Overview of spam from Agis

1 Dec 1997

Note: Automated spam monitoring stopped several years ago. These web pages are maintained for historical reasons. Some may be updated from time to time as news about the individual sites becomes available.

No spam today

General information about Agis

Agis is best known for being the host internet provider to all of the spam sites on the internet. Lately, Agis has been producing their own spam.

Update: Agis seems to have turned over a new leaf. This message was posted to news.admin.net-abuse.email on 28 November 1997:

        From: "Phil Lawlor" 
  Newsgroups: news.admin.net-abuse.email
     Subject: Some answers to questions
        Date: Fri, 28 Nov 1997 11:28:18 -0500
Organization: AGIS
  Message-ID: <65mrgm$o7q@newspeer2.dearborn.agis.net>
I received these questions in response to my posting.

1 - a. When will you remove SavoyNet/Harris-Marketing and the other (four?) remaining AGIS spamhausen from your network? b. Can you give us a date certain when will AGIS be free of spammers?

a) To the best of my knowledge, there are three remaining accused spammers on the AGIS backbone. If they continue the practice of sending UCE, they will be terminated. All have been warned, and the consequence of their actions should be obvious.

b) No certain date, but we are acting to terminate as soon as possible.

2 - Why will you still allow opt-out spamming?

AGIS will only connectivity to email marketers who are opt-in only. Our AUP is designed to make opt-in emailers allow people to opt-out from their lists. We are also looking at ways to stop any opt-in lists from being sold to spammers.

3 - Will AGIS unambiguously and without qualification promise to disconnect permanently and without delay any customer who sends opt-out bulk email?

AGIS promises to qualify that each and every new customer it serves is not in the spamming business. If a customer has misrepresented itself to AGIS, and is indeed a UBE company, AGIS will move as quickly as possible to terminate. Notwithstanding, if one of our customers is being abused by either a customer of theirs, or there is forgery or third party relaying taking place, we will help our customer secure themselves, and post an appropriate public response.

Perhaps most people do not understand what AGIS sells. Our primary market is ISPs, telcos and large companies. A typical customer of AGIS has literally thousands of users, and houses many web sites. We do not sell individual dial up accounts. We need to work with our customers to cure their breach of contract before unilaterally rescinding their connectivity. We could inadvertently put a legitimate company out of business.

As you can tell, AGIS has stepped up its investigation and enforcement efforts, and will continue to do so.

4 - When will 'opt-in' clearly be stated in the AUP. When, where, how, etc.

As soon as the lawyers are done with the language.

5 - Why do spammers get "a few" warnings before disconnection? The TOS should allow immediate disconnection after the first incident. There is some debate as to whether the number of warnings should be 1 or 0, but anything more than 1 is too many. Comments?

See the answer to number 3 above. AGIS can forgive a mistake if it is fixed. Spammers do not really care about the damage they cause. They will take advantage of the innocent in order to increase their gain.

6 - What will happen if one of your customers sends out the well known "reports" scheme or another MMF variation which are clearly illegal pyramid schemes?

The question of legality is not left to us. We are not an officer of any court, criminal or otherwise. If the email was unsolicited, we will move to sanction the sender, including suspension or termination of service.

7 - Will AGIS now support CAUCE and the Smith Bill?

AGIS will watch closely any and all developments in the bulk email arena. Our own efforts to stem the flow of spam haven't worked, and we hope that something gets done about the problem.

8 - a. Will Mr. Lawlor promise to attend and testify about the failure of the IEMMC at any federal hearings that are held in 1998? b. Will he promise to describe the futility of both local and global "opt-out" lists?

If I were invited, I would openly share AGIS' experience and opinions.

9 - Would you be willing to make Harold a spokesman on nanae and/or responsible for abuse at agis? I would need to speak with Harold about that.

10 - Unsolicited junk E-mail is theft-of-services and is wrong in the eyse of the vast majority of the Internet community. Certain of your recent statements have been based on economical or financial factors. Would, as a matter of principal, you be willing to clearly make an unequivocal statement that a mistake was made and spamming is wrong?

Finally, I'll give fodder to those who will attack my honest responses. Be forewarned though, I will not respond to the "liar, liar pants on fire" and "you are nothing but an evil greedy bastard" flamebaits. I am too old for that, and I don't have the time for incessant bickering.

My opinion is that spamming is wrong. That has always been my personal opinion. AGIS was caught looking the other way when we signed up the spammers. Once it was too late, we called in the spammers and told them that we would shut them off if they did not clean up their act. I specifically told them that I believed that opt-in was the only way to go. They said they needed time to change their practices or they would go out of business. They really put up a convincing show, so sincere and all. The idea of the IEMMC was as a transitional tool to take some of the heat off of the issue until they could transition to opt-in. At first it looked like it had promise. Literally millions of messages were being filtered each day, but several things came into evidence that indicated the filter wasn't going to work (more on that some other time.)

Today, I am convinced that the Internet, in its openness, is a greater threat to the rights of privacy (i.e. my home phone number, etc.) and property (misuse of the trademarked AGIS logo) than to the rights of free speech (which I do not believe advertising is protected by the first amendment.)

Yes, it was a mistake to believe that the spammers would abide by their word. To all that say "we told you so", I hear you. I admit that I was naive about spam and spammers. That's all for now.

Phil Lawlor

To report spam, contact abuse@agis.net

A complete history may also be available.

General notes:

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The opinions expressed on this page are solely those of Ed Falk and do not necessarily represent those of any other organization, (although I hope they do). I wish to thank Rahul.net for hosting this web page.

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