Brian Haberstroh

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Brian Haberstroh is a businessman in New Hampshire who runs Distributed Mail Corporation, which once distributed software used to forward e-mail for other companies.

Technique[edit]

Distributed Mail Corporation (DMC) prior to 2005, created a software application called "Virtual Mail Delivery Agent" (virtualMDA) to end-users which sends permission-based email to addresses supplied by customers of DMC.

Users who sign up were told they will be paid $5 for installing virtualMDA and $1 for every CPU hour it is allowed to run. However, Haberstroh has stated the program's sending limit is 10,000 messages per day—which modern computers would achieve in much less than one hour—and the terms and conditions state that no money will be paid to a user until at least $50 has been earned. The website instructs users to check with their ISPs to ensure that virtualMDA can be used.

Moreover, the fee is based on true CPU time, this being the time which the CPU actually spends on virtualMDA's processes; this is a fraction of the actual time for which the software is running, as it consumes only a small percentage of system resources.

Haberstroh admits this is a scheme to get emails past spam filters, but insists virtualMDA is legal and in compliance with CAN-SPAM, and that the advertisements sent by DMC's customers are not illicit or unsuitable for children. He claims Fortune 1000 companies have licensed his service, though he has not named any of them apparently due to commercial confidentiality agreements.

Haberstroh also claims that all the recipients signed up to receive mail, yet Steve Linford's antispam service, The Spamhaus Project, claims to have caught many messages from Haberstroh's system in "spam trap" mailboxes with unpublished addresses. Furthermore, when Linford tracked down several users, they claimed to know nothing of the software, indicating that it was installed as malware. Haberstroh denies Linford's accusations and has repeatedly attempted to have Linford's Spamhaus service correct incorrect data listed without success.

Haberstroh denies Linfords accusations.

Legal case[edit]

In an ironic twist of fate, Haberstroh himself has sued one of the recipients of his messages, Jay Stuler of Columbus, Ohio. Stuler complained to Haberstroh's ISP in 2003 after being inundated with spam from Haberstroh's companies, resulting in the companies' ISPs closing down Haberstroh's accounts. Haberstroh in turn sued him for preventing his companies from sending email and thereby causing "financial harm", as well as Stuler's allegedly libeling him as a "criminal".

Stuler has created a website to appeal for donations in order to pay his legal fees in what he referred to as a "frivolous lawsuit designed to harass and intimidate".

The lawsuit known as Atriks, LLC, Distributed Mail Corporation and Brian Haberstroh v. Jay Stuler, Hillsborough County North Superior Court, Docket No. 04-C-718 has been resolved and judgment has been entered for the Plaintiffs on all counts.

virtualMDA defunct?[edit]

virtualMDA.com appears to be "not responding" as of June 2004, according to this article.

External links[edit]