In a deal announced last week between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hand-in-hand with the state of California and the people behind an enormous spam operation namely Optin Global (yes, you\u2019ve had the pleasure of their spam), Vision Media (them too), Qing Kuang "Rick" Yang, and Peonie Pui Ting Chen (I honestly didn't make up those names) have agreed to pay a fine of $475,000, refrain from illegal activity, and eat their vegetables. \n\nBut there\u2019s a deal involved: The miscreants are not admitting to any wrongdoing!\n\nRight ...\n\nThese spammers sent out millions of spam messages advertising, amongst other things, mortgage loans to the point where pissed off consumers sent nearly 2 million complaints to the FTC. And wonder of wonders, the FTC did something about it!\n\nAccording to an article on silicon.com \u201c[the] spam operation netted the defendants $2.4m, the FTC said. As part of the settlement, they're required to hand over all those gains, but most of the money is gone. So they must pay $385,000 in cash and approximately $90,000 from the sale of property.\u201d\n\nThese guys were crazy. They had already been warned by the FTC and were violating the CAN SPAM Act with wild abandon: \u201cAccording to the FTC, the spam email contained false or forged header information, included deceptive subject headings, failed to identify email as advertisements or solicitations, failed to notify consumers they had a right to opt out of receiving more email, failed to provide an opt-out mechanism and failed to include a valid physical postal address - all of which are required by law.\u201d\n\nThe fact that these people were prosecuted successfully is great although the bargain of admitting to any wrongdoing is pathetic. \n\nThe downside is that if these people hadn\u2019t been so dumb and so blatant then they would have been hidden in the woodwork along with the rest of the smart spammers. Seems that we only have the ability to catch the dumb ones.\n\nThis is interesting as natural (AKA Darwinian) selection is coming into play. What we\u2019re doing is selecting out the unsophisticated spammers leaving a greater incentive for the sophisticated ones to make more money. \n\nNot really a good idea, is it?