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Secretary of State Websites

  Games, Laziness and Lies, Oh My! (Cloudmark Q2 2016 Security Thread Report)
A new interview with me about the current state of spamming.

Is Dan Balsam Hero or Villain? (PerformInsider.com, August 31, 2012)
A fairly balanced article, even if some of the content and quotes are a little outdated.  I have no problem with spammers and affiliate networks thinking I'm a villain, since "the people" think I'm a hero.  I'm pleased that the article quotes my statement that a buying and selling lists of email addresses by definition means that the recipient is not giving "direct consent" to the advertiser, as required by California law to send commercial email.

Balsam v. Trancos Inc.: The Insider's Perspective on the First Spam Trial in California (Trial Lawyer, Summer 2012)
The editor asked me to write an article about the Trancos trial (and subsequent appeal, and petition to the Cal. Supremes)... all of the background that puts the rulings in their proper context.  I hope this encourages more plaintiffs to sue spammers.  Update: Since we wrote the article, Trancos has filed papers asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case, supposedly because there's a hopeless muddle of rulings on the question of preemption.  [Note: This article is hosted on www.calspam.com.]

Spam, Spam, and More Spam (California Lawyer, June 2011)
The article's mostly correct, although it doesn't really present the full story, like that I do a lot of work in superior court (not just small claims), that I have other clients, and that while two large judgments haven't been collectible, I've recovered a lot of money for myself and my clients through settlements because spammers/spamvertisers don't want to face me (or Timothy Walton) in court.  On the other hand, the reporter called me "thin," so that's a plus.

Man Quits Job, Makes Living Suing Spammers (Associated Press, December 26, 2010
The reporter got a few facts slightly wrong, but this is a pretty accurate and mostly positive article about me that will hopefully bring more attention to the cause.  The article was written by an AP reporter, so it's all over the place, e.g., Yahoo, USA Today, Huffington Post, etc.

And the resulting TV appearances:

•  Fox News Channel, Dec. 27, 2010
•  Fox News, Dec. 28, 2010
•  CBS (San Francisco) Consumer Watch, Dec. 28, 2010
•  MSNBC, Dec. 29, 2010
•  NBC The Today Show, Dec. 31, 2010
•  CNN, Jan. 8, 2011

And one of the radio appearances:
•  KGO (ABC) Radio San Francisco, Dec. 31, 2010 (This is an hour long mp3, with far more actual legal content than the brief TV appearances)

And two of the subsequent print articles:
•  Is Dan Balsam a Menace or Hero? Anti-Spam Crusader Defends Accusations and Provides Advice to Industry (This article, the result of an email interview, goes into a little more depth on some of the issues raised in the original AP article)
•  And Newsweek says Balsam's Awesome (Jan. 10-17, 2011)

You Don't Wanna Mess With Dan, Who Hates Spam (LegalPad - a Recorder Blog, June 8, 2010
I am representing a group of plaintiffs suing a "social networking" website for unauthorized commercial use of people's names without permission, accessing email accounts without permission, misappropriation of confidential information, and other unlawful acts.  Last year, after I personally beat this company in small claims court, it considered hiring me to sue spammers hitting its own users.  That employment never happened, and the company never gave me any confidential information, but that didn't stop its attorneys from trying to disqualify me from the current case.  The judge saw through their shenanigans and denied the motion.

Anti-Spam Crusader Beats Spammers in Court (SFWeekly.com, Mar. 17, 2010)
S.F. Lawyer Awarded $7K From Email Spammer (SFGate.com, Mar. 16, 2010)
In the first case to go to trial in California brought by a spam recipient (other than small claims court), the Court awarded me $1,000 for each false & deceptive spam.

Proposed Anti-Spam Law Would Make Lawsuits Easier (MediaPost,
April 22, 2008)
Well, our goal isn't really to make lawsuits easier, it's to crack down on false & deceptive spam.  This article provides a little more detail on how we intend to accomplish it.  I like the quote from the "State Privacy and Security Coalition," which reinforces that some people's priority is avoiding legal exposure, as opposed to actually stopping false & deceptive spam.  Note also that AOL publicly stated that they're on board to help fight spam, which is interesting, since a week ago, in the Judiciary hearing, the AOL lobbyist opposed even a simple statement of intent.  We'll see what happens next.

On the New Anti-Spam Law (KCBS Radio,
April 18, 2008)
Click here to download an MP3 file (1.3MB), or here to listen to streaming audio from EveryZing.com.

Bill Toughening Anti-Spam Law in Works (SFGate.com, April 18, 2008)
Yes, in all my spare time, I co-wrote a stronger anti-spam law for California that attempts to close up some loopholes and clarify some ambiguities in the current law, to the extent that Congress permitted the states to regulate false and deceptive spam.  That means that the new proposed law only targets falsity & deception... companies that do not use false & deceptive spam have nothing to worry about.  The proposed bill is intended to protect consumers, business who receive email, and businesses who send truthful email.  The proposed bill, AB 2950, is sponsored by Assemblymember Jared Huffman, and currently opposed by the American Electronics Association, for reasons that seem to be more focused on avoiding litigation than on actually addressing the real problem of false and deceptive spam.

"Block this guy - he is the next Dan Balsam :)"
Allegedly in an email sent by an ad network to its affiliates, warning them not to send spam to someone who apparently is as litigious as I am.  I'm quite happy and flattered that my name has become shorthand for "Here's someone who will sue you if you send unlawful spam."  Posted on a blog on February 17, 2007.  (Click here for a pdf in case the site goes down at some point.)  It's interesting, as the poster points out, that the network condescendingly refers to people who have the audacity to stand up for their legal rights as "whiners" and "complainers."

How to Win the War Against Spam / Top Spammer / Can You Legally Fight Spam? (PC Quest, August 2005)

Spam King Goes Bankrupt (OReilly.com, March 9, 2005)

Microsoft: Spammer in Tucson Owes $7.4 Million (
Arizona Daily Star, January 1, 2005)

Anti-Spammers on Attack (InternetNews.com, September 24, 2004)

Fighting Spam (ABC-7 News-Los Angeles, July 29, 2003)
  • Dan Balsam fights back in court… and wins.
  • Earthlink reports a 5x increase in spam in the last 18 months, and manages to filter out 60-70% before it gets to subscribers’ emailboxes.
  • Tips to avoid spam: Always opt-out of all promotions when registering at a website, use “disposable” email addresses, and never reply to spam – even to unsubscribe.

Click to view MPEG (50MB)
Right-click and save-target-as to download zipped MPEG (36MB)

(Be patient; these are big files.)

Spam’s Big Bang (Time Magazine, June 16, 2003)

© 2002-present, Daniel Balsam