Talk:List of spammers

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UnnotableWorldFigure's consistent removal of well document evidence that Tseng is a spammer is beginning to look very POV. Will need to involve more senior Wikipedia editors than myself. Luitgard (talk) 05:58, 23 April 2010 (UTC)

Should Greg Tseng be listed here?[edit]

Greg Tseng is the former CEO of Jumpstart and the current CEO of Tagged. Jumpstart Technologies had to pay a $900,000 civil penalty for violating the CAN-SPAM Act [1]; Tagged has paid well over $1,000,000 in settlements relating sending millions of deceptive emails [2]. Those facts are beyond dispute and readily verifiable in the sources linked and plenty of others.

The question is whether it is appropriate to label Tseng himself as a spammer. Although this source states that Tagged's activities had Tseng's blessing, I can't find any reliable source that explicitly labels Tseng himself as a spammer. Fines and criticism are directed towards his companies, though he acts as their spokesman. (A wise man once defined "corporation" as "individual wealth without individual responsibility", but I digress.) In contrast, I checked the sources for the first five spammers on this list whose sources are accessible online, and all those sources directly supported the claim that the person themselves is a spammer. Per Wikipedia's policy on writing about living people, potentially controversial claims about living persons must be worded carefully in a manner directly supported by the cited source. As such, I'm not comfortable with labelling Tseng as a spammer.

Having said that, I think that given Tseng's notoriety and influence, and the high profile of the spam he's been associated with (the Jumpstart penalty was the largest payment ever for violating the CAN-SPAM act), it would be preposterous not to mention him here at all. Therefore I have moved Tseng to a new See also section of this list (diff).

Feedback is welcome. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 16:05, 24 April 2010 (UTC)

A well reasoned, nuanced stance and an elegant solution. See my comments back at the Greg Tseng talk page. Regards, Luitgard (talk) 16:43, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
(edit conflict)If listing Greg Tseng in the "see also" section can help move things forward, then I support moving to "see also" - in the short term. In the long term, I wouldn't support it, because if we can't support listing someone in the main section, we shouldn't be listing them at all - implying something like "we won't say he's a spammer, but we think he deserves to be mentioned with spammers" is not good, BLP-wise.
You've set out the current situation pretty well - there are plenty of sources that say Jumpstart spammed, and plenty of sources that say Tagged spammed, but nobody's produced a reliable source that just says "Greg Tseng is a spammer". As a consequence, listing him here might be regarded as original research.
Personally, I don't think that's so - if I regarded it as OR to list him here, I would have been the first one to remove him. However, in the meantime, I do think it needs a source that's willing to connect the dots independently from us. I'll look for one in the near future. Gavia immer (talk) 16:45, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
Gavia, I am going to preemptively discuss the latest revert that you made. The article has a NOTE at the bottom (next to the word NOTE) that says the payment was a settlement and does not constitute an admission of guilt. Therefore they were not fined, they paid money to settle the accusations. UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 03:15, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Ladies and/or Gentlemen, I would point out that to the average reader, the difference between the two versions is not great. IMHO, the aggregate facts in either case make Tseng look bad. Granted, I'll be the first to admit he is so atypical of the average person involved with spam that dealing with him is a quite a challenge. And UWF, do you remember writing along the lines that I was obsessive, or writing to Gavia, something like, "pot called the kettle black"? Why are you exempt from the standards of criticism that you direct toward us? I intend no offense, but it does seem fair to mention what seems like your double standard, yes? If we behave like you, you criticize or report us, but your behavior in the same fashion you always see as justified. To paraphrase Cromwell, in the name of fairness, think it possible that you too can be wrong, not just others. ;) Regards, Luitgard (talk) 16:34, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Something else I would throw in. The total paid out by has risen this month by $650,000 to settle with the San Fransisco D.A.'s office, so the total paid out now is $250k (Texas) + $500k (NY State) + $650k (San Fran.) + at least $20k (Private class action suit) for a total of at least $1,420,000. Other legal actions are likely given the success of those brought so far. I will update the figure to the current total. Regards, Luitgard (talk) 09:49, 25 April 2010 (UTC)
Yet something else to consider, though I don't know if it belongs here. The "corporate veil" in California may be "pierced" in cases where upholding its integrity produces an "inequitable result". As there is already blood in the water due to the success of the potential plaintiffs in 4 settlements, maybe there are more parties, public or private, that could be interested in an "easy payday" from going after Tseng personally? That, in the long term, would settle our conundrum. Public entities like A.G.s and D.A.'s would be the most likely candidates for this, as it would make an example of Tseng that would serve the public interest, but if discovery showed he has deep pockets, private suits could look attractive too. I'll make an effort to research the matter as it would influence the course that it would be best for us to pusue if such actions were in progress. Regards, Luitgard (talk) 10:19, 25 April 2010 (UTC)

I removed the "see also" section[edit]

As of this edit I removed the "see also" section, and I strenuously oppose adding it back again. The issue here is that adding names to a list titled "list of spammers" can only be justified if we are clear that the people in question are spammers. Expanding the "see also" section risks implying that the names on that section are not spammers, but also that they are non-spammers who we have nonetheless listed in our list of spammers - a serious BLP problem. If this had remained as a fragile compromise for Greg Tseng, it would have been bad but I would have found it acceptable as a compromise to end the edit war. Once the section was expanded, it had to go.

As a side note - I have generally avoided the kind of synopses that popped up for Tseng and, now, Sanford Wallace - in my opinion, it is better to link to a well-sourced article and not make potentially contentious statements here. However, if there's consensus to have very short synopses of this kind, my objections are only minimal - so long as the material here is sourced, doesn't go beyond the sources, and doesn't attempt to argue with the article it links to. Please remember, it is allowed to call a spammer a spammer, if we have impeccable sources for it; it is not allowed to violate the BLP policy, even by omissions or bad formatting. Gavia immer (talk) 01:14, 2 May 2010 (UTC)

I just thought it was silly that Luitgard had gone out of his way to demonstrate that a person was CEO of 2 companies that paid out 2 million in settlements, yet there was a name on the list who has PERSONALLY been forced to pay damages in upwards of a billion dollars, not his company, the person (and he had criminal contempt charges entering the equation). It's absolutely ridiculous to dedicate half the page to someone whose company paid 2 million with no admission of guilt, while another person flies under the radar who has personally been hit for a billion in damages. Ridiculous, unless your name is Luitgard. UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 02:51, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I mean for god's sake, 75% of THIS page is dedicated to someone whose company is, at worst, 500 times less significant than someone else on the list in terms of "spam damages". It's just appalling. And sorry Luitgard, I meant to say "her", not "his". UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 02:54, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
There was no reason for UnnotableWorldFigure to move Spamford Wallace from the list to See also – the reason Tseng was separate is described in the above section. Regardless, Gavia immer makes a good arguement against a See also section. We still don't have a source that explicitly labels Tseng himself a spammer, so per WP:BLP I've removed Tseng altogether. I hadn't intended the synopsis on Tseng to become as long as it had, only to briefly explain why he was mentioned on this page at all. No thoughts either way on synopses for everyone. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 15:57, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
I kindof like the synopses as they force people to keep things in perspective. For example, Gary Thuerk seems fairly innocuous next to the other guys -- on the other hand, he seems to embrace the title "father of spam", so he probably wouldn't complain about being listed on this page (but seeing as some of these others appear to be relatively nasty individuals, in particular the child pornographers from the Russian Network, it's probably fair to highlight the differences between cases). UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 14:35, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Hello UWF, I'm going to post the same link I recently left about someone who shares your interests on the Greg Tseng talk page to my own talk page and yours. For whatever it's worth, Wallace has actually paid very little if any of the judgments against him and does not even participate in many of the court cases brought against him, so many if not most or all of the judgement against him are default. As CEO of fair sized companies that have settled at least five times for what the opposing counsel of Federal, state, city and private entities have labelled spamming, Tseng does have to participate in the settlements and approve the payments and those payment were actually made. Best regards, Luitgard (talk) 12:24, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

Peter Francis-Macrae[edit]

Gavia, I read the BBC article, and it seemed like they lazily inserted the word 'spammer' in the title. He was convicted of several crimes, including threatening to spam, but I didn't see where actual spam activity was referenced in the article. I'm going to delete one more time and direct you to this talk, but subsequently I will not edit-war if you feel that strongly about it (I'm not going to waste any more energy than this on Peter Francis-Macrae). UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 16:23, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

From the ZDNet coverage of the same story: "Businesses who complained said that Francis-Macrae bombarded them with emails"([3]). Yes, he was convicted on charges related to making violent threats, but he seems to have made the violent threats as a part of a spamming operation. I'm going to restore this, though I agree we shouldn't say he was convicted of spamming. Gavia immer (talk) 16:36, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
Yeah, i mean -- it just kindof feels to me a little like putting Jeffery Dahmer on the list of people charged with providing alcohol to a minor, or something like that -- where you know that he probably did do it, but really that's not the crime that he's famous for and somehow it doesn't seem right to have his name on that list as opposed to "list of serial killers". UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 05:08, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Adding corporations to the list[edit]

Hello all, is there any reason we shouldn't just add Jumpstart & Tagged to the list of spammers along with the proper refs? Regards, Luitgard (talk) 18:11, 3 May 2010 (UTC)

I'd say be bold about it, and if someone objects they will at least need to explain why. Gavia immer (talk) 18:42, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
De l'audace, encore de l'audace, et toujours de l'audace!  ;) But I'll give it 24 hours for comment, as that is at least what I would hope for from others, even if they rarely grant it, and see what they may say. IMHO, it seems the perfect solution to our corporate conundrum. Refer to the articles on the corporations that will then refer to the officers. I'll create an article on Jumpstart, as it's pretty clear it was a ground breaking entity in the history of corporate spam. Regards, Luitgard (talk) 19:21, 3 May 2010 (UTC)
I think an article on Jumpstart should redirect to Tagged, since it is highly unlikely to have any new information that won't be found in the Tagged article. Am I wrong? UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 04:23, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
For what it is worth, I would have left JDO Media and Hipcrime up on the list -- unfortunately there wasn't enough compelling evidence that they belonged on the list. Hipcrime in particular was a victim (?) of absolutely disgraceful sourcing. UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 04:57, 4 May 2010 (UTC)


I feel that I should elucidate what it is that I'm going for with the re-sorting of the list. It felt silly putting the "father of spam" next to spamford where one guy mailed 600 people and comes up on google image search with a goofy grin holding a bumper sticker that says "I heart SPAM", while the other one has been hit with a billion dollars in legal fees. I figured it would be a little quaint to move the folks from the late 70s/early 80s and 90s up to the top and do a slow build, watching fines and punishments (and in some cases, tragic outcomes) grow bigger and bigger in magnitude, so even if it turns out that the 12 million dollar person came before the 5 million dollar person I'm still probably going to lean a little in the direction of having punishments in ascending order. UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 05:05, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Oops, I lied. The 12 million dollar guy is someone I already had insert into the sorted part of the list, so he's probably staying earlier than some of the ones whose penalties were only 5 or 6 million. However that can probably be attributed to the unusual nature of his spamming (the Nazi aspect), whereas if he had just been trying to line his pockets he might conceivably have been forced to pay millions of dollars less. UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 05:13, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
All right, I am done sorting. A lot of judgment calls at the end that could have gone various ways, but in any event the entries got decidedly less "quaint" near the bottom compared to the stuff that was moved to the top. I have to fall asleep now. UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 05:32, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Seeing them (nearly) finished, I really like the synopses. What was previously an alternative to Category:Spammers has now become an interesting overview of the sordid world of spam.

I'd suggest improving the article's structure by separating ==Individuals== and ==Organizations==. There must be many more organizations that could be added, perhaps including and Badoo if appropriate reliable sources could be found. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 15:19, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

time travel spammer[edit]

I added a listing for a Robby Todino (google it, easily 5 minutes well-spent) but it was deleted due to his not having an article. He admitted to sending 100 million emails which seems to qualify him for the list, although I'm not sure that it makes him notable in the grand scheme of Wikipedia. He is also the first person pursued by the state of Massachusetts for spam (and subsequently fined). Apparently his article once did exist but it was deleted, and I'm not inclined to fight for its reinstatement. Is there no way to keep his story on the list without warranting his own article (it really is too good to omit)? UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 15:49, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Basically, due to BLP considerations, anyone listed here needs to be someone we can justify having an article for, which means they need to actually have that article. If you write a (policy-compliant) article on Robby Todino, I have no problem listing him here - without an existing article, he shouldn't be here. Gavia immer (talk) 16:03, 4 May 2010 (UTC)
WP:PERP and WP:NLIST seem relevant here. Adrian J. Hunter(talkcontribs) 04:43, 5 May 2010 (UTC)
I don't know if you guys read the google hits for Robby / time travel spammer (if you didn't I strongly suggest it for entertainment purposes), but wording of item 3 in WP:PERP seems like it might be consistent with his case? I dunno, up to you. Another thing I found that suggests maybe adding him to the list of spammers but not generating his own article is WP:BLP1E. Like I said, I'm not going to push this but I think it is a great entry to consider. UnnotableWorldFigure (talk) 22:16, 5 May 2010 (UTC)