Porn Spammer Settles: FTC Does Crappy Job

From CNET:  An alleged marketer of online porn has agreed to pay a $465,000 penalty to settle spam charges, the U.S.

From CNET

An alleged marketer of online porn has agreed to pay a $465,000 penalty to settle spam charges, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday.

Under a proposed settlement, TJ Web Productions has also agreed to adhere to federal spam laws, the FTC said in a statement. This means the company has promised to use the phrase "sexually explicit" in message subject lines and ensure that the initially viewable area of the message does not display explicit images...

I feel better already... 

...The FTC and the Department of Justice went after TJ Web Productions as part of a crackdown on X-rated spam announced in July 2005. Seven companies have been charged with violating federal laws. Settlements with five of the operations have resulted in civil penalties totaling $1.62 million, the FTC said.

Ah a settlement...good to see the government say..."Yes...we know you've been bad, broken the law, made the lives of others miserable, but a $465,000 payment to the US Treasury should make everything okay."  

I'm sorry, but this is unacceptable. How does this discourage spammers and how is this justice? 

  • First, I'd like to know...where's my cut? I'd like to collect on the time spent sifting through email, and the software I've had to purchase to combat spam.
  • I think that TJ Web PRoductions and other companies should have to submit their database for review, as part of the settlement, so that I can verify if my email address is in there and if they sent me any mail. And if that is the case, I want them to pay me. I also want them to remove my address and I want the Federal Government to verify it.
  • I also want any affiliate they work with to remove my email address from their database.

 Also from the story:

The proposed settlement has been filed in the U.S. District Court in Nevada for approval by a judge. It does not include any admission of wrongdoing by the defendant.

No admission of wrongdoing? Does the FTC want to protect citizens or just collect fees? Is this just meant to look like they are doing something? A settlement that allows these companies to continue to send sexually explicit, unsolicited email, as long as they label it as "sexually explicit," and "ensure that the initially viewable area of the message does not display explicit images," is outrageous. How is this acceptable?

"The proposed settlement has been filed in the U.S. District Court in Nevada for approval by a judge."

If I were the judge in this case I would reject this settlement as it has no real teeth. A $465,000 fine is hardly a punishment for a company that likely has made millions by making our lives hell. And the worst thing of all is that they are allowed to send unsolicited sexually explicit email to anyone with an email address...including minors...AS LONG AS THEY LABEL IT!

Unbelievable. 

Here's a bit of info on the Adult Labeling Law from the FTC's site:  

The FTC’s Adult Labeling Rule and the CAN-SPAM Act require commercial e-mailers of sexually-explicit material to use the phrase “SEXUALLY EXPLICIT: ” in the subject line of the e-mail message and to ensure that the initially viewable area of the message does not contain graphic sexual images. The Rule and the Act also require that unsolicited commercial e-mail contain an opportunity for consumers to opt out of receiving future e-mail and provide a postal address, among other things.

I'm sorry...but doesn't this Rule still allow companies to send sexually orientated unsolicited emai...with images...as long as it isn't in the initial viewable area? So it is okay if you have to scroll to see it, as kids still haven't mastered that whole "scroll button."

I appreciate that the US government is requiring them to have an opt-out button, but I almost never use these things because it only verifies to spammers that your email address is valid and you are reading the emails.  

Here are the case documents.

What are your thoughts on this?

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