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Pfizer and Microsoft go after Viagra Spammers 205

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-many-jokes-so-little-time dept.
Weird_Hock writes "This story from Reuters tells about the joint effort from Pfizer and Microsoft to go after illegal sellers of Viagra. Pfizer is going after the sellers and Microsoft after the spammers. Looks like they're targeting both sides of the money chain."
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Pfizer and Microsoft go after Viagra Spammers

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  • No Case (Score:5, Funny)

    by fembots (753724) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:39PM (#11635184) Homepage
    Spammers are selling V|agra you silly!

    Microsoft should double-dip and file a parallel lawsuits against spammers who sell Full Version WinXP PRO for $35.
    • Re:No Case (Score:2, Funny)

      by Jpunkroman (851438)
      Exactly, but i don't know what it would be good for since I don't have a pen1s. (I realize that this post could be taken entirely the wrong way)
    • by wowbagger (69688) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:49PM (#11635309) Homepage Journal
      I forward all spams I get that offer Microsoft software on to MS.

      I figure that I'll let MS spend their money on going after the spammers - after all, the enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy, and is useful to me.

      I get a nice auto-ack from MS with a tracking number for each report. What does that mean? That I get a nice auto-ack from MS with a tracking number - I have no way of knowing for sure that they do anything with the reports.

      But hey, it if nukes a spammer and/or costs MS money, then it's worth it.
      • by pe1chl (90186) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @06:14PM (#11635565)
        I forward them the lottery scams that refer to domains registered on their "MSN Personal domains" service.
        They do not seem to care.

        Interestingly enough, the names shifted from (variations on) cashchangeukltd.org, which is just the name of a fraudulent organization, to (variations on) ms-wordpromo.com, which could be seen as a trademark violation by their triggerhappy lawyers. You know, those that went after names like mikerowesoft.com because it was too much like a trademark they registered.

        But despite several reports, nothing seems to happen. They just go on facilitating fraud, and even do so under their own trademarked names.

        I start to believe that there is nothing more than a tracking number generator behind those reporting addresses, and the big Microsoft company is not interested in abuse of its trademarks.
        • Depends what it is. I once got spammed by yellovvpages.com (vv, not a w). Forwarded to yellowpages.com, and they asked for additional info.

          I could have reported the spam, but I figure they have lawyers who would want to "introduce" themselves :-)
        • In case not everyone knows these, here is an example:

          FROM: THE DESK OF THE E-MAIL PROMOTIONS MANAGER,
          INTERNATIONAL PROMOTIONS/PRIZE AWARD DEPARTMENT
          MICROSOFT WORD LOTTERY, UK
          3B Olympic Way, Sefton Business Park,
          Aintree, Liverpool, L30 1RD.
          E-mail:admin@ms-wordpromos.com
          REF NO: MSW-L/200-334841
          BATCH: 2005MJL-01
          ELECTRONIC MAIL AWARD WINNING NOTIFICATION
          We are pleased to inform you of the announcement today of winners of
          the MICROSOFT WORD E-MAIL MEGA JACKPOT LOTTERY PROGRAMS held on 3rd
          FEBRUARY 2005. You
      • by dreamchaser (49529) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @06:19PM (#11635604) Homepage Journal
        I feel very sad for you that you consider MS 'Your enemy'. I don't like them either, but I don't attribute them that much power. They aren't an enemy; they are a company out to make money. By calling them the enemy you ascribe malice to them that is unwarranted. You also give them power over you by the same act.
        • That's not what pe1chl said. He said that they are the enemy of his enemy (spammers). That doesn't make MS his friend however.
        • Parse it again, Sam:

          The enemy (Microsoft) of my enemy (spammers)...

        • by Maestro4k (707634) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:15PM (#11636118) Journal
          I feel very sad for you that you consider MS 'Your enemy'. I don't like them either, but I don't attribute them that much power. They aren't an enemy; they are a company out to make money. By calling them the enemy you ascribe malice to them that is unwarranted. You also give them power over you by the same act.
          • Exactly what would it take for you to consider their actions with malice? Perhaps an upheld conviction of abusing their OS monopoly to move into other areas and take out other companies illegally? How about their secret agreements with OEMs in the past that required one copy of Windows sold per CPU, whether the OS left the building on the PC or not? I could go on listing more, but at this point in time it's pointless to just say it's business as usual and without malice. The courts have found MS to have broken anti-trust law, and it was upheld on appeal. Companies don't go around breaking laws, then pulling the type of defense strategies MS did without malice. They do that when they did it intentionally.
          • But frankly your argument's silly anyway. I consider MS my enemy. I consider the RIAA and MPAA member companies my enemy. I consider most of the BSA companies my enemy, and I consider the OPEC members to be enemies. Why? Their goal, even if they aren't breaking laws, is to make money at all costs. If that cost is my freedoms (RIAA/MPAA and the congresscritters they own), my quality of life, or what else, so be it, they don't care as long as they make money. They're in business to make money from me even if I fully wish to not pay them a damned cent. I don't willingly, but my tax dollars keep going to them (at the least to pay the damn congresscritters they've bought who represent the companies first and the real people last). I consider that enemy worthy, and worth fighting.

            Power over me? They already have power over you, me and all of us. Hell just look at the litany of bills presented, along with the ones that made it into law. You can't tell me things like the DMCA haven't already given them enormous power over each and every one of us. Companies keep proving they're willing to abuse it any way they see fit. Want to stifle research into security flaws? Already been done, will happen again. Want to try and make sure no one can sell generic parts for your equipment? Already being done, look at the printer manufacturers.

            Sorry, but I don't have to do a damned thing for them to have power over me. They already do, and that's another part of why I consider them my enemies. If you don/t, well congrats on enjoying all those laws and restrictions they've placed on you. I'll be fighting them tooth and nail for the existing ones and future ones while you enjoy having your rights and freedoms removed. Personally I want mine back.

          • Please explain what laws/restrictions they've put upon me. I don't like the crap that spews out of Holywood, so I don't care if I can download movies or not. I don't like pop music, so I don't care if I can download songs or not. I use various OS'es (Windows, *nix, OS X), so I'm hardly a prisoner of any monopoly.

            So, tell me again how they have power over me?
            • I'll come out of lurking to just comment on this one... I don't like pop music, so I don't care if I can download songs or not. I use various OS'es (Windows, *nix, OS X), so I'm hardly a prisoner of any monopoly. So you don't like pop music, what's stoping you downloading what you do like? You use various OS'es, do you enjoy not being able to edit images in Photoshop on *nix? Not getting the latest games (if at all) on OS X? Do you enjoy trying to configure a WinModem to run on *nix? Ah well, it's your c
        • Microsoft is the enemy of my friend: free software. The enemy of my friend is my enemy. (The whole "enemy of my enemy is my friend" thing, on the other hand, is a load of bullcrap.)
        • They aren't an enemy; they are a company out to make money. By calling them the enemy you ascribe malice to them that is unwarranted.

          I think they do Maliciosly attack any technology that threatens thier OS monopoly. They try to keep Web standards to "IE only" thus forcing Web Surfers to have Windows. They try to make MS Office the defacto standard in bussiness thus forcing most bussiness machines to have Windows. They are trying to make windows audio/vidio formats the future "standard" with WMP thus fo

        • Lets consider this problem:

          What good they did to me?

          • They create very big market for powerful 32-bit PC. If anybody still use 8-bit CP/M machines, I doubd that I could afford dual PIV with 1Gb RAM at home to run real OS on it. It seems good. But I suspect that i could be just as happy with some 300Mhz UltraSparc.
          • They create potential market for software I write. But really I make my living from market where computers was used long before PC era.

          What bad they did for me:

          • They are ultimate cause of spa
    • I'm more worried about the Cialis spammers... and those people who *think* I need my anatomy enhanced...
  • but then where will i get my illicit viagra that i so desparately need, apparently??
  • by themaddone (180841) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:41PM (#11635203)
    First they go after my music... then they go after my drugs...

    But they'll never get my... my... ohmigod, what do I have left??
  • {{{groan}}} How long until the first viagra/virus joke gets included? I mean really, Microsoft and Pfizer? It's like shooting fish in a con - I mean barrel...
  • Analysts.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:41PM (#11635210)
    ..are predicting a long, hard battle.
  • Oh no! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by enoraM (749327) * on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:41PM (#11635213)
    Now I have to settle for my increase in girth, length and volume, since they will also go for v1agra and v!agra

    Anyhow - if the big dogs are moving now - after the can-spam-act, it's interesting what kind of stable equilibruum the next generation spam will be. It won't go away - It'll just reach the next stage.

    On the bottom of the first page are the stock qoutes von Pfizer and Microsoft. There is a horizontal movement of Pfizer and a slight downward movement of Microsoft. What does that suggest about the markets expectation of future distribution of vi4gra?
    • Re:Oh no! (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There is a horizontal movement of Pfizer and a slight downward movement of Microsoft. What does that suggest about the markets expectation of future distribution of vi4gra?

      Past performance does not guarantee future results. (applies to the stocks and viagra)
  • As always (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:41PM (#11635215)
    Microsoft want to be the biggest dicks around...
  • There is the B0n3r vIRus exploiting a windows buffer over flow!
  • by vudufixit (581911) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:43PM (#11635240)
    To reduce aggregate demand for the stuff?
  • by gammygator (820041) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:43PM (#11635244)
    Maybe they'll come up with a product that keeps my servers up.
  • by Maskirovka (255712) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:44PM (#11635257)
    Time for the scumbags to bend over and feel the wrath!

    Someone is gonna be in a world of hurt.

    MS and pfizer are going to spread some love around.

    There will be swelling in some lawyers'...pockets.

    No carrots for the spammers. Just some bloated, throbbing, heavy-handed...sticks.

    • It has been reported that market demand for
      Pfizer's "Viagra" AD prescription has sagged.
      Pfizer stock price plummets 05 percent.
      Analysts conjecture that demand has stiffened
      for the two competing AD prescription brands.
      Stay tuned for more news...
  • hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by GotSanity (591272) <gotsanity.gotsanity@net> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:44PM (#11635262) Homepage Journal
    is it just me or does it seem like microsoft and pfizer are going to be mutualy beneficial out of this one. pfizer's profits get to go back up and microsoft gets a ton of viagra. That should make the programmers happy. :)
  • by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:45PM (#11635276) Homepage
    Pfizer and Microsoft announced today that they had stiffened their resolve to go after sellers of counterfeit Viagra(r). They realized such spams were peaking, and they knew they had to harden the course for such counterfeiters.

    "These guys think they can keep profits rising endlessly," complained a Pfizer spokesperson. "They are really beginning to poke us in the eye with their nonsense. We are a big company, and Viagra has helped up grow considerably. We won't let these crooks cut our profits off prematurely."

    (Memo to editorial staff: Does the above sound right? Something seems a bit odd.)

  • Looks like Microsoft is looking to take over the market.
  • by Red Rocket (473003) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:48PM (#11635299)

    ...it's small-time criminals moochin' in on their racket.
  • We get average of at least one Washington Mutual phishing email per day and have absolutely no affiliation with the company. Its definitely the most popular phishing target (more popular than paypal or ebay in our little back water of the IP space). I don't know if WaMu is especially phish-easy, but they seem to be a strong target.
    • Based solely on my individual accounts, of which there are several that get spammed hard, I'd say the phishers have simply moved on from Bank of America to Washington Mutual.
    • If you have anything to do at all the administration of your mail server then I would suggest looking into greylisting [greylisting.org]. Has helped tremendously with the volume of spam I receive to the server I admin because it forces spammers to use a single point to send spam from (a point which you can identify).

      Also ClamAV [clamav.net] can be used to scan incoming email on the server side and has definitions for many phishing attacks as well as worms and viruses.
    • I don't know if WaMu is especially phish-easy, but they seem to be a strong target.
      • I think they don't care or at least react on them as quickly as other banks is why. I forward all phishing attacks to the companies involved so they can at least do damage control, and of them WaMu has no auto response, and when I do get a response it's 3-4 days later, well past the point of time where they could have done anything. (And it's a canned thank you for letting us know response, not even a "yes this was not
  • Wrong Target (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Eskimore_ (842733)
    I worked on an ISP's helpdesk and I can tell you that the number 1 spam complaint I got was those adverts for having a bigger penis.

    Why can't someone go after those spammers. At least viagra actually works.
  • Wouldn't one of the sides be the buyers?
  • this means that for their due diligence, they actually have to look at the spam, doesn't it? yikes!

    ed
  • by HardsetHead (857846) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:54PM (#11635365)
    I suppose since no-one yet has made this crack...

    I wonder if Microsoft has an ulterior motive in this whole crackdown.

    Thank you. I'm here all week.
  • by Morning $tar (857451) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:57PM (#11635389)
    Pfizer is actually working on Longhorn with hopes of keeping it up longer and giving it that spine-tingling performance
  • mmmmpffff (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Goeland86 (741690) <goeland_86@yaho o . fr> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @05:57PM (#11635393)
    I really don't think it's going to change much. Let them try. Most of the spammers are outside the US. Pfizer might be a little more lucky. It sounds kinda useful, but in the end it probably won't change much to the 500+ spam messages I get a day.
  • by DarkMantle (784415) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @06:00PM (#11635426) Homepage
    When I first read that I saw. "Microsoft goes after viagra"
  • Trademark dilution? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @06:00PM (#11635428)
    I remember the first time I started seeing Viagra (and other prescription drug) spam. It was long enough ago that I figured the pharma companies would want to crack down on it.

    Up until that point, I'd been getting spams for "pharmaceutical" (read: "quackery) products, like the usual "herbal penis pills", "natural apricot pits cancer cure!", "b00st your immune system", "legal pot substitute", and so on.

    If I'd never heard of Viagra before, I'd have lumped it in along with phen-phen, ephedra, and laetrile as the quack medicines I'd historically been getting spams for: that is, substances of questionable efficacy, safety, and/or legality.

    Quickly now, (off the top of your head, without googling and without being a pharmacist), which of the following - Effexor, Paxil, Viagra, Cialis, Phenteramine, Valium, Xanax, Soma, Lipitor, Zyban, Zantrex, Xenical, Meridia and Fioricet - are "real" medicines (that is, which have been approved by FDA for the treatment of medical conditions), and which are fake/quack/banned?

    If you get even one false-positive (that is, a "real" drug that a reasonable person dismiss es as "quacky" due to its prevalence in spam), I'd say the manufacturer of that drug has a prima facie case for trademark dilution against every spammer who spammed for it.

    • Effexor, Paxil, Viagra, Cialis, Phenteramine, Valium, Xanax, Soma, Lipitor, Zyban, Zantrex, Xenical, Meridia and Fioricet

      Emphesis mine

      And if you're interested in buying some Soma [somaweb.org], can I also interest you in some Prozium [imdb.com]?

    • by BattyMan (21874) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:46PM (#11636431) Journal
      Particularly without a prescr|pti0n.

      V1@gr4, C|al1$, 0xycOnt1n and the rest of those (the real ones) are PRESCRIPTION drugs - "Controlled Substances" - the distribution of which (without proper licensing & documentation) is a Big Federal Felony(tm). Anyone "selling" any of those things on the Internet is selling - at best - fakes, and is more likely a simple fraud.

      Even if they're doing it from offshore, selling the REAL stuff (particularly narcotics like Oxyc0d0ne) is a big enough crime (in the US) to obtain action from Interpol resulting in extradition of the offenders. These are scams, every bit as much as Muhammed Al-Quedah, who wants to cut you in on the $22e6 which he skimmed out of Sadam's treasury, and now needs your (confidential) help to get it out of the Netherlands.
      • What needs to happen is they need to use existing laws to bust a few of these guys for "offering drugs to children within 100 yards of a school" and send them to jail for 100 years or whatever the law allows. The rules are on the books and they broke the law. Now make an example of them.
    • Zantrex is the fake ("herbal"). Phenteramine isn't available anymore. I'm not a pharmacist, just a doc :)
      • > Zantrex is the fake ("herbal"). Phenteramine isn't available anymore. I'm not a pharmacist, just a doc :)

        Congrats -- I first thought of the trademark infringement issue when I flubbed it on "Soma". Heh, a painkiller named Soma. "Yeah, right."

        Then I found out it was a real medication. In Ford's name, what was that marketing department thinking? (I'm slowly learning never to underestimate the stupidity of marketroids.)

        I wonder how many patients do a double-take or pop out a Huxley reference wh

    • Lipitor is a real medicine which should be banned. It causes memory loss, though the makers deny it. The makers of Statin drugs bribed the FDA head with speaking engagements and he lowered the 'safe' levels of cholesterol to get more people on the drug.
    • ..but all i get are offers for 3ff3x0r, p4x|l, v14gr4, C14l1s, ph3nt3r4m1n3, v4l1um, x4n4x, 50m4, l1p170r, zyb4n, z4n7r3x, x3n1c4l, m3r1d14 and f10r1c37

      atb

      Suchetha
  • Spam in general (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mszeto (133525) <mszeto@scomp[ ].ca ['ton' in gap]> on Thursday February 10, 2005 @06:00PM (#11635438)
    Since I had moderator points, I wanted to read all the crap that gets posted and see if there was anything that needed to be modded up. I was very dissapointed to hardly see *anything* relevant to the topic other than lame jokes.

    I think that this will be good for users. Both companies have something to gain by there being less spam, and thus it will help both companies bottom lines to get rid of it.

    What I hope they *don't* do (since both companies are large) is throw money at the problem and hope it gets fixed.

    I think this is a good day for the internet in general!
  • Because of Microsoft, I can't get my box to come up, and because of Pfizer, I can't get... oh, nevermind.
  • Stupid claim (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PornMaster (749461) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @06:05PM (#11635495) Homepage
    I saw somewhere that Pfizer said that part of the reason they're doing this is that people think that it's Pfizer sending out the spam...

    Huh?

    I think that not only is that bullshit, that they're actually doing it to try to prevent reimportation (as well as the stopping of non-Pfizer sildenafil citrate).
    • I saw somewhere that Pfizer said that part of the reason they're doing this is that people think that it's Pfizer sending out the spam...

      Huh?

      I think that not only is that bullshit, that they're actually doing it to try to prevent reimportation (as well as the stopping of non-Pfizer sildenafil citrate).

      • It's probably true. Think about the kind of person who'd bother to read spam, much less buy from it. They're definitely stupid enough to think it's actually Pfizer sending them. They're also the one
  • I know we have discussed this before, but shouldn't someone go after Microsoft for a very insecure OS that happens to be a petri-dish for spamzombies everywhere? Isn't it negligent behaviour? It would be a lot easier for law enforcement if you could really say where a message originated instead of discovering that the spammer address is from an old lady who never updated her machine since her grandson installed it.

    When taking over IT on a small advertising agency with lots of Macs at the creative dept and
  • This should be no suprise. After all the name
    "Short-limp horn" is not nearly as compelling!

  • I hope this doesn't take away from my spamusement fun! [spamusement.com]
  • Slashdot: Microsoft and a large, powerful prescription drug manufacturer have teamed up to fight their mutual enemies.
    Readers: Well...good for them.

    Quick, someone take a picture of the page before a dominant theory emerges on why this is in fact a malevolent scheme on the part of Microsoft and Pfizer to take away our freedoms.
  • That's great, but who is going to go after the Levitra couches [cockeyed.com]?
  • Merger (Score:3, Funny)

    by http101 (522275) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @06:26PM (#11635675) Homepage
    In today's MarketWatch, software giant, Microsoft and Pfizer have formed a business alliance to combat spammers and illegal manufacture of Pfizer products. The new company name will be, "Macrohard".
  • Deep in the Gates compound...

    "Honey! Come to bed, It's Wednesday and you know what that means!"

    Bill: "Be right there dear - just trying out these - uh - vitamins I bought on-line"

    20 minutes later

    "Doh!"
  • MicroSoft + Viagra + Penis Enlargement Pills == HugeHard

    That doesn't sound good :)
  • Surely selling prescription drugs in any kind of a shady manner (phony perscriptions, no prescriptions, not the drug advertised, etc) across state lines is a serious Federal offense, at least as serious as this drug crime [usdoj.gov] is and should warrant its own Federal task force, RICO prosecutions, and the like.

    I wonder why we haven't seen this and it takes MS/Pfizer joining forces to make an issue out of it. Does this make any sense?
  • by D4C5CE (578304) on Thursday February 10, 2005 @07:27PM (#11636244)
    In related news, simultaneously Earthlink (in an anti-spam coalition with Microsoft) also announced filing numerous lawsuits to hopefully litigate some major spam operations into oblivion [earthlink.net].
    Winning these cases (and most importantly, many more) against the spammers would be much easier, of course, if the U.S. finally adopted an opt-in requirement as well [slashdot.org], stating that there is no way you CAN SPAM [slashdot.org], like in the EU where under a new agreement on anti-spam enforcement [eu.int], one single complaint will now even suffice to send the authorities round to eradicate any remaining spammers' hideouts in 13 Member States at once.
  • OEM viagra (Score:2, Funny)

    by Vivski (854008)
    Does this partnership between Microsoft and Pfizer mean I'll be able to get OEM Pfizer Viagra bundled with my WinXP Pro?
  • The majority of my spam today is for Cialis instead. Anti-Viagra would've helped a couple of years ago....
    • The majority of my spam today is for Cialis instead. Anti-Viagra would've helped a couple of years ago....

      Yep... as far as I know, they don't sell Cialis in the UK, but I heard about it and figured out what it was entirely from spam I received.
  • Simple (Score:3, Funny)

    by obeythefist (719316) on Friday February 11, 2005 @01:54AM (#11638959) Journal
    Microsoft's traditional embrace and extent methodology in practice.

    1) Threaten spammers
    2) Buy out or eliminate
    3) Pick up the spamming technology and patents
    4) Bundle with windows
    5) CTRL-ALT-DEL to log on and would you like some V1@gR@ with that?
  • Seriously, I can't separate that whiny lameass comedian from the word Viagra anymore.

    JAY: Hey Kevin.. just read the newspaper..
    KEVIN: What, Jay.. chortle, gahahaha..
    JAY: and get this--true story!!--a train was derailed today--i'm not making this up here!
    KEVIN: *laughs*
    JAY: Apparently, Hillary Clinton Lewinsky Viagra William Hung Bush's Pretzel!!!
    KEVIN: *laughs hysterically and strums a few nonsensical bass notes*

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