Meet the Guy Who Sues Spammers for a Living

Daniel Balsam is doing his part to clean up the Internet
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 27, 2010 11:17 AM CST
In this Dec. 22, 2010 photo, attorney Daniel Balsam, who hates spam so much that he launched a Website, poses outside in San Francisco.   (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(Newser) – Eight years ago, Daniel Balsam quit his job as a marketer and went to law school—all so that he could make a living by suing email spammers. "I feel like I'm doing a little bit of good cleaning up the Internet," says Balsam, who has racked up more than 40 victories and $1 million in court judgments and lawsuit settlements since he began his crusade with the launch of a website: His cases, which have appeared in small claims court and the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, usually center around companies Balsam accuses of violating California's anti-spam law, the AP reports.

The law requires companies to allow an "opt out" option, and prohibits them from misleading consumers with offers of supposedly "free" stuff. Though almost anyone with an email address probably applauds Balsam's efforts, the foes he's faced in court often accuse him of exploiting anti-spam laws and abusing small claims court. He has also been sued for allegedly violating confidentiality agreements, but he says most companies who sue him are simply retaliating against his lawsuits. Despite the efforts of Balsam, who has more than 100 email addresses, Cisco Systems estimates that 200 billion spam messages circulate each day.

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