back to article Fed-up bloke takes email spammers to court – and wins piles of cash

It's 9am. You open your email client and wade through the usual pile of spam that's dropped in overnight. It's boring and tiresome. But what if you could earn yourself a few hundred quid and kill the spam off as well? In a landmark court hearing last week, Sky News producer Roddy Mansfield won unspecified damages from retail …

COMMENTS

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  1. Clive 3
    WTF?

    Is he going to take his employers to court next

    I had one of those 'surveys' from India a while ago. I asked who was sponsoring the survey and Sky was one of the companies he mentioned.

  2. The Mole

    Next case

    Looks like his next case should be a libel case against the DMA then? If the judge had thrown the case out they probably could get away with claiming that, but given a judge has already rules his case has merit I think they'd struggle to justify calling him a troll.

  3. Conrad Longmore

    Self regulation

    The DMA in effect acts as a self-regulator on many of these issues, and they also run the TPS (which is widely abused). Of course, putting marketers in charge of regulating themselves is a bit like putting a paedophile in charge of a school.

    1. h3

      Re: Self regulation

      Or Jimmy Saville in charge of Broadmoor ?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Self regulation

      It's not "a bit" like putting a paedophile in charge of a school.

      It's _exactly_ like putting a paedophile in charge of a school. Can't help themselves...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sky News producer

    + unspecified damages

    And the chance to win "unspecified damages" to Mr Nobody from Nowherebottom are?

  5. bigtimehustler

    I like that they still state that they do not agree with the decision. Well, thats nice, but that's the law and they were breaking it. They can take the choice to not like the decision, they can't take the choice not to agree with it, especially when it is written so plainly and they are not appealing it. Isn't not agreeing with the decision actually contempt of court? You can express a dislike for a judges opinion, not sure you can flat out say you don't agree or accept it.

    1. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge
      Big Brother

      "Isn't not agreeing with the decision actually contempt of court?"

      IANAL, but I believe that would be not complying with the decision. I may be wrong, but I don't think courts have the authority to tell me how to think.

      Yet.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        "but I don't think courts have the authority to tell me how to think."

        No, that's the Government's and the Daily Mail's Job....

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Isn't not agreeing with the decision actually contempt of court?

      LOL, no, you are fully entitled to expressing an opinion. What you are not allowed to do is act as if it hasn't happened and repeat the offence because that gets very, very dicey indeed.

      Personally I would like to do this too (plenty of candidates), but I don't have the time :(.

    3. JimC Silver badge

      as spam offences go

      I.think this one scores about 0.5 on a scale from one to ten. Still, one shouldn't deny a bloke his hobby and the standing up in court bit is kinda fun.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm

    I'd like to label "Dela Quist, who appears to be the CEO of a "digital marketing agency with a 100% focus on email" as a bit of a cunt.

    Hope that's OK, Dela.

    1. Triggerfish

      Re: Hmmm

      Well according to glassdoor a couple of his employees think he is.

    2. Dela Quist
      Alert

      Re: Hmmm

      Of course it is ok - I take that is a compliment, because it means at the very least you consider me your equal. #It_takes_one_to_know_one

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its spam but ...

    ... 99% of my spam is not from legit companies like John Lewis so there isn't much you can do.

    1. Gav
      Unhappy

      Easy Target

      Yes. This seems to be an exercise in punishing a mostly responsible and legit company, while doing nothing to discourage the more flagrant abuse from criminals, conmen, counterfeiters and general scum that are the real problem. I suppose John Lewis was an easy target.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Easy Target

        Yes and no. Yes for JL being an easy target (but that should have made it even less likely they screwed up, but they did), no for not doing the exercise. This builds reference that will ensure that even the dissenting DMA will get more careful.

        Amusingly, this quick-to-comment CEO seems to have forgotten that one of the problems with commenting on a case like this is that you thus acknowledge you have seen it - which removes any excuse of the organisation for not advising its members to avoid making a similar mistake. So thank you, Mrs CEO, thank you very much. It means DMA members are now deemed to break the rules deliberately if they spam, which will make the next convictions so much more rewarding as that comment can be used in evidence.. Oops (wide, evil grin)..

      2. Tom 13

        Re: Easy Target

        The law is clearly written and easy to follow (amazingly so, am I still on planet Earth?). The advice in the supplied brochure even more so (DO NOT pre-check the opt in box). This is easy compliance. John Lewis didn't do so.

        Were they an easy target? Yes, but only because they chose to be one.

    2. Phil Endecott Silver badge

      Re: Its spam but ...

      > 99% of my spam is not from legit companies like John Lewis

      That used to be the case for me, but it has changed over the last few years. Now, after filtering, the spam that gets to my inbox is primarily from "legitimate" companies that I have done business with in the (distant) past and who have at some point "forgotten" that I didn't want to be spammed. I'm unlikely to sue them, but there is no chance that they will ever get any business from me in the future.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Its spam but ...

        That used to be the case for me, but it has changed over the last few years. Now, after filtering, the spam that gets to my inbox is primarily from "legitimate" companies that I have done business with in the (distant) past and who have at some point "forgotten" that I didn't want to be spammed. I'm unlikely to sue them, but there is no chance that they will ever get any business from me in the future.

        I am inclined to give "legitimate" companies a chance to change their ways, which typically takes the shape of me mining a decent contact address and forwarding the offending email plus a template that declares that I have a policy of explicitly opting out, so I ask for evidence of where I agreed. This tends to work in about 90% of cases.

        Weirdly, the most aggressive actor against marketing abuse was Oracle. When I started to receive junk from them, I tried opting out (mainly for a laugh, and then repeated it the next month for good measure). I then forwarded it into their legal department with the question why their unsubscribe didn't work, and they actually went to town on it, keeping me informed along the way. In the end it turned out that a mass emailer wasn't updating their target list as they contractually should. Now, I am professionally not an Oracle client (and not exactly a fan of their CEO), but that seriously impressed me.

        Oh, and as for the residual - yup, once we have analysed it was indeed wilful spam they get blacklisted as suppliers.

    3. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Its spam but ...

      Generally legit companies have unsubscribe links that work, a few clicks you get a lot less spam. Just make sure it is a legit company, otherwise you just told a spamer that they have a live email address.

  8. Warm Braw Silver badge

    ICO and ASA seem to be backing off in this area...

    I notice that both the ICO and the ASA now ask you to try to contact the spammer before they'll act on any complaint and will then only do so if you continue to be spammed after contact has been made.

    In practice this means that unless you're prepared to go to court, the default position as far as the toothless regulators is concerned appears to be that opt-in without consent is perfectly fine with them as long as an opt-out is later available.

    1. JimmyPage Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: ICO and ASA seem to be backing off in this area...

      so the ICO and ASA want you to validate your email address to spammers.

      I really do think IQ levels are falling worldwide.

      1. Gerard Krupa

        Re: ICO and ASA seem to be backing off in this area...

        Not validating my addresses with spammers has never seemed to do anything to stem the tide. I've often heard suggestions that confirming a working address makes it a more valuable commodity but I'm skeptical about the whole thing since I suspect blanketing every address available is more cost effective than being picky.

  9. BristolBachelor Gold badge

    voluntarily ???

    "Mr Mansfield voluntarily gave us his email address..."

    Bollocks. You forced him to do it, just so he could find out if he could have a home delivery. In addition, you probably forced him to do it, just so that you could harvest his email address to illegally spam him.

    It is a shame that the judge award "unspecified damages". I'd suggest 1 week chained to railings in public, with a rule that "anything goes". "unspecified damages" probably isn't a sufficient deterrant, whereas boiling tar over the testicles might be.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: voluntarily ???

      A quick question re this instance - was there a means (through the emails he was sent) to stop receiving the spam?

      If there wasn't JL should be given a second slapping, if there was then then did Mr Mansfield take action after the first, the second, or third spam email, or just once he'd worked up sufficient indignation to generate a news story for his employer?

      (edit)

      Strike "employer" - make that for his "own programmes", (as I see he's a producer for Sky news)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: voluntarily ???

        Sometimes the "means to stop receiving spam" links use a third party domain (often backed by an Oracle (arseholes) subsidiary) that has no relevance to the sending domain.

        eg somecompany.com sends marketing email to "customers", with opt out links going to (generally) en24.com.

        The only way to know it's not a phishing attack is by knowing en24.com is oracle tracking domain.

        (so a low grade phishing attack after all :/)

    2. NogginTheNog
      Megaphone

      Re: voluntarily ???

      That reminds me of the Virgin Media trick of requiring your postcode to check whether you can get their cable server, after which you'll be forever spammed with junk mail offering their overpriced bundled crap. They even put them in plain (sometimes official looking brown) paper envelopes so you're more likely to be fooled in to opening them.

      When I tried to report them to the ICO I was told they couldn't help because it's all addressed to "The Householder" and not anyone specific. Frickin' useless!

      1. graeme leggett

        Re: voluntarily ???

        I get a lot of named , and unnamed for Virgin Media. Since contacting the appropriate department to stop it involves a) reading some very small print, and b) telephoning someone and probably pay for that luxury - its easier to drop it in the bin and recycle. (though as I hear the council don't like envelopes in the recycle, perhaps I should save them all up together and post them back to VM en masse)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: voluntarily ???

          Always save up your paper junk mail and post it back. Use the supplied FREEPOST envelope. Then stuff it with other junk mail from your letterbox. Pizza Menus, estate agent adverts, the lot. Then tape the lot to a couple of out of date copies of Yellow Pages. Or just a brick or two. And drop off at the Post Office.

          Ideally make that parcel up so it steps up a few levels in the postal costs.

          Send them as much junk as they send you and they do eventually stop. I know this works with Barclaycard and Sky as they seem to have stopped posting their junk to me now.

          1. h3

            Re: voluntarily ???

            I use a variant of that but stones or soil (And I basically never get any junk mail any more).

          2. Nuno trancoso

            Re: voluntarily ???

            Friend of mine used to send bits and pieces of leftover sheet metal, iron or lead, wrapped in "promotional" junkmail. Once was usually enough.

            1. Nuke
              WTF?

              Nuno trancosoRe: voluntarily ???

              Wrote :- "Friend of mine used to send bits and pieces of leftover sheet metal, iron or lead".

              Lead? That is a valuable metal these days. They will be cashing it in at the scrap metal dealers. What's wrong with roofing slate?

          3. Nuke
            Unhappy

            Re: voluntarily ???

            a/c wrote :- "Always save up your paper junk mail and post it back. Use the supplied FREEPOST envelope. Then stuff it with other junk mail from your letterbox. Pizza Menus, estate agent adverts, the lot."

            That only works if they do enclose a Freepost envelope or give a Freepost address, but only about 25% of my junk mail does. Sure, they get the other 75% back enclosed with their own. The other stuff generally wants you to respond through their website or to a phone number.

        2. asiaseen

          Re: voluntarily ???

          Not en masse - one by one without a stamp

        3. DiViDeD Silver badge

          Re: voluntarily ???

          As a former member of the Mark Thomas mailing list, I can confirm that, for junk snail mail, using the enclosed prepaid envelope to send them a breeze block can be very effective, especially when the bloke in the Post Office says 'Bloody serve em right, I'm going to do that myself in future!'

          Another trick I used to employ in my misspent youth was to send all the Readers Digest bumf ro NatGeo in their reply envelope and vice versa.

          Chucking it in the bin costs em nothing. Returned reply paid envelopes they have to pay for.

      2. Tony Green

        Re: voluntarily ???

        I'll tell you how to stop that.

        Get the company CEO's email address from http://www.ceoemail.com/

        Email him explaining that you consider the constant bombardment of letters as harassment under the terms of the harassment act and if they don't cease immediately, you will issue proceedings against him personally as the person in charge of the company harassing you.

        I did, and he crapped himself and stopped the junk mail very quickly.

      3. John Tserkezis

        Re: voluntarily ???

        "They even put them in plain (sometimes official looking brown) paper envelopes so you're more likely to be fooled in to opening them."

        I had a few stern words to our Australian Tax Office who LOVES those plain brown envelopes with "URGENT" marked on the front (along with no "from" address either).

        I said, that was nice, but it appears every junk mailer on the planet had the same idea. So, if they didn't want me to "accidently" throw out their unmarked mail, to change that.

        They explained that statistically, more people would handle the mail unmarked, rather than throw it away knowing it was from the ATO.

        So that's why junk mail works. We're surrounded by idiots.

    3. Rol Silver badge

      Re: voluntarily ???

      Yep, Not ten minutes ago I was knee deep in moneysupermarket's compare electricity providers, which wanted my full address and email before they would show me the results of the comparison.

      I'd rather keep whipping the mice on the wheel to go faster than open myself up to a torrent of unwanted mail.

    4. Tom 13

      Re: voluntarily ???

      Not anything goes. Rotten tomatoes, rotten eggs, spoiled tomato juice, that sort of thing. Except instead of 1 week, I'd make it 1 week per unsolicited email sent.

      Not sure yet whether "email sent" would be for the case, or in total from their marketing campaign.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pot calling kettle

    I cancelled my contract with Sky and had a leaflet a month from Sky asking me to go back to them. My choice of not recieving direct marketing from them was clearly selected. No phone number available to call, no address and no email address to contact them on. I eventually tracked down an email address through a forum and sent several emails to them. Posting messages on their public forums had no effect either.

    They are without doubt the worst company I have ever dealt with for sending junk to ex customers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pot calling kettle

      Find their new business contact email, then set up a rule in your inbox forwarding all email to that address and then deleting your copy (and if your client allows it, an explanatory note accompanying it).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pot calling kettle

        And thanks to fax to email and back again, we redirected all our spam faxes back to the agency providing the service. 2 weeks later, no more spam faxes.

      2. John Tserkezis

        Re: Pot calling kettle

        "then set up a rule in your inbox forwarding all email to that address"

        Note, that the vast majority of email from those addresses quote "do not reply". That is, you can send stuff to that address, but no-one will see it, count it, or even store it for longer than a piece of software needs to determine it isn't valid and then delete it.

        If it's an official quoted email address, you can be sure it's properly vetted for spam, out of context content, and a vast array of other filters before it even gets to a human. And even THEN there's no bet they'll respond. (though some companies are better than others).

    2. Down not across

      Re: Pot calling kettle

      They are without doubt the worst company I have ever dealt with for sending junk to ex customers.

      Not to mention calling you trying to get you to re-subscribe. Repeatedly. At all hours.

      Still not convinced they're the worst. I think first place goes to VM with existing customers. Seriously they waste so much money on direct (and in the indirect "To household...") marketing at existing customers that it must hit their bottom line.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pot calling kettle

      > I cancelled my contract with Sky and [blah]

      How does the fact that one of the parties was/is employed by this company you mention have any bearing whatsoever on the story? Is he the Director of Unsolicited Marketing Mass Emailing and Other Annoying Stuff over there or what?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Pot calling kettle

      I eventually tracked down an email address through a forum and sent several emails to them. Posting messages on their public forums had no effect either.

      As long as they don't get anything that you can prove they will ignore you. However, I once sent them an address update, and it all stopped. What I forgot to tell them was that it wasn't my address, but the ICO's. Oops :)

  11. John 104

    ...

    “Data Directive litigation troll”.

    Better a data directive litigation troll than a marketing troll. The worst of the worst. And yes, he should sue them for liable.

  12. ukgnome Silver badge
    Joke

    Data Directive litigation troll

    Is that like a film noir troll?

  13. Frankee Llonnygog

    So the ICO's guidance contradicts the law

    But the judge went with the guidance, not the law. Reversal on appeal, assuming the next judge understands the law

  14. Mage Silver badge

    Others breaking the law

    Adverts.ie

    Bewleys

    Digitalspy.co.uk

    Oracle (UK Office)

    Tesco

    TVTrade.ie

    Well known Asian Companies that spam if you buy:

    Dynamic Trading Co

    NewFrog

    Random USA or Asian or Russian spammers are one thing. Reputable UK / Ireland and other EU companies have no excuse for this.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Others breaking the law

      Actually, EVERY "free" WiFi provider in London with a few exceptions like Starbucks too - with BT you actually don't get service until you agree they can abuse your details for spam, sorry, "marketing" which is MHO entirely in breach of the coercion part of Data Protection.

      Come to think of it, I think I made screenshots. Time to get busy, methinks. Where is that template again?

      1. John Tserkezis

        Re: Others breaking the law

        "Actually, EVERY "free" WiFi provider in London with a few exceptions like Starbucks too - with BT you actually don't get service until you agree they can abuse your details for spam"

        Agreed, and it's not only London, it works like this in Australia too.

        When I tell people I carry my portable WiFi access point with me, they wonder why, when there's a plethora of "free" WiFi access points around the city. Except, like you said, few are really free.

  15. Dominion

    Soooo...

    All the UK companies that have harvested my email address from a website that I manage for an amateur unincorporated sports club owe me cash? The one's I'm thinking of have never had any dealings with either me personally, or the club, and I have never submitted my details to them? I realise that the worst culprits are the offshore SEO spammers, but there's a significant amount of UK spam as well.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there similar legislation against the crap I get from estate agents through my door every day?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is there similar legislation against the crap I get from estate agents through my door every day?

      No, but sending it back without a stamp tends to eventually drive the point home. I happy pay the price of an envelope for that. If they really piss you off, use a box and include a brick, but I'm not sure you can send that with "receiver pays" (which is what happens when you post back the leaflets without a stamp).

      I'm getting to the point where I will intersperse any future presentation I will ever make for London Underground will be accompanied with some software that randomly throws in the comment that they should beware of card clash, and that we have at present a good service. And randomly stop for 4 minutes without telling them why. That sort of marketing is annoying too, and harder to fight.

      #crapdayattheofficegrumble

      1. graeme leggett

        Bricks are a bad idea

        a brick in a box would be entirely the wrong shape, for posting without paying the right postage..

        Might I suggest that you take the offending pamphlet, and write a short not asking not to be mailed again.

        Then, and I must stress that this is so that neither the pamphlet nor your note get damaged and thus become illegible during its passage through the postal system, and for no other reason.

        Stick the letter and pamphlet between two offcuts of plywood. You should pick your pieces such that they will protect you note, but they should not be so thick that the final package will not fit through a letter box. Wrap or put into a sturdy envelope and address (remember to write clearly and use the postcode - you don't want the Royal Mail to send it to the wrong person).

        Now take it to be posted. Since the package fits through a letter box, if the post office should happen to be closed then just put it into a pillar box. You did put a stamp on it didn't you? No? Oh dear. Well you can't interfere with the mail to retrieve it, so I guess the recipient will have pay (including underpayment surcharge) if they want to receive it........

        [this is of course entirely hypothetical and should not be used as guidance for a course of action]

        1. John Tserkezis

          Re: Bricks are a bad idea

          "Might I suggest that you take the offending pamphlet, and write a short not asking not to be mailed again."

          Pfft. Asking nicely? Really? You think that's going to work with people who have no morals whatsoever?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Me, I use this litle trick.

    I have my own domain. I create emails for specific compagnies I actually want to give my email to. Then if I start getting spam on one, I know who done it.

    Had a very red-faced bank representative trying to explain himself when he realised they'd leaked my email once. They didn't like me threatening to send the cops to investigate the data breach.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Likewise. It's quite interesting to see where your email address gets to that way (and easy to kill the spam - retire the temp email and done).

      I also get lots of birthday greetings - the day telling me who leaked what they thought my birthday to be..

    2. stucs201

      I've only had 1 leak since I started doing this.

      However I don't think I'll chance threatening them with legal action given it was a solicitors that did it, might be a smidge more hassle than its worth.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good for him! I wish I could repeat that...

    ...for Expedia who spam me all the time despite having closed my account two years ago...I write and forward the spam, and they just ignore it... (I left because Expedia 'fix' their hotel rates as reported on the Reg)...

    Same goes for the affiliated partners of RyanAir. Oh boy do I regret ordering from their in-air catalogue. Years later I'm still getting spammed and there's no unsubscribe option!

    I feel we need a global do-not-email system for companies who continue to spam!

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Moneyweek and Photobox

    Are the most legit companies that emailbomb me a quite unreasonable amount (several times a week) but would probably stop if I asked them.

    Maybe I should try the unconsented email marketing line of attack on Santander after they leaked my email address to real spammers (money mules, 'pfizer' spam etc). It sounds like it could be more effective than pursuing the ICO over the leak.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Moneyweek and Photobox

      I'm waiting on feedback from a company that organises security shows. Of all the setups that should protect data, this is IMHO one of the more dodgy ones so I'm waiting with interest what comes back. I caught them when filling in the form already (which is why they got a temp address) - the opt-out was genuinely in 8 point or less and dark grey, and I had to grab a magnifier to read it (I carry a credit card sized freshnell lens so it actually was of use for once). The fun part was that I DID opt out, yet still received email.

      I suspect receiving my response must have worried them. They'll worry more when they discover I'm following it up - generally they hope that by staying quiet and unsubscribing you you'll go away. No such luck with this one.

  20. keithpeter
    Windows

    Book web sites

    OK, I probably did consent to these, but Al Libris (second hand books) and Manning Publications (tech books) take the follow up to an order stuff to ridiculous lengths.

    Books are subject specific. Just because I bought the second volume of a series of science fiction novels by Doris Lessing does not mean that I want to have almost daily emails about completely random volumes. Manning are just as bad; buying a short tutorial book on R - mainly direct interactive commands typed in a shell - does not mean that I want to buy books on obscure topics to do with proper programming.

    Don't these people think about databases or even tags attached to the emails?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Wait a minute...

    A brit national using an EC directive to get results on a court? The same country that is so Eurosceptic (when its convenient)? Whats next, Eurobonds?

  22. T Garrick

    Pre-ticked opt-in boxes

    I'm from the DMA and just wanted to clarify a few points in response to this story.

    1. The blogs on the EMC blog represents the views of the authors, not those of the DMA or the Email Marketing Council.

    2. The practice of using pre-ticked opt-in boxes is clearly dealt with by ICO guidance, so marketers should abide by that. I noticed that to register to post comments on the Register for this story I encountered pre-ticked opt-in boxes to receive emails about events, whitepapers and surveys.

    3. The DMA's website is not down because of a DDoS. The DMA's web host's servers crashed yesterday morning and the website has been offline since then. Nearly 36 hours on and we're still waiting for the web host to fix the problem.

    1. cynic56

      Re: Pre-ticked opt-in boxes

      I appreciate that T Garrick was never likely to be the most popular contributor from the moment he/she opened his post with "I'm from the DMA ".

      Like many people, I detest most direct marketing with a passion. However, I'm still at a loss to see which of the 3 points warrants the downvote.

      1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

        Re: Pre-ticked opt-in boxes

        "Like many people, I detest most direct marketing with a passion. However, I'm still at a loss to see which of the 3 points warrants the downvote."

        Presumably having had the opportunity of a decent, albeit state funded education; but still starting your post by showing that you've effectively wasted that opportunity and ended up (by choice, presumably) in a marketing related job warrants the downvote.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "I'm from the DMA"

      And I'm an Engineer! That was hard to say in public so thanks for helping with the datum.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ T Garrick

      @ T Garrick

      "1. The blogs on the EMC blog represents the views of the authors, not those of the DMA or the Email Marketing Council."

      Don't buy that it, sorry. Its like turning a blind eye to political lobby groups and going 'oh, but that's not us'....Someone from your industry is labelling someone who values their privacy as a "Data Directive litigation troll"... That only fuels absolute hatred of your business. At the very least make an effort to explain who the DMC is, and who funds them!

      2. The practice of using pre-ticked opt-in boxes is clearly dealt with by ICO guidance, so marketers should abide by that."

      Should is the crucial word here! The problem is that its all too easy to be unscrupulous when there's no real penalty for abusing it!

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    John lewis absolute twats for this: bought something off their website then got waitrose greenbee partnership card spam plus their home grown crap. unsubscribe links didn't work, ended up with rules to delete the lot and don't use their website.

  24. Sapient Fridge

    Taking text/Email spammers to court

    I've got a web page about taking text/email spammers to court if anyone wants to give it a shot:

    http://sapientfridge.org/textspam/

  25. Steve Knox Silver badge
    Trollface

    Whenever a website asks for my email...

    and I have no need to receive emails from them, I use privacy@{websitedomain}

    Works 99% of the time.

  26. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    A way to nip spam in the bud...

    It won't do much good for spam you're already receiving, but any future sources of spam will be easy to identify the source of which & deal with appropriately.

    When a site demands your email address, go ahead & give it to them, but alter it so as to indicate where it was used. For example, Gmail allows the use of $YourRealEmailUserName "+$StringOfOtherCharactersWithNoSpaces" at Gmail.com... So if your address is normally JohnSmith (at) Gmail.com, modifying it to JohnSmith+AmazonDotCom (at) Gmail.com will still deliver the email to you, but is immediately identifiable as to where you gave it (Amazon.com).

    From that point on, any time you get email to JohnSmith+AmazonDotCom, you know Amazon is the one from where the email address was used. If you tell Amazon to stop contacting you & you continue to get email from them, you *know* it's from them & can take appropriate action. Be it a simple auto-bounce-and-delete email rule to shunt it to various Abuse(at) email accounts, the company's CEO's personal contact address, or your Lawyer.

    The best part is, if you start getting spam to that address and it's not directly from the place where you used it, for example getting emails from a Dating Site when the address was used at a Home Improvement site, you know *exactly* whom sold your address. Want to sue that company? You have proof they're the source. Want to never get ANY email from that specific email address? Add "JohnSmith+AmazonDotCom" to an auto-perma-delete Rule & watch your inbox drop to more reasonable levels.

    Most email hosting services such as Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and the like allow such alteration of the email address as an Alias. It may be in the form of $String.$YourRealStuff, or $YourRealStuff.$String, or even something else, so it's in your own best interest to find out. Start using those alias' in your daily use of the web. If the site where you're registering doesn't accept the alias, then that's a big Red Flag Warning that they probably won't honour any opt out settings either, so it's in your own best interest to not give them your real data in the first place. That's when you either give them fake address info ("YouSuck(at)$TheirOwnDomain") or use a temporary email service.

    The end result is a constant record of where you've used your email address, indicated by the $String data (like "AmazonDotCom"), and the ability to filter, redirect, or delete entirely anything to that specific $String. If $Company wants my address, they get $MyRealStuff+$Company (at) Gmail and I don't worry about if they spam the hell out of me or not. If they try, I set my client to auto-permanently-delete that $String, and *POOF*, no more spam from that particular source. Which also has the added benefit of letting me know never to do business with that company again.

    1. Jos V

      Re: A way to nip spam in the bud...

      Nice one! Thanks for the tip. I just verified this with hotmail as well.

      Jos

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        "

        +form addressing is a very good tip, and I came here to say that too.

        However, an awful lot of web forms regard '+' as an illegal character. Thank goodness for 10 minute mail.

  27. Kev99 Bronze badge

    Does the US have a corresponding law? I sure hope so. But then, we do have the best legislators money can buy.

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we extend this to the crap we all seem to get from VM?

    No matter what I try It won't stop. Now they are sending it addressed to the previous occupier.

    Can't they understand that I will NEVER EVER buy anything from VM. After all their bombardment has been going on for 10 years and still I haven't taken the bait. Perhaps they are trying to grind down my resistence after all, I'm the only refusenik on my part of my street.

    Anon coz I don't want to tempt the receipt of more shite from them.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Sadly the DMA's own website appears to be dead."

    Gosh, I'm just so sad their site is dead. I was going to sign up for their "free newsletter".

    What if it... gasp... stayed dead FOREVER !?

    Oh, boo hoo hoo.

  30. Richard Cranium

    Why does the DMA even exist

    The suckers who do business with these companies are ultimately paying for the junk email/telesales/post and encouraging the bastards to do more.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Why does the DMA even exist

      Well Macmillan (Nurses), RSPB, RAF Association, Samaritans, Save the Children and RNLI are all listed in the DMA directory. As are Royal Mint and Scottish Government, Tesco Bank, Sainsbury's.

      Its a trade body.

  31. king of foo

    Sarah Connor

    Our home address and landline phone number have been publicly available for years. Harvesting mobile numbers and email addresses from websites to increase this "stalking database", is child's play.

    Try searching for your house on the internet. If you own it you will likely find your name, landline telephone number and a number of websites promising "more detailed information" (eek).

    We live in a spammer's paradise.

    It's not just Google we need to fear.

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