I received an interesting, if almost nonsensical email message, claiming to be from SPAMIS, or the Strategic Partnership Against Microsoft Illegal Spam (there is a website at spamis.cc, but it seems to be defunct; Google cache). The contents of the email consisted of various quotes from Mike Lyman, who the email describes as the "Microsoft Head Email Abuse Administrator for Microsoft." Since the email did not explain why these quotes were important, none of them seem particularly damning.

A quick Google search for SPAMIS turned up a thread on the SpamCop forum, which in turn linked to an Usenet thread in news.admin.net-abuse.email announcing the foundation of SPAMIS. Apparently, the man behind the email and the SPAMIS "organization" is 26-year old Robert Soloway, one of the Internet's biggest spammers. Of the two personal email accounts I check regularly, Soloway is responsible for a significant portion of the spam email I receive (exhorting me to "email your web site to 29,500,000+ opt-in email addresses for free").

While I realize that Soloway does not see unsolicited email as illegal or annoying (after all, it bought him a Mercedes Benz), as the majority of Internet users do, this anti-Microsoft campaign still seems strange. He seems to have started sending messages similar to the one I received after Microsoft decided to pursue legal action against him for sending spam messages. It appears that Soloway created SPAMIS in order to make the claim that Microsoft is also in the practice of sending spam. However, all of the Mike Lyman quotes in the email refer to past practices of Microsoft that Lyman is apologizing for, which seem to have little, if any, relation to the current practices of the company.

But even if Microsoft was sending me unsolicited email, it would be hard to sympathize with Soloway (and not just because of the Benz). If unsolicited email is wrong, it does not matter if Microsoft is being hypocritical in suing Soloway while sending unsolicited email itself, because Soloway is also being hypocritical in lambasting Microsoft for its email practices. It shows the type of doublethink essential to being a spammer: my spamming practices are okay, but other spammers do bad things and should stop.