Yahoo wins $610 million in judgment against spammers

After almost four years in court, Yahoo has finally won big over some major spammers. But was the fight worth it?
Written by Rachel King, Contributor on

In a major victory against one of the major plagues on the Internet, Yahoo has been awarded $610 million in a ruling against spammers.

A federal district court judge in New York handed down the judgment on Monday against spammers responsible for a fake Yahoo lottery email scheme in which email messages were deemed to have been "unlawfully sent to Internet users with the intent of deceiving them into believing they had won a lottery prize offered by Yahoo!."

The idea behind the plot was to trick unsuspecting email users into offering up sensitive personal data, including passwords, credit card information, and social security numbers.

Now, Yahoo is the one (theoretically) walking away with the lottery prize of $610 million, which is comprised of $583 million in statutory award damages for violation of the CAN-SPAM Act, $27 million for trademark infringement, and attorneys' fees.

Lawsuits against spammers used to be all the rage a few years ago. In fact, Yahoo launched this case initially back in 2008. That same year, MySpace initiated a couple of campaigns of its own and won a few victories...although look at how focusing on that worked so well for it.

Nowadays, it's almost a little peculiar that Yahoo would go after spammers, especially as it is curious as to how or when Yahoo will actually be able to collect these winnings.

Furthermore, the problem of spam itself just isn't what it used to be. Of course, it still exists abundantly. But a report from Cisco Security published earlier this year found that most cyber criminals are dropping the mass spam angle in favor of more targeted attacks. (See: Anonymous.)


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