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78,145 News Articles

Top 10 spammers in internet history

But who's King of the Spam Kings?

We look at the world's ten biggest ‘spam kings' to see who deserves the title of King of Kings.

Vardan Kushnir

Alias: None
Current Status: Pushing Daisies

He's been called 'Russia's most despised internet figure', and that's saying a lot. At his peak, Kushnir spewed 25 million emails a day to promote his own language tutoring businesses, overloading servers and causing many ISPs worldwide to blacklist any emails coming from the .ru domain - much to the chagrin of legitimate Russian Netizens who found it impossible to communicate with the rest of the world. He taunted Russian government officials and alienated employees by refusing to pay them.

When the 35-year-old Kushnir was bludgeoned to death in July 2005 - allegedly in 'self defence' by three women he'd picked up in a bar in Moscow - the reaction in the Russian press was largely gleeful. No one has been charged in the crime.

Spam Royalty Rank: Count of the Cossacks

Scott Richter

Alias: None
Current Status: Ring-Tone Merchant

Scott Richter has never claimed to be anything more than a "high-volume electronic marketer" and, unlike many of our contenders for the spam crown, he's never spent a day in a prison jumpsuit. Yet spammish activities have cost him big in other ways. In 2005, he agreed to pay Microsoft $7m (£4m) to settle a lawsuit over bulk email sent by his company, OptinRealBig. The suit charged that OptinRealBig used fake subject lines and falsified addresses. He settled another suit brought by then New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and agreed to abide by federal laws concerning bulk email. He even got himself removed from Spamhaus.org's Register of Known Spamming Operations (ROKSO), considered the authoritative source on junk emailers.

But in January 2007 Richter's new company, Media Breakaway, was sued for - yes - sending deceptive and unsolicited commercial emails to MySpace users. Last June, an arbitration panel awarded MySpace $6m (£3.5m) in damages and attorneys' fees. The 41-year-old Richter also recently made headlines as one of the principals behind Ringaza.com, a site accused of charging customers $7 to $10 (£4 to £5) a month for 'free' ring tones.

Spam Royalty Rank: Raja of Ring Tones

NEXT PAGE: Christopher William Smith and Alan Ralsky

  1. But whose King of the Kings?
  2. Edward Davidson and Bill Waggoner
  3. Even more spam kings
  4. Christopher William Smith and Alan Ralsky
  5. Our Kings of Spammers


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