In what is thought to be the biggest-ever court judgement against spammers, social networking site MySpace won a payout of US$236.8m in damages when hundreds of thousands of junk emails were sent out to its members.
Sanford Wallace, the man behind the mass unsolicited emails, was previously head of Cyber Promotions, a spamming firm that had legal entanglements with Time Warner and had earned him the nickname Spam King.
Last year, Wallace and his business partner Walter Rines, created 11,000 fictitious profiles from which they sent over 700,000 junk emails.
The court also produced evidence that the spamming duo had hacked or hijacked 300,000 existing MySpace profiles from which they posted over 800,000 comments linking to commercial websites.
MySpace’s chief security officer, Hemanshu Nigam, said the site has “zero tolerance” for those engaged in illegal activity on it and hoped this judgement would send a message to spammers that they will be caught and act as a deterrent against future spamming.
However, the spamming duo did not turn up for the court sitting and this landmark amount may never actually find its way into MySpace’s hands.
By Marie Boran
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