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19 Nov 2008
A few months ago we had a most interesting colloquy when I posted with some amusement a piece of spam that Postini had sent me, suggesting that a company that claims to be in the spam filtering business should consider using its own product, and a former Postini employee expressed bafflement and outrage that anyone should expect Postini to bear any responsibility for mail sent through their servers. Well, they're back!
Here's an odd spam sent through Postini by The Economist, in Spanish, promoting a conference in Chile. (You can see the raw message here, send from Postini's obsmtp.com. The links are all real, this isn't a phish.)
I happen to subscribe to the Economist, but the e-mail address they have for me is unrelated to the one they spammed, and since my subscription is in English, delivered in England, it's vanishingly unlikely that I would be interested in a conference in South America, in Spanish. The address they hit is one that's been scraped off the net and usenet for 15 years, and apppears in vast numbers of sleazy lists offered for sale.
I'd hoped that when Google absorbed Postini they'd clean up the latter's act, but so far, it seems not.
Update: I wrote to the return address in the spam to ask them to take me off their spam list, and to my surprise a real person replied. So I asked him where he bought the list with my name, and he said it wasn't bought, it was "researched", which actually means scraped off the web. I pointed out the scraping penalties in CAN SPAM and the no-scrape notice on my old web site. Haven't heard back. Do Google and Postini approve of their customers mailing to scraped lists? Egad.
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