Mark Mumma News Roundup

Mark Mumma, if you weren't aware, is the anti-spammer who sued Omega World Travel a/k/a over spam allegations, and lost. It seems to me that this may have been a situation where hubris and anger took control, getting in the way of facts and logic.

After all, this is the guy who let his mouth get the better of him when being interviewed by Ken Magill. Page four is the, uh, I guess you'd say, the best bit, where Mumma instructs Ken Magill to return the call of Omega's lawyer and "you guys plan your next gay weekend together." Right after bizarrely telling Ken, "well good luck to you in prison."

According to John Levine, Ed Falk, and others, it looks like Mumma lost big, to the tune of $2.5 million in damages, Omega having won the defamation lawsuit it brought against him. Ken Magill's overview and analysis is spot on, in my opinion.

I can't tell for sure whether or not the mail in question was spam. So I'll set that aside for the moment. But clearly, calling people names, risking (and ultimately committing) defamation is unwise. Sticking to the facts would likely help prevent that. Nor is it wise to agree to talk to a reporter then flip out and start to insult both him and the other party involved. Nor is it wise to refuse the settle the defamation allegations, even after you lose your anti-spam suit, setting yourself up to lose even more. Nor is it wise to tell people you're going to sue them if they don't stop emailing you, without telling them your email address. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I could go on for hours.

I hope somebody obtains all the court documents and uses them as the "how not to behave" section of a book on how to fight spam.

May 30, 2007 update: More on this from Ken Magill.
Anti-Spammers Distance Themselves from Mumma
Belligerant Anti-Spammer Watch: Mumma's Claims Debunked


  1. > I hope somebody obtains all the
    > court documents and uses them as
    > the "how not to behave" section
    > of a book on how to fight spam.

    Funny you should say that. I actually was thinking this past weekend that I would like to write a book on how to fight spam. I might go ahead and actually include this court case as a chapter, thanks for the tip.

  2. I think Ken could have been a bit more professional, too. At one point he says, "That’s the problem with guys like you."

    He had logically correct arguments before that, but that comment firm up the impression that he was Mumma's opponent, rather than interviewer, putting him on the defensive and raising his ire.

  3. It's hard for me to see this as something more than Ken sitting there and asking question while the tape recorder runs.

    Just the other day I listened to NPR interviewing the head of basketball. I forget his name, because I am not a sports fan. But, the guy was adversarial and angry throughout the entire interview, even though the questions were fairly innocuous.

    Note that fairly innocuous doesn't mean they're questions you want to hear. If you agree to sit down and answer somebody's questions, you should consider how you're going to calmly and amicably respond to questions you don't like.

    A reporter is not your friend. A reporter is there to gather information to build a story. It's not all sweetness and light and hugs. In my opinion, it doesn't make Ken a bad guy or in the wrong, just because an interview subject so obviously melted down mid-interview.

    I don't always agree with Ken, but he's a smart guy, and I'm glad he's out there.

  4. I just thought of something else, too. Ken, at one point, apparently frustrated, says, "That's the problem with guys like you."

    Let's assume for a minute that it was unplanned for him to say that, and that Ken was sort of at wit's end because Mumma was getting agitated and going very fast. So, Ken said that one comment. But, in the context of the entire transcript, how many weird, strange, inappropriate things did Ken say, versus how many Mumma said?

    Have fun in jail. Go plan your gay weekend. etc.

    This, from a guy, who just had a $2.5 million judgement fall on him, presumably because his mouth got him in trouble, and he wouldn't back down.

    Kind of like how it went in that interview.

    Hard to blame any of that oops on Ken, even indirectly. The interview just reflected the bigger problem, in my opinion.


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