What Happens Next…
or Why All Of This Is Meaningless:
Guest post by Huey Callison
The analysis of the AARP spam was nice, but looking at the Mainsleaze Spammer Playbook, I can make a few educated guesses at what happens next: absolutely nothing of consequence.
AARP, if they acknowledge this publicly (I bet not) has plausible deniability and can say “It wasn’t us, it was an unscrupulous lead-gen contractor”. They probably send a strongly-worded letter to SureClick that says “Don’t do that again”.
SureClick, if they acknowledge this publicly (I bet not) has plausible deniability and can say ‘It wasn’t us, it was an unscrupulous affiliate”. They probably send a strongly-worded letter to OfferWeb that says “Don’t do that again”.
OfferWeb, if they acknowledge this publicly (I bet not) has plausible deniability and can say ‘It wasn’t us, it was an unscrupulous affiliate”. And maybe they DO fire ‘Andrew Talbot’, but that’s not any kind of victory, because he probably already has accounts with OTHER lead-gen outfits, which might even include those who also have AARP as
a client, or a client-of-a-client.
So the best-case result of this analysis being made public is that two strongly-worded letters get sent, the URLs in the spam and the trail of redirects change slightly, but the spam continues at the same volume and with the same results, and AARP continues to benefit from the millions of spams sent on their behalf.
I’m not a lawyer, but I was under the impression that CAN-SPAM imposed liability on the organization that was ultimately responsible for the spam being sent, but until the FTC pursues action against someone like this, or Gevalia, corporations and organizations will continue to get away with supporting, and benefiting from, millions and millions of spams.
As JD pointed out in a comment to a previous post: sorry, AARP, but none of us are going to be able to retire any time soon.