Colorado’s “Spam King” agreed Tuesday to pay Microsoft Corp. more than $7 million to settle charges that he sent thousands of illegal e-mails to the company’s Hotmail service, reports the Denver Post. But the deal won’t put Scott Richter, 34, and his Colorado-based OptInRealBig.com out of business. They’re still prospering by sending legal e-mail marketing messages to willing recipients, the company said.
The deal is Microsoft’s largest spam-enforcement action to date, Microsoft attorney Aaron Kornblum said. The world’s largest software company has sued more than 100 spammers during the past two years. The company expects the settlement and its other lawsuits to reduce unsolicited e-mail, or spam, which at least one study says accounts for 80 percent of all e-mail in the United States. Microsoft and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer sued Richter and OptIn in December 2003, seeking $18 million. At the time, OptIn was the world’s third-largest spammer, sending 38 billion e-mails a year, they claimed. Richter, who has called himself the “Spam King,” settled with New York for $50,000 in July 2004, but Microsoft pursued the case, claiming damages of as much as $46 million, prompting Richter to file bankruptcy for himself and his company in March.