Dynamic Dolphin Dies

Over at Word to the Wise, Laura Atkins reports on Scott Richter's domain registrar Dynamic Dolphin getting its accreditation yanked.

I'm not sure why this took so long. This was one of those open secret kind of things that everybody talked about in the hallways at just about every industry event I've ever attended. The perception and belief is that this entity was owned by Richter, who has a long history of lawsuits and settlements and related to unsolicited email and/or other alleged bad acts. My assumption is that you probably could have blocked all mail and links to/from any domain registered there without losing the tiniest bit of desirable mail.

I think we might owe Brian Krebs a beer for his work on this one, tipping off ICANN to a prior criminal conviction that ultimately led to the recent de-certification of Dynamic Dolphin.

I believe I've only met Scott Richter once-- I believe he bought me a beer at an industry event a very long time ago. Since then I think things have changed a lot. I suspect that buddying up to ISPs and anti-spammers didn't really give him long term inbox success that he had hoped for.

Ask Al: Remove me from APEWS?

Andrej writes, "Hello, I would like to ask you to remove my IP address from APEWS.org blocklist. Thank you very much."

Andrej, thanks for reaching out. I wish I could offer you my assistance. But I cannot help you. Every once in a while, somebody will email me thinking that I work for APEWS or some other blocking list. I think this is because my blog posts show up in search results when one searches for information on various blocking lists. But the truth is, I don't run any blocklist at all. I do not have any way to add you to a blocklist nor am I able to remove you from a blocklist. Thus, there is nothing I can do for you.

I would add, if my IP address(es) were listed on APEWS, I don't think I would worry too much about it. Here's why.

Payday Loan Stories on NPR

(Hat tip to: Laura Atkins of WttW)

This is almost timely -- I was teed up to speak at a recent email/anti-abuse conference on the topic of Payday Loan marketers and what a challenge they can be, but had to bow out at the last moment. Thankfully, my colleague Mickey Chandler was able to step in and run with it and I'm told it went very well.

Signing up for a single payday loan site's signup form means you're going to get lots of mail, from lots of different senders, for a long time. I've pointed that out for years. Mickey Chandler just posted about it. And National Public Radio reported on it as well. Reporter Pam Fessler received numerous calls and many emails for months, in response to her single online application submission. It's a hell of a story; listen to the various callers as they try to claim that they're calling from legitimate financial institutions located in the US.

In another story, NPR's Pam Fessler reports on why you're suddenly seeing fewer payday loan advertisements on television. Regulators seem to be cracking down lately. In both of these stories, a couple of lenders/marketers tried to angle themselves to get the sympathetic response, but I'm not buying it. One person says, but where else will these people go? Well, you can still give them loans, you just can't charge them the usual 1300% interest. Darn.

Payday loans are illegal (or effectively illegal) in thirteen states, and payday lenders aren't able to do business with active military, since Federal law would cap their interest rates at 36%. It feels to me that perhaps the writing is on the wall. Ten years from now, will people even remember what a payday loan was?

Looking at a spam stream: The story of Jimmy Walker

Over at Spamtacular, Mickey Chandler explains how one single submission on one form resulted in his test account receiving hundreds of emails. This is a big part of why payday loan senders are such a deliverability nightmare; everybody seems to buy/sell/trade email addresses, branding is poor, targeting is poor, volume is high. If it's not spam, then it's so similar to spam as to be nearly indistinguishable.

Checking the SBL "Latest Listings" Page

Every once in a while, maybe every few days, I pull up my bookmark for the SBL Latest Additions and Removals over on spamhaus.org. It's usually pretty interesting to watch. It's basically the only public announcement that a new sender, ISP, ESP or ESP's client has gotten blacklisted. If you keep a close enough eye on it, after a while you'll start to get a feel for which ESPs and ISPs have the most ongoing issues or perhaps the most permission-challenged clients.

If you're really fancy, you'll figure out that you can bookmark links to various domain name groupings of SBL listings, allowing you to check for listings relating to the network of a particular ISP or ESP. Here's an example.

I'm not the only person who keeps an eye on these, am I?