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‘Dead spammer’ story a hoax

Update: yep, it’s spam.

Earlier today, Digg and Reddit featured this story:

Alexey Tolstokozhev (btw, in Russian his name means ‘Thick Skin’), a Russian spammer, found murdered in his luxury house near Moscow. He has been shot several times with one bullet stuck in his head. According to authorities, this last head shot is a clear mark of russian hit men (known as “killers” in Russia).

Since then, it’s received plenty of attention — I even posted it to my link blog myself. Unfortunately, I’m now certain it’s a fake. (Igor at the McAfee AVERT blog concurs.)

Here are my reasons:

  • There are still no corroborating stories in the press, several hours later;

  • ‘Alexey Tolstokozhev’ doesn’t appear in ROKSO, or even Google;

  • The entire site claims to have been shut down due to load, all except for that one page — there isn’t a single link that can be reached that works;

  • Indeed, Google has no other pages indexed on that site, which is pretty odd for a weblog;

  • And most fishy of all, the domain was registered yesterday, using a privacy-protection service, on Estdomains (which has a poor reputation).

All very fishy. My guess is that in a week’s time, that page will be a linkfarm, picking up all that Google juice for free. In other words, is a spam site…

Update: Greetings, Slashdot comment readers! Hopefully that uncritical article (which was posted after this one) will be fixed to note the hoax soon…

Other voices have since added their agreement — Alex Eckelberry at Sunbelt software added his a few minutes after I posted this, and the Register wrote an article this morning about it.

(BTW, just to save some face — I’d like to note that I smelled a rat at the time I posted it initially, qualifying the link with a sceptical ‘hmm’. I’m not that gullible ;)

Update 2: the /. story was fixed by Zonk: ‘Good story. Unfortunately, probably a fake.’