Sunnyvale, CA – Yahoo engineers unveiled 'spam sponges,' the
latest in several innovative measures they have taken to combat unsolicited
commercial e-mail messages or spam.
The spam sponge attracts
another unwanted can.
The sponges take the form of bogus e-mail accounts that have been
deliberately set up to look like real ones. "We use an automated
name generator to seek for possible account names that do not yet
exist and we create an account in that name," explained Yahoo
Engineer Ted Huffner. "Then automated bots subscribe these fictitious
accounts to as many mailing lists as they can find."
"Behind me you can see huge banks of servers," said Huffner, "each
one hosting millions of randomly created e-mail accounts, soaking
up the spam that would otherwise clutter in your inbox."
"It's just a simple numbers game," said Yahoo CEO Geoff
Wyatt. "With spammers bombarding us with over 100 million unwanted
messages every day, if you can cause half of those to land in bogus
accounts, then you automatically halve the number of spam messages
received by real people."
Kathleen Gipson of Enhance Your Rod, Inc. called the move “deceptive
and harmful. We want our message about member enlargement to get
to the people that want it, not some random e-mail account without
a person associated with it.”
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