Reader Marty Fischlin points to an account of the origins of the big Ron Paul Spambot Fooferaw of '07, in which millions of emails about the candidate filled inboxes across the country like so many amber waves of grain and purple mountain majesties:
The evidence leads researchers to conclude that the Ron Paul spam was transmitted by a spammer called nenastnyj who operated a single node in a colocation facility and was likely affiliated with or renting access from the Reactor syndicate. The messages were transmitted by approximately 3,000 bots using a 3.4GB e-mail database file with over 160,000,000 addresses.
"While the total count of Ron Paul spam messages that actually landed in peoples' inboxes can't be known, it certainly was received by millions of recipients," writes the author of the SecureWorks report. "All this was done using around 3,000 bots-this speaks to the efficiency of the template-based spam botnet model over the older proxy-based methods. The front-end also plays a part in the efficiency, by allowing the spammer to check the message's SpamAssassin score before hitting send, simplifying the process of filter evasion and ensuring maximum delivery for the message."
Although it's likely that somebody paid nenastnyj to transmit the Ron Paul spam, there is no evidence to indicate that it was anyone directly associated with the Ron Paul campaign.
Back in a simpler America, I stood up for spam, for all the right reasons:
I love spam—and not only because I just placed an order for a guaranteed system that will enlarge my penis so that I can use it to clean my septic tank while playing solitaire with a deck of Iraq's Most Wanted cards. (As long as I'm sharing, I should mention that I only paid $59.99 for all this, using the same unsecured credit card that allowed me to take advantage of Mr. Kwame Ashantee's generous and urgent invitation to invest heavily in the Ghana Gold and Diamond Mining Corporation. As a highly valued early investor, I also received 30 lbs. of herbal Viagra and refinanced my mortgage at the absolute lowest rate of negative 3.4 percent. Who said the Internet hasn't delivered the goods?)
And in reason, Wendy Grossman called a truce in the spam wars of '03.