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Church Of The
Swimming Elephant

The Joe Job

The Joe Job


I covered the complaint game yesterday, but there is an aspect of this that rates its own topic, the Joe Job.A Joe Job is a term used to describe fraudulent spam.People are rabid when it comes to spam.They cease to think rationally and instantly have one focus, terminate the spammer.


The way they attempt to do this is by complaining to the ISP that the spammer is using to access the Internet, demanding that the ISP police its user, usually via account termination.Spam fighting is viewed as a noble cause; real spam costs real money in clean up fees when it overloads network resources.Spam can get in the way of retrieving important e-mail if you are a dial-up user.So ISPís police it, terminating accounts of those that abuse their network.


The Internet is built on the concept of self-policing, it has enabled it to flourish.But in the case of spam, it has also made it ripe for abuse.The problem with self-policing when it relates to spam is that everyone considers themselves to be the police, not the ISP whoís user sent the spam.They donít request that the ISP take action, they demand it, often sending multiple complaints per perceived offense.They demand that the account they think sent it, be terminated.No other solution is viable.They often pursue this with ferocity.


In steps the Joe Job.The Joe Job capitalizes on this army of anti-spam pit bulls.The person executing the Joe Job will use this army in his own agenda.That agenda is often someone with which they are engaged in a fierce debate/flamewar.Itís an aspect of the complaint game, get many complaining, more complaints means it is more likely to end in account termination.So they forge spam to look like it came from this person.


This is very effective when the user has a web site or on-line business.Mass e-mailings and discussion board postings are guaranteed to unleash the anti-spam hounds.Soon that ISP is being bombarded by complaints and demands to terminate that account.This is just what the Joe Jobber wanted.The ISP is under lots of pressure to terminate the account, and those that arenít wary to the Joe Job often do.


So the next time you get spam and are ready to fire off that complaint, stop and think.Are you positive that this obvious piece of spam is not a Joe Job.Are you playing into a Joe Jobbers hand?





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