The Story of "Nadine" -- A Tale of Mailing Lists


Last update:  28-Aug-2007 14:32 US Central Daylight Time.


Preface:  What's This?

This is an account of what happened after an Internet user accidentally gave a wrong email address when she visited a web page and signed up for a sweepstakes.  It is a story about how Internet email lists can go horribly wrong.

It was created during an earlier, more innocent era in the evolution of the Internet, and many things have changed since the last updates to the core text in July, 2003:

Still, most of the lessons and admonishments here regarding the Internet, its unique social structure and the quirks of its primary person-to-person contact medium continue to hold true.


Contents

Background Information

Nadine -- The Story Begins

More Stuff Arrives
    Harris Polls
    Ourhouse.com
    Webstakes.com
    SmarterKids.com
    AT&T

Question:  Why send mail to somebody who doesn't exist?

Answer:  We Believe In You, Even If You Don't.

It's Worthless, But We'll Sell It Anyway.

The Post-delivere/MatchLogic Late Comers:  New Hogs At the Trough
    Ombramarketing.com
    itsImazing:  Is It a Threat or Merely a Menace?
    The Grouplotto Flood
    Miss Cleo's Psychic Insight Blows a Fuse
    TargitMail (GTMI, Walt Rines)
    customoffers.com
    em5000.com, em5000.net
    intervolved.net
    ixs1.net, ixs2.net
    ROI1.NET (Img Direct)
    oii1.net, oi2.net, oihost.net (Optin Inc)
    sendoutmail.com
    topica.com
    DM360.com
    Postmaster General (pm0.net)
    Bigfoot Interactive (bfi0.com)
    Virtumundo.com / vmadmin.com
    Scott Hirsch (edirect.com, offermail.net, eDirectNetwork, optin-offers.net)
    Mediatrec
    DirectNet Advertising ( dnadv.com, valudesk.com, valudesk1.com)
    NETWORK60.COM
    Two-River.com (Harvest Marketing, GDTRFB.COM)
    mxsys.net (dandyoffers.com) for memolink.com and dreammates.com
    sign2002.com (probably just another version of Optin Inc)
    Exactis finally makes an appearance
    valoffers.com makes its yawnful debut.
    dartmail3.net
    tinglobal.com
    jobsonline.com
    emailfactory.com
    directqlick.com

Nadine's Address Escapes Into the General Domain of Spamming Scum
    The "AmyWilson@btamail.net.cn" Spammer
    Random spam through ptt.ru
    Inept Pump-and-Dump Stock Scam from optinservices.com
    4optinonly.com, addmeat.com/addmeat.net:  The Buffoonery Continues
    Stubberfield:  A Heavy Weighs In

Spamming Scum Collect Addresses from These Pages
    J.C. Morris & Company Through gm20.com
    Bill Jones for California Governor
    A Disquisition on the Egregious Folly of "Targeted Web Harvesting" (insurancemail.net)
    A Helpful Message About Search Engine Placement
    419 City:  The Nigerian Scammers Begin Web Scraping

Twists:  The Plot Takes Some Other Turns
    Nadine's Significant Other

Discussion:  "Why don't you just unsubscribe?"

Essay:  So, What's the Point of All This?

Reference Material

Links to Other Sites

Contact Information

What's New?  (Revision History)



Reference Material

List of Envelope Senders


Mail Server Log Excerpts

    Consolidated Envelope Sender Reject Logs -- 2001 November

    Consolidated Envelope Sender Reject Logs -- 2001 December

    Consolidated Envelope Sender Reject Logs -- 2002 January

    Consolidated Envelope Sender Reject Logs -- 2002 February

    Consolidated Envelope Sender Reject Logs -- 2002 March

    Consolidated Envelope Sender Reject Logs -- 2002 April

    Consolidated Envelope Sender Reject Logs -- 2002 May

    Consolidated Envelope Sender Reject Logs -- 2002 June



Links To Other Sites

Who's Spamming Now?  See the resources at the Spamhaus site.

Al Iverson on Spam and Deliverability

News, stats, info, and commentary on blacklists

An essay on spam at Jonathan's Corner.

An Instructive Tale of Fictional Email Addresses at the Home of the Big Fool.


Contact Information

This harangue prepared and maintained by Michael Rathbun, who may be reached by sending email to the address nadinesite, which is hosted at the domain honet.com.




What's New?

Frequent visitors may wish to check here before fossicking through the ever-lengthening narrative.

28-Aug-2007:  Update the "Moral of the Story" essay to refer to a current high-quality block list.  Added a couple of worthwhile links.

21-Aug-2007:  It has been brought to my attention that there are still persons out there reading this after all these years, and that some of them have attempted to use the embedded contact information.  When I originally created this site, I placed plain-text email addresses in several of the pages so that readers might contact me.  Since then, unfortunately, those addresses have been so heavily scraped and distributed that nadine-essay@honet.com and nadine-page@honet.com together receive several hundred unwanted messages per day, thus rendering them almost entirely unusable.  Today I have bowed to unfortunate necessity and replaced them with the address nadinesite here at the domain honet.com.  From this time forth, email to nadine-essay@honet.com and nadine-page@honet.com will be accepted, but will simply feed their contents into a Bayesian spam filter before their inevitable demise.

19-Jul-2003:  It's been just over a year since the last update, and the total size of the messages sent to "Nadine" since then has doubled; when last we met it was 3,130,043 bytes and it now sits at 6,295,971 bytes, which isn't much when compared to the 25,614,601 bytes of spam that have come to the various local addresses mentioned on these pages since this site first went up.

One event of minor significance that has occurred in the meantime is the conversion of the honet.com domain from a "wildcard" configuration (one that accepts anything sent to any possible account name @honet.com) to a strict user list configuration.  This has probably limited the number of interesting new Nadine-like situations that I can become involved in, but it has certainly eliminated the ever-increasing amount of work I was facing in dealing with the growing torrent of misdirected email, mostly originating in East Asia.

Some interesting items (interesting to me, at least) have accumulated in the last year, and I'll be adding them to this site over the next few weeks, if all goes according to plan. For today, however, there's an updated Envelope Sender list and some new material in the Spamming Scum and Strip Miners sections.

A sort-of hint that there might be more to come is provided by the new Plot Twists page.

14-Jul-2002:  For about three months, aside from the site being slashdotted, little has occurred that cannot be classified as Business As Usual (or "SOS/DD" in military parlance).  As a result of the attention attracted by the slashdot, a number of clever people have gotten a kick out of signing up the various email addresses on this site for various kinds of spam.  eDirectNetwork and its parent company naviant are back with a vengeance, making 20 delivery attempts per day or more. 

At this point I have not seen any new spam to Nadine that is particularly worth my time to write about (or your time to read about), so only the statistics and reject summaries have been brought up to date and a few new envelope senders added to the list. 

Some broken links have been fixed, thanks to notes from helpful readers, and some links to other interesting sites have been added.

18-Apr-2002:  Update sendoutmail.com.  Update Exactis, who are now infected with the itsImazing list.

16-Apr-2002:  Add something new to the web scraper section.  Add mention of optinat.com/.net and dealsuwant.com to the Spamming Scum section.  Add emailfactory as a new Mediatrec outlet.  Add directqlick.com.

06-Apr-2002:  Add April 2002 reject logs.  Update various "last heard from" and "still trying" data.  Restructure the site:  move the various sections of the narrative from the main page to subsidiary pages.

30-Mar-2002:  Add rant on "targeted web 'harvesting'" occasioned by email from insurancemail.net.  Add tinglobal.com, addmeat.com, jobsonline.com (emailoffersondemand, Toplander Corporation) and dartmail3.net.  Some minor statistical and "last heard from" updates.

22-Mar-2002:  More traffic from valoffers.com and Two-River.comHome Shopping Network resumes sending.  Add link to Virtumundo's lawsuit press release.

16-Mar-2002Mediatrec dumps myz.com, begins sending their own stuff as mediatreclists.net.

15-Mar-2002:  More optinservices.com/4optinonly.com stuff arrives.  More Two-River.com stuff arrives.  Add section for valoffers.com.  Give mxsys.net its own rejection file.

10-Mar-2002:  add optinservices.com and 4optinonly.com to the "Spamming Scum" section.

03-Mar-2002:  Add March 2002 reject log to reference section.  Add Bill Jones for California Governor.

27-Feb-2002:  update sign2002.com and mxsys.net entries.  Add exactis.

22-Feb-2002:  I leave town for a couple of days, and suddenly find it necessary to add entries for a new itsImazing spewer (gossipflash.com), for a wonderful new content source in Boca Raton (sign2002.com) and for dandyoffers.com / mxsys.net spewing on behalf of memolink.com and dreammates.com.  That'll teach me.

16-Feb-2002:  Add Two-River.com (Harvest Marketing, GDTRFB.COM)

13-Feb-2002:  Minor update for ProcessRequest.com

11-Feb-2002:  Yet another envelope sender morph for em5000.

09-Feb-2002:  Add a separate reject log for Mediatrec.  Further traffic from NETWORK60.COM / RadioStakes.

04-Feb-2002:  Add a new "Spamming Scum" section devoted to those ethical marketers who scrape email addresses from this page and opt them in to their opt-in lists.  The gallery begins with J.C. Morris & Company, through gm20.com

02-Feb-2002:  Add new em5000 identity, jdrmedia1.net.

01-Feb-2002:  Another Harris Polls update:  no answer doesn't mean a "NO" answer.

30-Jan-2002:  Add NETWORK60.COM to the gallery of those now sending their own spew.

24-Jan-2002Mediatrec delivers their first advertising payload

23-Jan-2002:  New activity from Harris Polls.

21-Jan-2002:  Add Mediatrec and DirectNet Advertising.

17-Jan-2002:  Add new itsImazing spewer, PO-1.COM

15-Jan-2002:  Update Postmaster General entry.

14-Jan-2002:  Add optin-offers.net a new eDirectNetwork persona.

12-Jan-2002:  update ixs2.net last-try date.  Add eDirectNetwork reject summary page.

10-Jan-2002:  Update TargitMail; add some META tags supplied by Dave Kinnaman.

09-Jan-2002Scott Hirsch provides urgent news about breast augmentation surgery.

09-Jan-2002:  Did Sears, Roebuck & Company really hire Scott Hirsch to spam Nadine?

08-Jan-2002:  My thanks to Al Iverson who is providing a mirror site that has considerably more bandwidth to offer than the original has.

06-Jan-2002:  Add offermail reject log.  Update Home Shopping Network entry to note that they have apparently given up.

04-Jan-2002:  Give good ol' DM360.com their own reject log extract page.

03-Jan-2002:  More spam from eDirectNetwork (surprise!).

02-Jan-2002:  Add Jan-2002 reject logs; update a few dates and number in body.

30-Dec-2001:  Add Scott Hirsch (eDirectNetwork, offermail.net, edirect.com).  Add "What's New?".  Slight format changes, supposedly to improve readability.  Update some "last received" dates and the envelope senders reference.  Late in the day:  include note about White House ZIP code.



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