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.