Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Who is Servman? (now that Bulkerforum is down)

Since Feb. 12th, has been dormant. Domain does not resolve and it's not hosted on any of the previously known hijacked IP's. That's interesting in itself, in light of the slew of recent arrests involving illegal spammers.

But there's other interesting news regarding that site. Several members have suddenly been unceremoniously removed. I'll report back on a few of them in the coming weeks, but for now I thought I'd cover one particular member who seems to have actively wanted to cover his tracks: ServMan.

Back in November when Marion Lynn created his blog, spamgossip, he began exposing individual members of, the go-to forum for illegal spammers.

Initially he listed handfuls of people per day, then removed a bunch, then removed a bunch more. Since then it's remained pretty dead, and numerous postings have been removed altogether. As one would expect, this caused people (like me) to dig a little deeper. I checked out some of the postings of the exposed users. At the time, none of it seemed particularly important.

I and many others had recently noticed (before the forum was shut down, if that's what's taken place) that some of those members have suddenly "gone dark" on that forum, notably Phantom (aka: Norman Keith Holmes.)

Then in mid-January I noticed that one of the members, ServMan, had either been systematically deleting any postings he had on the forum, or getting someone else to. (Or, alternatively, one of the admins of that forum may feel that having his particular info on that forum is a bad idea.)

Whenever I see this kind of thing happen, it definitely seems to indicate that there is truth to the exposed information. Why would somebody suddenly shut up unless the name was correct? Especially in light of how that group has acted whenever someone like myself has done this in the past (claiming libel, claiming my info is way off base, etc.) it is stunning just how silent some of the members have become.

Servman was listed as one Adam J. Minic. Searching for that turns up very few hits, but there is one interesting one from the NANAE newsgroup:

From: DarkFiber
Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2007 20:46:21 -0000
Local: Sat, Nov 24 2007 3:46 pm

On Thu, 22 Nov 2007 19:46:51 -0800, spamgossip wrote:
> SPAM AND EGGS! On Thu, 22 Nov 2007 19:46:51 -0800, spamgossip wrote:

> The spam is in your mail and the egg is on the faces of these Bulker
> Forum members!

> servman - Adam J Minic - Boise, ID

Highly believable as there is evidence as recent as summer 2007 that Adam Minic associates with veteran spammer Todd Springer of the S & S Global LLC spam business that Todd and his brother, Scott used to run. Adam is perhaps a protege of theirs.

Kind of makes one wonder if Todd and Scott Springer didn't really retire from the spam business.

One also has to wonder if KEVIN JAMES MINIC #18299 who was discharged (as an inmate) from the Idaho Department Of Correction on 03/21/2005 is any relation.

On Dec. 27th, 2007 - the last time I bothered to check into it, Servman was responsible for 11 postings. Prior to that the number was much higher, around 30 or so.

I checked it on Jan. 28th, 2008, just out of curiosity. There were zero postings from Servman. None.

As it happens, I still have copies of some of his postings on the forum. In my opinion, while they are definitely damning evidence pointing to a string of the usual offences associated with illegal spamming, they aren't terribly different from those of numerous other members of the site. Nonetheless, either Servman or someone else must have assumed that this was too much exposure for him.

Here are the details I managed to glean from the postings I was able to archive from last year following the exposition of Servman:

  • He expressed interest in Hotmail and Yahoo email list verifier software.

  • He was interested in purchasing lists from numerous members.

  • He offered a new RX program (ie: Pharmacy spam, like we needed more of this crap.) He paid a 45% commission per sale.

  • He used (or uses) DarkMailer (aka: DM) to perform his spam runs.

  • He was (or still is) an active member of Sancash, the now-renowned "herbal remedy" spammer affiliate program with ties to Genbucks and Tulip Lab. (yes, VPXL / Elite Herbal / Manster / Megadik, again: like any of us wants to hear about it.) He liked spamming for them and made okay commission apparently. His conversion ratio indicates that he's spamming lots of people who definitely do not want to hear about these products: "My conversions started at 1:80 and have been at 1:150-1:250 ever since." More on this below.

  • He was also a member of the affiliate program. (Canadian Pharmacy, I believe, is one of their properties.)

  • He has dealt with diploma spamming in the past. Whether he actually mailed it himself is unknown. This is very obviously illegal activity.

  • He was in need of new servers in Sept. 2007. He had very specific requests as to the specs of these servers, which were to be used for "proxy mailing", in other words: to use a botnet to send spam, which is illegal. It appears that he may have done a deal with RackSpace06 for those servers, and that he got ripped off by him (or nearly so.)

  • In March 2007 he stated "We have entered a new era in mailing. Botnet is your best canidate for re-entering this industry." He then outlined how to get started in the bot-spamming business. It's pretty clear he knows a lot about how to send spam using hijacked and infected computers, to lists of people who very likely don't want to hear from him.

  • He hates "antis" (such a stupid term.) Yet he continues to mail to people he knows would prefer not to hear from him. Their complaints make him angry.

What other dealings does Mr. Minic feel would be threatened by exposing him as a spammer? A google search for "Adam Minic" (with quotes) and "boise idaho" (without quotes) turns up a posting dated Jan. 23rd, 2008 on the forum "" from a user named Camo Coatings discussing goose hunting. He is also located in Boise Idaho. I had previously suspended this posting because someone claiming to be Mr. Minic complained that someone was threatening his life based solely on my posting on this blog, ignoring completely that this information was already widely publicized last year by Marion Lynn on his spamgossip blog.

Since he has not shown me any proof of these alleged threats, this posting has been reactivated, with his comments intact. I have excised the contact info, which as mentioned before is already available elsewhere.

I mentioned his "conversion ratio." Conversions are the meat and potatoes of the spam industry if you spam on behalf of an affiliate program. A ratio of 1:80 is not good, by legitimate marketing standards. That means that for every 80 people who end up clicking through to your site, only one of them bought something. Legitimate companies, companies like (let's say), or, or any other above-board business which relies on third parties for some of their marketing needs would be hoping to see conversions more along the lines of 1:4, or 1:10. Even 1:10 is not considered a good ratio by legitimate companies. This goes quite a way to explaining the spammer mentality. They don't care how many people (like me) don't want to hear from them, they want money. They want the money for as little effort as possible. They want to follow only two steps:

1. Hit "send"
2. Get paid

Your complaints mean nothing to a guy like Adam Minic / Servman. He can't be bothered to clean his lists because that involves more steps than the two outlined above. Steps like: cleaning your list. Or possibly: choosing NOT to promote fake herbal remedies or illegally supplied fake pharmaceuticals which have no proven medicinal value.

A posting from January 2007 is probably the biggest indicator as to why he doesn't want his personal data out there. It's in response to a posting by mcproxy regarding exposing the personal data of someone who scams you in the spam industry:

The thing is, maybe not posting personal info. but enough to get the point across. Ie: icq, alias, etc.. In a perticular section of the forum. I was just expressing my idea in hopes that we could build something workable. I vote for a scammer section for misconduct and wrong-dooing un-becoming of a valid contact in this biz type of section.. hehe.

Currently if any of us get scammed, I can speak for myself anyways, I will post their alias info at least. I have never posted anyone's personal info. and I am sure never will. But many of us know each other past our alias. So therfor thats the assumed risk we take in business through gui interface..

Maybe my "quick reference section to scammers" is not a great or even good idea, but just wanted to convey my thoughts about this issue.

Any-thoughts guys???

Maybe he's worried about being perceived as a scammer. Or maybe he does business in other areas which would be impacted by having his real name associated with activities like spamming or using a botnet. Aside from the purely legal ramifications, I guess that would definitely impact his bottom line. But then why continue to spam? Why knowingly participate in these activities if you weren't already well aware of the risks?

I'm intrigued to see if he appears anywhere else out there in terms of forum postings. Having said that: I have a life. I'm not going to knock myself out about it. Digging this bit of info didn't take long at all. I like to keep it that way.

It appears that Lynn was correct in identifying Servman. (Surprise!) I'm still not sold that he's effectively identified anyone else, or that doing so has had the desired effect.

SiL / IKS / concerned citizen

Sunday, February 3, 2008

A Spammer Responds, re: VPXL / Elite Herbal / Sancash / Genbucks

I received what is quite possibly a complete impossibility: A comment on this blog which wholeheartedly supports the spamming of VPXL, since it's such a "great product":

Hey, IKillSpammerz.

I purchased the penis enlargement product and used it continuously for 6 months. The product works well and I am very pleased with this product.

I have no problem with people selling stuff on the internet. Businesses around the globe use the internet as a vehicle to market their products and services to tens of millions of people every day. The retail market on the internet is a multi-Billion dollar market which is growing larger by the day, worldwide.

Personally, I have no problem with people selling their stuff on the internet. I sell stuff myself.

Wow. Just... wow This is one of the stupidest -- and most fictitious -- responses to any posting I have ever posted, ever, in any online forum.

I have a few choice words for whoever it was that posted this and assumed it was any kind of reasonable argument regarding the insane amount of spam which is present on an hourly basis promoting Genbucks / Sancash products:

1) You are rather obviously a spammer, and not a geniune customer. I am not overtly biased when I say this: the only time I ever receive this kind of positive response regarding what 99.999% of the email receiving public KNOW to be an illegal scam is when it's posted by a spammer themselves, or someone else within the spammer hierarchy. This has been proven numerous times, on several forums. (Including my favorite one, which spammers chose to attack extensively.)

2) Since this is not a blog which rails against "people selling their stuff on the internet" (I have absolutely no problem with or, and you will notice I never mention any [comparatively] legitimate online retailers who sell legitimate products) your comment is completely off topic. Online e-commerce is a great idea, and the companies who operate above board and market to people who WANT to hear from them are not mentioned in this blog.

I notice you worded your comment in much the same way as most spam messages we all recieve. You "purchased the penis enlargement product". Really. Which would that be? You obviously don't want to date your response, since the name of this product has changed approximately 9 times in the past six months. Only a spammer of these "products" would make that kind of choice.

Do you want to know the exact date I "opted in" to receive spam on behalf of VPXL or Elite Herbal or Herbal Max? Or Spur-M? Or WonderCum? Want to take a blind guess?

I can save you the hassle (but since you're a spammer, you already know this): I have never "opted in" -- EVER -- to receive email promoting this product. I never would. I have absolutely no interest in any "penis enhancing product" of any sort, but assuming I ever did: I would never trust that product if the only way I ever heard about it was via spam from a fictitious address, sent to me when I did not actively request it. That's most likely because I have a brain.

But in spite of this crucial detail, here's how much of my daily email intake is solely responsible for promoting this "product":

I receive 40 - 60 messages PER DAY promoting VPXL to only one of my email accounts. To my other three accounts which receive this type of spam - none of which were created for anything other than automated reporting of web stats and the like - I receive several dozen emails per day. I have never given ANYONE permission to send email to those accounts, and no living human being has ever been told of their existence.

As a test last year, a colleague of mine created a Gmail account which he never even used. He set it up, verified it, and left it alone for a month. He told absolutely nobody what that gmail account was, and he never posted it anywhere, in any public forum.

That account, which no human being is at all aware of, and which has certainly never "opted in" to anything, is currently receiving from 60 - 70 spam messages per day (all caught by Gmail's filters) solely for VPXL.

Explain to me, anonymous, how this can ever be perceived as "legitimate marketing" by anyone. Whoever is sending to my colleagues Gmail account is clearly attempting to send to the entire internet population whether they want it or not. That is just a blatant abuse of public (and in this case, corporate) services and processes, and costs everyone a huge amount of money every single day. It's fraud, it's abuse, and it's promoting a "product" which has already widely proven to have no medicinal value whatsoever.

I know of absolutely NOBODY AT ALL within my circle of professional or personal relations who has ever asked to recieved email regarding penis enhancement products, ever. I'm talking in over ten years of seeing the word "penis" in my inbox (which I certainly don't enjoy), I have never, ever, at any time, known anyone who was actively seeking these products, or who had ever given anyone permission to email them regarding these bogus products.

That's only part 1.

Part 2 is: there is a slew of very well written scientific evidence, especially in light of the investigative journalism the ongoing daily barrage of this crap unwanted email has given rise to, which unequivocally proves: this product is 100% bullshit.

The recent BBC investigation went to both a penile health expert and a pharmacologist. I myself have had communication with more than a few pharmacists regarding Elite Herbal / Manster / Megadik and (now) VPXL / Express Herbals.

I quote from the BBC article posted by Richard Cox on the BBC website:

Two weeks after I placed my order a brown envelope arrived from India. Inside was a bottle of Manster pills and the promise of a month's worth of enhanced sexual performance - although there is no mention of penis enlargement.

I sent the list of herbal ingredients to David Schardt, a senior Nutritionist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest in Washington DC.

He couldn't find any evidence to show that most of the ingredients would have any effect. What had cost me £35, he said, I could pick up for 50p in India.

This is only the most public, and most recent example of the exposition of this product as an outright fraud. In light of the considerable law enforcement and media awareness of this case around the world, that you would choose to word your pathetic comment in similarly vague terms is unsurprising, but phenomenally stupid.

Your idiotic comment is only present on this blog to somehow promote positive page ranks towards spam-friendly sites, most likely fraudulent comment spam postings. You are incorrect. You're likely one of the spammers (possibly the one who sends me the dozens of spams per day promoting this retarded non-product.)

Don't waste my (or the public's) time with stupid "comments" on my blog like this one.

I chose not to publish that comment, and instead opted to highlight it in its own posting as yet another desperate ploy by a scumbag spammer (or colleague of a spammer) trying to weight this blog in such a way that it end up supporting VPXL spam runs. It's still in the comment queue as evidence (since, trust me, law enforcement is well aware of this blog.)

Telling me that "The retail market on the internet is a multi-Billion dollar market which is growing larger by the day, worldwide" is a nice broad, pointless, non-statistical statement. You are purposely missing the point:

  • Nobody opts in to VPXL spam. Nobody. There is absolutely no proof that the morons behind Sancash spam have ever used a targeted list, and this is borne out by numerous comments on pro-spam forums and the recent subversive actions of Sancash by attempting to hide their new affiliate program's location.

  • The product is arguably fake, and overpriced.

  • The product does not do what it claims

  • The sites lie: they claim to be secure, when they are not. My own research has uncovered that not even the back-end processes of any Genbucks or Sancash website operates with any sort of security whatsoever.

  • Their emails do whatever they can to get around spam filters, highlighting just how illegitimate their "marketing efforts" are. Numerous incoming messages promoting Elite Herbals are virtually unreadable. The only one who can compare on this level are the idiots behind "Canadian Pharmacy", whose emails abuse so many services it's impossible to list them all here.

  • Their "testimonials" are completely fake and known to be written by staff members.

This rogue (and I hasten to emphasize: anonymous) commenter is only proving just how stupid a spammer can be. The only people who ever post this kind of crap responses are spammers. I have NEVER seen anything to prove otherwise.

As a final note: this blog has never claimed to be the expert on this topic. You can search the entire internet and find a plethora of similar distaste for this "product" and the individuals who choose to spam in hopes of promoting it. It is next to impossible to find any posting which is positive or supportive of the relentless assault of spam promoting VPXL (etc.) Don't just take my word for it, look for yourself.

SiL / IKS / concerned citizen