Cutting Off Spammers at the Source, the Pink Sheets

I’ve preached before about boycotting merchants who use adware/spyware to advertise their products or their websites, because, cutting of the money flow will definitely kill the beast in the long run, if they can’t make a profit, they will move on. Same thing goes for spammers, and especially now it goes for spammers pushing those cheap stocks from the pink sheets. The SEC has suspended trading of 35 companies that are currently being pushed in spam emails, they are calling it Operation Spamalot. The suspensions will last for ten business days, starting today at 9:30 a.m., EDT, and will end at 11:59 p.m., EDT, on March 21, 2007.

Washington, D.C., March 8, 2007 – The Securities and Exchange Commission this morning suspended trading in the securities of 35 companies that have been the subject of recent and repeated spam email campaigns. The trading suspensions – the most ever aimed at spammed companies – were ordered because of questions regarding the adequacy and accuracy of information about the companies.

The trading suspensions are part of a stepped-up SEC effort – code named “Operation Spamalot” – to protect investors from potentially fraudulent spam email hyping small company stocks with phrases like, “Ready to Explode,” “Ride the Bull,” and “Fast Money.” It’s estimated that 100 million of these spam messages are sent every week, triggering dramatic spikes in share price and trading volume before the spamming stops and investors lose their money.

“When spam clogs our mailboxes, it’s annoying. When it rips off investors, it’s illegal and destructive,” said SEC Chairman Christopher Cox. “Today’s trading suspensions, and actions that will follow, should send a clear message to spammers: the SEC will hold you accountable.” Source: SEC Suspends Trading Of 35 Companies Touted In Spam Email Campaigns

The 35 companies are as follows:
Advanced Powerline Technologies Inc. (APWL), America Asia Petroleum Corp. (AAPM), Amerossi Int’l Group, Inc. (AMSN), Apparel Manufacturing Associates, Inc. (APPM), Asgard Holdings Inc. (AGHG), Biogenerics Ltd. (BIGN), China Gold Corp. (CGDC), CTR Investments & Consulting, Inc. (CIVX), DC Brands International, Inc. (DCBI), Equal Trading, Inc. (EQTD), Equitable Mining Corp. (EQBM), Espion International, Inc. (EPLJ), Goldmark Industries, Inc. (GDKI), GroFeed Inc. (GFDI), Healtheuniverse, Inc. (HLUN), Interlink Global Corp. (ILKG), Investigative Services Agencies, Inc. (IVAY), iPackets International, Inc. (IPKL), Koko Petroleum Inc. (KKPT), Leatt Corporation (LEAT), LOM Logistics, Inc. (LOMJ), Modern Energy Corp. (MODR), National Healthcare Logistics, Inc. (NHLG), Presidents Financial Corp. (PZFC), Red Truck Entertainment Inc. (RTRK), Relay Capital Corp. (RLYC), Rodedawg International Industries, Inc. (RWGI), Rouchon Industries, Inc. (RCHN), Software Effective Solutions Corp. (SFWJ), Solucorp Industries Ltd. (SLUP), Inc. (SSUF), UBA Technology, Inc. (UBTG), Wataire Industries Inc. (WTAF), WayPoint Biomedical Holdings, Inc. (WYPH), and Wineco Productions Inc. (WNCP).

Here is one example of how spam can affect the stock price, making some money for those already in or who bought early and dooming others to lose money.

On Friday, Dec. 15, 2006, shares in Apparel Manufacturing Associates, Inc. (APPM) closed at $.06, with a trading volume of 3,500 shares. After a weekend spam campaign distributed emails proclaiming, “Huge news expected out on APPM, get in before the wire, We’re taking it all the way to $1.00,” trading volume on Monday, Dec. 18, 2006, hit 484,568 shares with the price spiking to over 19 cents a share. Two days later the price climbed to $.45. By Dec. 27, 2006, the price was back down to $.10 on trading volume of 65,350 shares.

That is 39 cents more a share at peak, or if you invested $1,000 you could’ve made over $6,000 profit! Now, I’m not saying we should start buying stocks that are being spammed, far from it, but for everyone who bought low and sold high, there are probably a lot more who bought on the way up and ending up selling below what they paid, losing money. There are always winners and losers, and if you are like me, then you would’ve been a loser, at least in the stock market. The SEC has an information page, SEC’s Trading Suspension of 35 Companies Quoted on the Pink Sheets, including things like how to avoid Internet investment scams, pink sheets, and more.

Speaking of spam, the Google blog had a post today on these suspensions, Hitting spammers where it hurts, Brad Taylor, who works in Gmail, particularly in the spam section, in which he talks about stock spam, the report spam button in Gmail, etc.

How can you help in the fight? Your most powerful tool is the “Report Spam” button. Use it early and often. That isn’t just there to get the spammy message into the spam folder. It sends valuable information back to the spam team that helps us flag messages and senders so we can keep future messages out of your and millions of other inboxes. Source: Hitting spammers where it hurts

I don’t know which accounts he is watching, reading, whatever, but this past week or two, the spam I am receiving to one of my Gmail accounts has at least tripled, maybe even worse, but it is certainly noticeable, and I have been using the report spam button everyday and it hasn’t slowed anything down as far as I can tell, but, I guess it does because I no longer see those emails, just the “new” spam. So, I guess more and more spammers are hitting Gmail accounts, or at least my Gmail account.