NICK DOUGLAS — You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy than the bowels of the Internet, where you could be swallowed by the Spam King to be digested over a thousand years or trapped in a battle with a patent troll. Here are the Internet's monsters on display, ending with the ultimate slimeball who disgusts everyone from Boing Boing to Craigslisters to Fox News.
Leo Stoller, trademark troll: Google sued this lunatic last week for harassing the company claiming to own the trademark for "Google." Google Watch points out Stoller's blog, where the "entrepreneur" writes intellectual property commentary illustrated by pictures of beautiful women. The kook has also sued companies claiming to own the trademark for the word "stealth." A federal court has named him a "vexatious litigant" for the thousands of motions he's filed.
Alan Ralsky, spam king: FBI agents raided the $750k Michigan mansion of this ex-con millionaire spammer in 2005 and took his equipment, thus shutting down his business. He's been MIA since some time last year; the hacker community first thought he was being detained and grilled by the Feds.
Raymond Niro, patent troll: Niro's tactic is to help a client buy a patent, then sue others for infringing on that patent on behalf of his client. An attorney for Intel invented the term "patent troll" to define Niro in 2001. Because of him and his followers, says Law.com, companies have started lobbying Congress for patent reforms to punish companies that own patents they didn't invent and don't use.
Vardan Kushnir, spam czar: This Moscow spammer, who reportedly spammed the entire population of Russia with ads for his language courses (reaching up to 25 million e-mail users), spent his free time clubbing around and making sexy time until his murder at the age of 35. He didn't endear himself with the authorities or the press. According to Wired, after three women (who came home with him) drugged him and their friends joined in beating him to death, a Moscow paper announced "THE SPAMMER HAD IT COMING."
Jason Fortuny, Craigslist griefer: I covered this jerk's Craigslist hoax last year. Fortuny is one of those guys who posted a fake W4M ad on Craigslist, then published the e-mailed responses. While Fortuny's actions are unethical and almost definitely illegal, some of his would-be suitors were hard to sympathize with (such as — warning, link contains dongs — the unfortunately named Microsoft employee Jerry Cummings, who apparently took a dick pic at work). Still, Wired News called Fortuny a sociopath. Blogger Lou Cabron got the last laugh by posting the details of Fortuny's life.
Michael Crook, griefer, armed forces hater, fake copyright crook: Crook came to the Net's attention when he stole Fortuny's trick and posted his own fake Craigslist ad, also posting the replies online. But as Lou Cabron wrote at 10 Zen Monkeys, the crazy runs deep in this one. Crook also has a history appearing on Fox News, where Sean Hannity (not usually one I'd call the moral voice) ripped him a new one for his site "ForsakeTheTroops.com." Crook has explained to a Blue Star Mother why he spews hatred toward American troops: "It's all about the money, bitch." Tough words from a little man. Once bloggers started posting video and screencaps from his Fox News appearance (to illustrate the Craigslist griefing story), he sent takedown notices to the bloggers and their ISPs, claiming he owned the copyright on Fox's footage. Finally the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued him to shut him up and defend bloggers from his harassment. Crook has also called bloggers impersonating fictional characters, including his own fictional gay lover. Someone help this boy get some oxygen to his brain.