Auckland ISP Orcon Internet is in the firing line of anti-spammers after a bulk email with a reference to one of its customers went out to recipients worldwide.
The email was sent last Friday from an account at UK ISP BT Internet, falsely claiming to be “opt-in” -- that is, solicited by the recipient -- and asking them to go to a site on Orcon-hosted Cashevolution.com’s web server.
Participants in the news.admin.net-abuse.email Usenet newsgroup reported receiving copies of the above email, noting that bulk email referencing Cashevolution.com had been sent since July this year, without any apparent action from Orcon. The “spamvertised” websites still exist on Cashevolutions.com’s server, despite the companies having anti-spam policies that state any affiliates caught spamming will be kicked out of the scheme, forfeiting the monies already paid in.
Cashevolution.com’s website says it’s a “unique business system” that “aims to teach average people how to make money, and then retain it”. The site, which charges a joining fee of $US25, claims to have over 50,000 members. It was recently warned by the New Zealand Commerce Commission “as at risk of being [a] pyramid selling scheme”. Pyramid schemes are prohibited under the Fair Trading Act (see Ministry of Consumer Affairs information).
Orcon Internet managing director Seeby Woodhouse says its terms and conditions ban its customers from spamming, and requires customers to terminate the accounts of end users who spam. However, Woodhouse says that since affiliates of Cashevolution.com are behind the spamming, and not the company itself, it is not in breach of Orcon’s terms and conditions. Furthermore, Woodhouse is “confident that [Cashevolution.com] has personally dealt with all the complaints that have been forwarded to it regarding rogue members”.
Auckland-based Cashevolution chief executive Craige Mayo says the company does not send out any email but sometimes its affiliate members do.
"Sometimes they're new to the internet and get their fingers burnt." Mayo says the company has a strict anti-spam policy and will strike off any affiliate caught spamming.
"We have a look to make sure it is spam, because sometimes people forget they've agreed to receive email. If it is we're very strict; we cut them off immediately."
Mayo says changes will be made to the website in the next week or so to make it easier to tell if an affiliate has been ex-communicated.
"Currently if someone's been removed anyone following their link will go to the Cashevolution home page instead. We'll introduce a new page that says this person is no longer with us and offering the user the chance to click on a button and go through to our home page."
Mayo hopes that will make it easier for those concerned about spam to see the company has a firm stance against it.
In October 2001 another Orcon customer, Strongnet, admitted to spamming customers of ISP Asia Online New Zealand, which was then in financial trouble. Strongnet was suspended from the New Zealand DNS by ISOCNZ and Domainz as a result of the spamming.