Posted November 24, 2008 6:59 pm by with 4 comments

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By Joe Hall

On Friday, a San Jose court awarded Facebook $873 million in a spam case involving Adam Guerbuez and his company Atlantis Blue Capital. Guerbuez has a real sleazy history as the type of guy that likes to sell videos of people beating homeless people. This time around the court ruled that Guerbuez’s actions on Facebook were a violation of the CAN-SPAM act.

Does Facebook think they are actually going to get $873 million? Apparently not. Max Kelly, Facebook’s head of security wrote on the Facebook blog,

It’s unlikely that Geurbez [sic] and Atlantis Blue Capital could ever honor the judgment rendered against them (though we will certainly collect everything we can). But we are confident that this award represents a powerful deterrent to anyone and everyone who would seek to abuse Facebook and its users.

So, here’s what I see is going to happen here: Facebook is going to try to take every last penny that Guerbuez has. Eventually, Guerbuez will file bankruptcy and then start over. I am willing to bet he will be back out peddling garbage in less than a year.

So, my question for everyone is how do we prosecute spammers aside from draining their assets? Should companies like Facebook and MySpace pursue other actions? Or should our laws be written in a way that help provide for a better deterrent?

Joe Hall is Chief Web Head at JOZSOFT.

  • No matter how hard or stiff the laws get, people are still gonna’ take risk to make money. It’s proven everyday in our prison system. But we can still try to beef up security and prosecute as best we can. It really gets old though, and no body feels like the hassle.

    “Can’t we all just get along”? lol lol lol

  • The solution is in making it a criminal offense. Lobbying for that legislation is what is needed. Facebook should have no problem lobbying for it!

    Nicole Price’s last blog post..The Best Recipe Sites

  • I agree this guy was a spammer, but spamming in itself doesn’t mean you break CAN SPAM

    How could this guy (or any legitimate marketer) legally comply with CAN SPAM on Facebook?

    Both this judgement and the previous Myspace judgement were by default – quickly accelerated to tie up assets. If there had been an aggressive defense it might have taken many more months.

    Facebook don’t provide a facility to one-click opt out of messages from a specific person

    As an example I was just invited to an event that is commercial (as most are)

    There is no physical mailing address to either the person who sent it, or Facebook
    There are 2 links, to the event details, and to my Facebook email preferences – both require me to login

    To remove myself from specific mailings or notifications from that specific contact, I would have to use Facebook’s search, or page through 100s, or probably 1000s of contacts based on the name the message was from, visit their profile, and find the remove from friends link in the bottom left corner in very small type.

    This has major implications for any messaging on Facebook
    It might have major implications on Facebook adoption
    Facebook can’t argue that they don’t have to comply with CAN SPAM any more, as they submitted the claims to court – does that open them up to any kind of class action?

    Andy Beard’s last blog post..Opt-in Accelerator Warning – Security Risk – Read This First!

  • From my point of view, spammers should be punished by our legislation. Only knowing that you can get criminal offense may result reducing the number of such people as Adam Guerbuez . NO abuse or violation should be allowed!