Last Month's Flamethrower Gets Baked
The article in Internet Underground's July issue was a tremendous step back in the fight to keep the Internet readable. For those who missed it, the article discusses the Internet 'Red Pages,' the short-lived brainchild of occasional spam collaborator and full-time telephone and Internet service provider Larry Host. "The Red Pages," explained the article, was a list similar to the Direct Mail Association's "do not mail to" list, where Internet users could post their names if they didn't want to be on the receiving end of what's becoming the junk mail and intrusive telephone solicitation of the 21st century.
Unfortunately, at this point the author's train of thought jumped its tracks and headed off on an intercept course with pure fantasy. It was somehow implied that spam opponents were against this list, based on the reactions of a few people. The article painted those who would like to avoid getting bombarded with low-budget advertising as "crazed," "unreasonable," "preach[ing]," "self-important," "radicals" and "ninnies" and turned a serious issue for administrators and netizens everywhere into a childish name-calling session.
Of course, it is not surprising that Host's Red Pages met with the criticism that it did. The announcement came at the end of an unwelcome advertisement, and Jeff Slaton's "help" came with a $5 "computer search" in order to get your request honored (Slaton, being the self-proclaimed "SpAm KiNg"). Spam recipients were justifiably angry at anyone involved with the scam, and I for one was suspicious of an offer to add my name and address to a list put together by someone who spams for a living. And despite his promise, Slaton spammed addresses on the Red Pages anyway. A good idea, done-in traitorously by the very entity it was trying to save.
When Host approached Slaton with the Red Pages as a possible compromise between spammers and spamees, Slaton played him for a fool; turning it into yet another opportunity to attract undeserving attention to himself, enrage and annoy network administrators and revel in the ire of others. Portraying Slaton as someone with any degree of "respect" for the wishes of others is absurd. His most recent and common response to such requests has been (direct quote) "bend over and take it in the ASS like a man! I would suggest petroleum jelly as the proper lubricant! and a trademark 'Swueeeeeee!' hog call" (I wish I were making this up).
Slaton sells his software and services to an almost exclusively naive public. I cannot count the number of timesmI have seen users lamenting that "if only [they] had known," they would never have done it. During his brief stint as the "SpAm KiNg," I was only aware of one customer who did not label him as some species of criminal or scam artist, and I know of no instances of any repeat business. His only positive support has come in the blatant forgeries of testimonials from fictitious "minority businessmen" with short-lived accounts who respond to critical e-mail with suspiciously familiar hog calls.
At the age of 40, with waning promise and hairline, Slaton took on his mid-life crisis with all the grace of a wounded bull elephant. Supplementing an insecurity in his waning youth with waxing childishness and immaturity, he has made a reputation, and what could only laughably be referred to as a "career," out of the harassment and annoyance of Internet users everywhere. He lies to friends, enemies, business associates, customers and administrators alike to make a quick buck, and stays in business only through the smooth-talking skills he acquired at a former job as a car salesman.
Charlatans once toured the country selling tapeworm eggs as "diet pills," and medications containing radium or opium as a universal panacea. Slaton's modern-day scam is only slightly better. Unlike the work of his predecessors, his deception won't actually kill you, but you don't have to buy his bitter pills to feel sick for a long while.
Soren Ragsdale is the keeper of the complete Netizen's Guide to Spam, Abuse, and Internet Advertising at http://com.primenet.com/spamking.