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Former Marketer Now Scourge of Spammers Everywhere

daniel balsam
Everyone hates spam, but few hate it quite as much as Daniel Balsam does. Eight years ago, Balsam suddenly decided that he'd seen enough spam pollute his inbox, and decided to do something about it. He quit his job in marketing, created a website called Danhatesspam.com, went to law school, and devoted his career to bringing spammers to justice. Since then, he's taken myriad spammers to court, and has done pretty well for himself. Balsam claims he's won over 40 small claims battles, along with several higher court cases. He's also raked in well over $1 million in court settlements.

Balsam's cause may seem noble, but his adversaries claim he's simply abusing the legal system for personal financial gain. "He really seems to be trying to twist things for a buck," defense lawyer Bennet Kelley told the AP. In recent years, Kelley has become the Frazier to Balsam's Ali. He's sued him twice for violating settlement agreements, and has even set up a rival website, Danhatespam.com, to lash out at his nemesis. "There is nothing wrong per se with being an anti-spam crusader," Kelley added. "But Dan abuses the processes by using small claims court."

Some spammers, meanwhile, have retaliated against Balsam with counter-suits. After Balsam sued Tagged.com, the social networking site fired back with a lawsuit of its own, and accused the crusader of threatening to publicize the terms of their legal settlement. Valueclick also sued Balsam in 2007, and, in a court statement, asserted that his entire legal argument rests upon the premise that "anyone who disagrees with him must be villainous." The lawsuit was eventually dismissed.

Unfortunately, even Balsam's tireless devotion (whether it's primarily to his pocketbook or not) probably won't put much of a dent in the world's supply of spam. According to a recent report from Symantec, spam now comprises a staggering 92-percent of all e-mails sent across the globe. Cisco Systems estimates that there are 200 billion spammy messages sent each day. Nevertheless, Balsam says he feels "comfortable doing what I'm doing," and seems confident that he's fighting the good fight. "I feel like I'm doing a little bit of good cleaning up the Internet," he said.

Tags: career, DanielBalsam, email, law, lawsuit, security, spam, spammers, tagged, top, valueclick, Web

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