The Man Making A Living Suing Spammers

“We dine well here in Camelot, we eat ham and jam and Spam a lot.” —Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

In A Nutshell

Like waiting in line at the DMV and airplane food, spam emails have become a cliché of life’s little annoyances. It’s a status that’s been earned, as estimates are that 90 percent of email traffic worldwide is unsolicited junk. That’s around 73 trillion emails a year from a Nigerian prince offering knock-off pharmaceuticals (but only if you hurry). Back in 2002, a marketer named Dan Balsam was receiving a fair few of these when he decided he was sick of it. He quit his job to start law school, with the intention of suing the people creating the nuisance.

The Whole Bushel

By the time he graduated in 2008, he had already started suing dozens of email marketers. He lists over 50 success stories on his website and he has earned over $1 million in settlements and victories. He sees himself as a crusader taking on a problem, but others take a different view. Balsam’s arch nemesis is another lawyer, Bennet Kelley. Kelley claims Balsam is in it solely for the money and is taking advantage of the legal system for profit.

Criticisms of Balsam include the fact he targets out-of-state companies in California courts, who would save more by settling than trying to defend any claim. Balsam has over 100 email addresses, one for every company he ever needs to email. He says this helps him reduce spam, his critics says it’s so he can catch more spam and have more chances to sue. The organizations he targets have sued him right back for revealing confidential information from settlement clauses. Balsam claims these are nothing but revenge.

Among the problems Balsam has brought up are the practices of selling email addresses, as California law requires direct consent for marketing. California also forbids emails that are designed to look like they’re not marketing at all. He sued AdultFriendFinder after he received four emails from a fictional woman named “Rebecca” saying “I love you.” He says adult dating websites are the worst culprit in the industry, as their mails are often intended to deceive, and they fill their databases with fake women to pull in subscription fees.

Putting aside whether or not Balsam is a crusader for consumer rights or just as bad as those he takes to court (he’s been called a “lawsuit spammer” by his critics), spam emails don’t appear to be going away and Balsam intends to continue the fight, telling his opponents, “I’m not going away.”

Show Me The Proof

Phys Org: Man quits job, makes living suing e-mail spammers
Is Dan Balsam Hero or Villain?

  • Hadeskabir

    I love receiving spam as much I love when I am the 1.000.000 visitor in a website and I just won an Iphone.

  • CariHislop

    I say give him a Nobel Peace Prize! Freaking spammers ought to be flogged. I also hate unsolicited junk mail that pours through my door (filling up my recycling bin) or cold calls that interrupt my work to ask if I want a great deal on a conservatory or new windows. I hope he sues them all (and I generally hate the whole sue-happy culture).

  • Joseph

    I don’t understand this article. I’m currently waiting for my inheritance after finding out that I am a Nigerian Prince. I only had to send them 10,000 dollars and I’m going to get 20 million. If it’s on the interwebs, it has to be true. As a Nigerian Prince, I’m very offended by this article.

    • realitybites4you

      So you have Bennet
      Kelley, the mastermind, behind promising people their data is encrypted, when
      it wasn’t (can you say identity theft) and telling people they won a prize,
      harvesting their data and then charging them money — such a douche bag the
      company for which he controlled was fined $2.9 million dollars by the FTC.


      After being caught Bennet claims to be an advocate for victims of the Internet.

      It gets better. Bennet is linked up with Michael Roberts, the Internet Bounty
      Hunter, Rexxfield, who claims he and Bennet will be putting all the gripe sites
      out of business through vexatious lawsuit and the launching of their new gripe
      site to once again steal unsuspecting people’s identities.

      The big issue here reaches far beyond common extortion and intimidation, by a
      lawyer, Roberts is bragging about how he soon will be king of the grip of the
      gripe sites and shut down Pissed Consumer and other sites. 1483d91

      Here is the original
      FTC Court case and claim

      If you have had issues
      with Bennet Gerard Kelley the Internet Attorney, you must report this to the
      District Attorney of Santa Monica Terry White e mail is

      Do not let Bennet
      Kelley get away with harassing you online or filing fake police reports. He is a liar and is no longer allowed to
      write for Santa Monica Free Press.
      Shortly he will no longer be writing for Huffington (another FREE gig) or
      his a.m. radio blog (also FREE)

      Make sure he has no
      paying jobs at all. Bennet Kelley
      continues to boast about being the “Legal Counsel” for Value Click. He is no longer their counsel that is a lie.

  • Phil_42

    Stick it to the Man, Dan!

  • Errkism

    Who cares if he is only doing it for money, everybody hates these spammers. Regardless of his reason, he’s making them pay.

  • Stefan

    Who CARES about his motivation? he’s doing the right thing,

  • JRHatt

    “He’s doing it for the money”. Those damn spammers are doing it for the money, too.

  • Dan

    If I had met this guy sometime in my life, he would still be my friend.
    “He’s just suing for money”…. Are you serious? Isn’t just about everything a half-motivated person does for the sake of gain? Whether it be finance, romance, glory… what have you.
    It’s called capitalism, jump on the butt-plug!… Or go to Canada.

  • MissKingdomVII

    Damn why didn’t I think of this? Lol!

  • strukef

    Spam e-mails, especially those translated into my native language using Google translator, always make my day.