so-called “spambot”
    that automatically samples a top-10 enemy list for a particular political candidate, and tries to to kill that enemies by sending spam to known violent or insane potential killers.
    Good book, by the way.

  2. I like this

  3. I like this

  4. yeah

  5. I’m a hacker & I should be spammed as are most of the people @ the url.

  6. pls spam me as much as possible!

  7. PLease spam me.

  8. Interesting

  9. You’ve not been called a “knave” since school?

    I’ve never been called a “knave”, though I’ve been called a “scoundrel” and other less printable things.

    Nowadays, people refer to me as a “geezer”
    which is a step up I suppose……

  10. You’ve not been called a “knave” since school?

    I’ve never been called a “knave”, though I’ve been called a “scoundrel” and other less printable things.

    Nowadays, people refer to me as a “geezer”
    which is a step up I suppose……

  11. My spam filter is the best out. spam me if you can.
    andy.gibson@overclockers.co.uk

  12. me too

    mmhowson@yahoo.com

  13. same for me!

  14. You can try to spam me! Goodluck with that!!