ISPs and Pink contracts
Spammers need to send emails and lots of it. An experienced spammer with proper resources can send 80,000,000 pieces of junk email every single day. That's 80 million. ISPs have vowed to stop spammers sending such vast amounts of email through their mail servers.
Yet.... the spam keeps coming so the spammers are still in business obviously. There's a loophole here somewhere right? Yup!
There exists, in the soft white underbelly of the internet, something known as a pink contract. A pink contract is an agreement between a spammer and an ISP. The spammer agrees to pay a fixed fee for the junk email they send through the ISPs mail servers and the ISP agrees to turn a blind eye. It gets the name pink contract from the colour of the famous tinned meat that junk email is named after.
Surely this is bad business for the ISP? Yes and no. It is bad news for their customers and others who receive the junk email but good news for the ISPs bank balance. A monthly pink contract can be signed off in the value range of $10,000 to $100,000 depending on how well off the spammer is. Bearing in mind that the average work-at-home type spammer averages $100,000 net the above figures are small change for the bigger junk email vendors (the guys who earn $200k - $400k per month).
But..... the CanSpam Act 2003... surely that's going to make a difference? Of course. Any ISP in the United States can get in real trouble for signing pink contracts. Problem is that there's a whole big world wide web out there and the bulk of the pink contracts are signed with overseas ISPs where US Federal Authorities have absolutely no power.
There's no moral to this story. Spam is a huge problem that's finally being taken seriously by Governmental bodies. However until they start imposing prison sentences or seizure orders on those individuals and companies in the pink contract business the problem can only increase. It has also been argued that no amount of legislation can address the problem of spam in an effective way.
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