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AOL Gives Away Spammer's Loot


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AOL Gives Away Spammer's Loot

Internet giant is offering up cash, gold bars, and a Hummer vehicle that it recovered in a lawsuit.


Elizabeth Montalbano, IDG News Service

Thursday, August 11, 2005




In its own twist on letting the punishment fit the crime, America Online is disciplining a spammer who helped the company win an antispam lawsuit by giving away a substantial stash of loot purchased with profits from his illegal business.



Calling the giveaway the AOL Spammer's Gold Sweepstakes, which runs through August 19, AOL will award nearly $100,000 in cash and gold bars, as well as a loaded 2003 Hummer H2 vehicle, to its members and others who participate in the giveaway. The prizes are part of assets recovered from Manchester, New Hamsphire-based spammer Braden Bournival in the first lawsuit AOL filed under the federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, according to the company. AOL also was awarded a $13 million judgment in the suit.


AOL members aided in the search for spammers named in the suit by using a "Report Spam" button to help AOL and detectives find those responsible, according to the company. The sweepstakes is a way for AOL to show its appreciation for that help, the company says in a statement.


"To say 'thank you' to AOL members for their help in tracking down this lawbreaker, AOL is giving these ill-gotten goods away to members through the AOL Spammer's Gold Sweepstakes," the company says.


AOL members can enter the sweepstakes at AOL Keyword: Spam Sweepstakes; non-members can enter at aolhummer.onlinepromo.com. Entrants can win daily cash prizes as well as the Hummer and about $85,000 in gold bars and cash.


Crime and Punishment


Though the spammer whose former property is being given away aided AOL in its quest to identify other spammers involved in the case, the company says it still felt he needed to be punished.


"The spammer's cooperation, while helpful, didn't absolve him from paying for the harm he caused AOL members, and under CAN-SPAM, AOL was able to seize everything the spammer made during his 'career,'" AOL says.


AOL also had an ominous "don't even think about it" message for other would-be spammers who may be interested in plaguing AOL users' in-boxes with unwanted e-mail.


"[This sweepstakes] also serves as a message to anyone thinking of making a living sending spam to AOL members: AOL will find you and sue you," the company wrote on its site. "And AOL will do everything it can to make sure its members end up with any money you made as a spammer."


Earlier this week, Microsoft also won a big settlement in an antispam lawsuit filed two years ago against the self-proclaimed "King of Spam," Scott Richter.


On Tuesday, Richter, who at one time helped distribute more than 38 billion unsolicited e-mails per year, agreed to pay $7 million to the software giant. He also said he would not send any more unsolicited e-mails.





Niners Lineman Herrion Dies After Game




DENVER (AP) - San Francisco offensive lineman Thomas Herrion collapsed in the locker room and died Sunday morning, shortly after the 49ers played the Denver Broncos in a preseason game. He was 23.


Herrion, a 6-foot-3, 310-pound guard, was on the field for San Francisco's 14-play, 91-yard drive that ended with a touchdown with 2 seconds left.


Players had finished listening to coach Mike Nolan address them in a postgame meeting when Herrion collapsed. Medics administered CPR on him and took him to an ambulance that rushed him to a nearby hospital.


About three hours later, 49ers spokesman Aaron Salkin confirmed that Herrion had been pronounced dead. The cause of death was not immediately known.





``This is a colossal tragedy for the 49ers and the entire NFL community,'' Salkin said. ``We still do not know all the details. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Herrion family.''


The death comes a little more than four years after offensive lineman Korey Stringer of the Minnesota Vikings died of heatstroke during a training camp practice on a day during which the heat index soared to 110.


Since Stringer's death, NFL teams have increased their efforts to teach players about hydration and how to manage the heat. They have been experimenting with sensors to measure players' core body temperatures, although those by themselves wouldn't be able to prevent a heat-related death.


Temperatures were in the mid-60s with 50 percent humidity Saturday night in Denver, although experts say heatstroke can occur even in cool conditions.


After the game, Nolan said he had no comments about San Francisco's 26-21 loss to the Broncos.


``There are more important things on our mind than the game,'' he said. ``Right now, our thoughts and prayers are with Thomas Herrion.''


Shortly after that statement, the Niners got dressed and boarded buses that took them to the Denver airport for their flight back to California. Salkin said coaches notified players of the tragedy at the airport.


``We didn't see anything happen,'' Niners defensive lineman Marques Douglas said. ``I sat by my locker and prayed for him.''


Herrion, a first-year player with the 49ers, played college ball at Utah and spent part of last season on the San Francisco and Dallas practice squads. He also played this season with the Hamburg Sea Dogs of NFL Europe.


Stringer's death was thought to be the first of its kind in the NFL. In 1979, St. Louis Cardinals tight end J.V. Cain died of a heart attack during training camp. Chuck Hughes, a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions, died of a heart attack Oct. 24, 1972, during a game in Detroit against the Chicago Bears.


In April, Arena Football League player Al Lucas of the Los Angeles Avengers died of a spinal-cord injury he endured while making a tackle.



08/21/05 06:18




BLOG: Life in the third tier




Sunday, August 21, 2005

A Young Athlete's Death


I just now read that linebacker Thomas Herrion of the 49ers collapsed after his preseason game tonight and was later pronounced dead. Undoubtedly, you will read in the next few days a myriad of articles blaming a myriad of different causes for his untimely death. When Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler died a few years ago, ephedra went on trial. Bechler had been using ephedra in lieu of more potent performance-enhancing substances, believing it was the "safe" way to increase his velocity and durability on the mound.


Both Herrion and Bechler were 23 years old when they died, and most of us are incapable of comprehending the death of young athletes in phenominal shape. Rashidi Wheeler, a Northwestern University football player, simply collapsed at practice one day due to heatstroke. Devaughn Darling of Florida State University met the same fate. Every time such incidents occur, we are dumbstruck.


Sports can be brutal. I have witnessed more than my share of gruesome injuries throughout the many thousands of hours I have spent at live sporting events and watching them on television. I can recall when Detroit Lions' lineman Mike Utley was paralyzed during a game broadcast nationally back in 1991. My television was tuned to the Florida Marlins' game the day Tony Saunders, an up and coming lefthanded starting pitcher, had his humerus snap in half as he tried to throw a fastball. Saunders collapsed in a heap as the ball flew twenty feet wide of home plate; the crowd's silence after the "snap" only made more audible the young hurler's screams. He made a comeback attempt a few years later, and I cheered for him. On the verge of returning to the majors, the humerus snapped again during a pitch. Cruel is the only word one can conjure. Another young pitcher, Bryce Florie of the Red Sox, had his orbital bone shattered and was partially blinded when he was unable to avoid a line-drive up the middle. I saw that one, too.


Sports media is no different than the news media when it comes to reporting on tragies. Basically, they'll show tragedy as often as they can. Dale Earnhardt's deadly crash into the wall at Daytona was replayed over, and over, and over; NHL player Mike Bertuzzi's cheap shot on Steve Moore, one that left Moore with three fractured vertebrae, happened more than a year ago but the video still pops up on Sportscenter every now and then. Moore hasn't played since the incident; Bertuzzi was recently reinstated.


We expect injuries; we realize that in certain sports, death during the game is a possibility, however slight. Boxers are modern-day gladiators; auto racers piloting 200-mph rockets realize the vast danger inherent in their sport. Thomas Herrion made it through tonight's game unscathed. He should have been beyond the danger zone. Yet he is no longer with us, joining the long line of those who perished in the pursuit of their athletic dreams.



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