VISA and priorities

A couple of years ago, various anti-spammers discussed how the credit-card payment processing companies were perfectly placed to disrupt the spam economy, by tracking down spammers through “poison pill” transactions. Nothing happened from that, though, and spam is now a bigger problem than ever.

Today, I hear that the Russian MP3 site, AllOfMP3, have lost their account with Visa to process credit-card payments.

In other words, it sounds like the banks are happy enough to close off filesharing, but couldn’t be bothered dealing with spam…

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  1. Posted October 18, 2006 at 23:21 | Permalink

    Why not start a SpamAssassin “affinity card” program that anti-spammers could use to show merchants their dislike of spam and to fund someone to make poison pill purchases?

  2. Posted October 19, 2006 at 09:06 | Permalink

    Hmm, they just accepted a Mastercard payment. They’re using, a third party payment provider; a few months ago, it was someone else, someone not based in Moldova.

  3. Posted October 19, 2006 at 11:15 | Permalink

    Don —

    the “poison pill” idea, unfortunately, requires someone inside the banking infrastructure.

    The idea is that certain credit card number(s) are “poison pill” numbers. The transaction is processed as normal, but the bank tracks the money trail, resolving it down to the payment-processing account it is processed through. That account can then be locked, or the identity of the person or company behind it can be used for prosecution. Either way, it requires the bank’s help; outsiders cannot determine this info, as far as I know.

  4. David Malone
    Posted October 19, 2006 at 18:53 | Permalink

    I know someone who is registered with AllOfMP3 and the one-time address that they used to register now gets a lot of particularly nasty porn spam. Maybe visa are accidently getting at spammers ;-)

  5. Posted October 19, 2006 at 21:09 | Permalink

    Justin, yes, that’s why you make it an affinity card program — you tell a card issuing bank “We can deliver you n SpamAssassin card users/spam haters as customers if you agree to give our investigators special low-limit accounts and act on their abuse reports.”

  6. Posted October 20, 2006 at 16:34 | Permalink

    oh, that is a nifty idea ;)