I found this at Dwight Silverman’s Tech Blog:

Tuesday, Microsoft announced it was receiving $7 million in a settlement with a spammer. Today, America Online saw their good fortune and raised it, saying it was distributing $13 million in spammers’ assets via a contest for its subscribers:

From Wednesday until Aug. 19, people can sign up online for a chance at winning the goods. A winner will be announced shortly after the enrollment period ends.

AOL sued the New Hampshire resident in March 2004 after several months of investigation, saying the spammer made a career of dispatching millions of messages offering “ephedra, male enhancement pills and other dubious products.” The company also said the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria issued a $13 million judgment against other members of the New Hampshire resident’s gang.

Where is the consumer in all this? Microsoft and AOL get $20 million because they created mail systems so full of holes that any spammer under the sun can get through… but who are they getting through to? You and I. It is the end-user, the consumer that is the victim here – not the computer companies. At least AOL is distributing assets somewhat… but come on, a contest? A contest which requires you to enter on a daily basis and enter in all your contact info once again. I wonder who they’ll sell this mailing list to? You can bet they won’t destroy the information they gather after they distribute the prizes.

Where are the Attorney’s General of our states or country? Why is this battle not being fought by those entities we pay to look out for us? Why do we have to give away more information to get any recompense? How did spam hurt AOL or Microsoft? This case should have been a federal or state case from the start and the awards should have gone back to the people.