There was a post here this morning about SBC, which was up for about three minutes before I took it down. It concerned the following corporate puke that was attached to a post from January 7, 2004:
My Charter Communications bill jumped from $72.82 to $100.76 for the same service in one month. That's a 28% increase!
Check with [SBC website] to see if DSL is available at your address. It's the same 384k speed for only $29.95 per month. Charter's not the only "game in town"!
In my original post, now deleted, I accused SBC of comment spamming. Anyone with a weblog is familiar with this practice, which I define as the practice of posting advertisements for products or services, unrelated to the weblog itself, in the weblog's comments. The typical comment spammer is an Internet drugstore, a porn site, or some similar detestable leach. Getting comment spam from a "reputable" company is unusual, in my experience. The way I see it, if it was SBC that was responsible, posting comment spam on this weblog is no different than driving to Godfrey, Illinois, and attaching the SBC web address to the side of my law firm's building with spray paint.
So why did I delete the original post? Just after I published it, I opened Outlook and saw I had an e-mail from the comment spammer, who denied my charge. He wasn't a comment spammer, he said, but just an ordinary citizen concerned about DSL prices. His e-mail was in response to one I sent him over the weekend. (Yes, he left his e-mail address, and it worked.)
For now, I'm giving SBC the benefit of the doubt. In the meantime, though, if you receive comment spam from SBC or any other reputable company, I'd like to know about it. Just send me an e-mail, and I'll start a database for a use to be determined later.
Although the conventional wisdom is that comment spammers are legally untouchable, I'm willing to consider some creative class action remedies against viable defendants. How about a trespass to chattels theory? Or a "conversion of bandwidth" theory? Or most promising of all, an unjust enrichment theory? By attaching their advertisements to unsuspecting weblogs, comment spammers are deriving a benefit that they shouldn't in fairness be allowed to keep. (In my original post, I asked these guys to work up a short but incisive memo analyzing the possible theories of recovery. I was even going to pay them. But now that the matter's no longer so urgent, I'll do the memo myself, and they can worry about their exams.)
Anyway, to repeat: Please notify me when you receive comment spam, especially when you think the comment spammer isn't some fly-by-night huckster operating in secret outside the borders of the U.S. In that case, unfortunately, we can't do much except delete the comment spam.