2016 Mary Litynski Award

The Mary Litynski Award is presented by M3AAWG to people who have done extensive work outside the public eye over a significant period of time. At the Dublin conference the award was presented to Rodney Joffe. A lot of other people will talk about Rodney’s accomplishments, including his role in the founding of Genuity, his work with the DMA in the early days of spam, his efforts against SMS spam and his efforts to secure the Internet infrastructure. But I have a much more personal perspective.

Rodney was seminal in changing my life and career path. Back in 1999, Rodney asked Steve to look into some DNS creativity he was testing. A few months later, Rodney invited Steve to join a new company he was founding based on that DNS creativity. We moved out the the Bay area and Steve started working for UltraDNS in early 2000.

Moving out to the Bay Area triggered my career shift into anti-spam and anti-abuse. I started working at MAPS (now Trend Micro) in their experimental consulting service division. We were the “carrot” end of the equation, where our job was to help companies minimize the abuse coming out of their networks.

After MAPS went through a round of layoffs in 2001, Rodney started recommending me as an email consultant to some of his connections in the marketing world. This work was a success and directly led to the founding of Word to the Wise and everything that flows from that.

M3AAWG has published a video where Rodney discusses his role in the history of spam and some of the other things he’s done to fight junk advertising (both fax and SMS spam). He sued junk faxers in small claims court. He was instrumental in getting SMS spam covered under the TCPA. He wrote the first global opt-out list supported by both the DMA and the ISPs and proved that global opt-out would never work. He literally pulled the plug on spamming customers.

Rodney says he’s “Not smart, just the guy who carries the bags of money and helps the smart people get things done.” I certainly don’t believe that is true. He has done things on the global scale to make the Internet a safer place for end users. But my appreciation is much more personal. I will forever be grateful to him for starting us on this path and the help and advice he gave us so many years ago.


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