Spam continues to spew fromthe free ISP i4free and its affiliated companies.
Last week, Manawatu Internet Services picked up promotional email from i4free thatappeared to be the result of abuse of i4free's 'Tell a Friend' scheme, which offers an extra prize draw - in that case, the prize was a $5000 Compaq computer system - for every copy of a promotional message mailed by customers. Addresses used in that posting appeared to have come from from a "spamware" CD of email addresses.
This time, it appears staff of the companies have been dispatching bulk unsolicited email. This week's message, with the subject "free internet and toll calls" advertises the services of i4free and its parent company CallPlus. The sender is shown as Damon Shaw of CallPlus.
This week's messages have been sent to around 200 addresses at a time, with all recipients shows in the cc: field. Addresses, which appear to have been harvested from local Websites and newsgroups, include those of a number of prominent local Internet identities, many from universities and some which are clearly not associated with individuals - such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Some are out of date or inactive.
One recipient, Victoria University faculty member Brian Harmer, said that after reading the mail from i4free, "I went to their web site, not to subscribe, but to find out what kind of idiots not only spam, but do so in such an incompetent manner.
"Their Web site was equally flawed, with broken links everywhere. I eventually found my way to a phone number and expressed my annoyance to the first person who answered the phone, and was promptly put through to someone who was described as 'our general manager.
"He was apologetic in an unconvincing way, and didn't give his name. He claimed that his minion must have misunderstood him [and that] he just wanted them to 'contact a few mates'.
"I pointed out that not only was spam itself offensive, but half baked spam with the entire list of recipients at the front was a demonstration of gross stupidity," says Harmer.
The CEO of i4free, Annette Presley, could not be reached for comment yesterday afternoon. After last week's incident, she insisted her company "definitely haven't been spamming and we're not interested in spamming. It's illegal in the States and it should be here. We're actually for some regulation of the Internet and it's something we've been looking at ourselves."