AccuraScience at 188.8.131.52/31 is listed… and cartooneyed us!
The following gems were posted by Justin Li:
I have made my points abundantly clear and have no intent to conduct further discussion with you.
Consider yourself warned, however. If the activity of your organization results in financial loss of profit of a legitimate commercial entity conducting legal business, your organization and the individuals responsible will be sued in court.
You do understand that you cannot quote any part of what I wrote – in this two-party, private conversation – in your post on the Internet, without my explicit consent, don’t you? This is violation of my privacy and copyright, and is prohibited by law. If you have done this already, you must take actions to cancel it immediately.
This is the end of this conversation. Any further messages from your address to this address will be considered as harassment.
Sorry to tell you, but our email exchanges do not meet the requirement for copyrightability. To be copyrightable, a work must be an original work of authorship that is fixed in a tangible medium of expression. These requirements are often shortened to creativity and fixation. There is nothing creative about anything either of us said. As for your expectations of privacy in general, if you don’t want something made public, don’t send it to us. Where we are, letters received are the recipient’s property to do with as they please.
AccuraScience, a website run by Anonymous:
[whois.godaddy.com] Domain Name: ACCURASCIENCE.COM ... Registrant Name: Registration Private Registrant Organization: Domains By Proxy, LLC
spammed our traps with their solicitations the other day, and hence we listed their IP addresses. The spams contain this gem:
“This email was sent to you because our data-driven analysis suggested that there is high likelihood that you would be interested in the information provided in it. We are still improving our algorithm, however, thus it is possible that this email was mis-targeted. We apologize if this is indeed the case, and would appreciate your notifying us by clicking this <a href=”http://www.accurascience.com/x/php/qurl.php?unsubscribe_id=’x’&mid=0.x”>unsubscribe link</a>. This will prevent similar messages from reaching you in the future. Meanwhile, it will help us improve our analysis algorithm. Thank you very much
Followup conversation with Dr Justin T Li contained any number of quotes from the excellent Spam Is That Which We Don’t Do document, unfortunately all in earnest, displaying a surprising degree of ignorance of the scalability of spam quite unfitting of a data scientist.
We recommend not doing business with those who figure it is their right to take a dump in your inbox.
Finally, here is the unabridged spam apology from Dr Justin T Li.
Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2014 17:34:04 -0500
From: Justin Li <justin.li at us.accurascience.com>
To: ScientificSpam DNSBL Admin <rocket.scientist at scientificspam.net>
Cc: AccuraScience <[email protected]>
Subject: Re: 184.108.40.206 listed by the ScientificSpam.net DNSBL
It is an interesting service that you are running. I looked up your website but could not find the information about what organization your is, or where you are located. It looks as if this is a shell company of some sort. Honestly, this does not offer a sense that this is a reputable organization. Nor does the username (rocket.scientist). It almost feels like a toy made by an angry teenager of some sort.
Anyhow, I do understand, however, why you think what you are running represents an honorable course, because I was on that other side of the table myself. We get bombarded with unwanted email messages – some containing wrong and misleading information. People feel that their privacy is violated when they receive email messages that they did not sign up for themselves, many of which seem irrelevant to their interest.
However, this is how any kind of marketing works, isn’t it? When you turn on the TV and see an ad, do you protest and say “I did not opt in to receive this message”? How big proportion of the TV ads you see are actually relevant to your interest?
Yes, you can choose to turn off the TV if you do not like the ad. Similarly, you can choose to ignore and delete a marketing email if you are not interested. Is there any difference?
I believe what really matters is whether the messages contain authentic information that can actually help a proportion of the recipients. For the proportion of people who received our messages and used our services, the feedback has been overwhelming positive. I copy some of these customers’ testimonials in case you are interested:
– We are highly impressed with AccuraScience’s capabilities and services. Their knowledge and insight in both the problem domain (evolutionary biology) and the data analysis practice (computer science and statistics) as well as their willingness to go the extra mile to help us professionally as their clients was truly superb and remarkable. I wish to thank the company in providing generously professional and courteous help. Such cases are rare and deserve the highest gratitude and deep appreciation. I recommend the company to anybody who needs skillful bioinformatic analysis and competent data analysis advice to use their services. – By Dr. Eviatar Nevo, Professor of Evolutionary Biology, Foreign Associate National Academy of Sciences, USA, University of Haifa, Israel.
– I really appreciated your timely and excellent service for the whole genome sequence analysis in this PNAS paper. Your company website was cited in this high-impact publication. I am very satisfied with your professional, skillful and high-quality service. In particular, the bioinformatics knowledge and expertise in your team were very impressive. Your team created new approaches/tools to solve the tough scientific questions during the process of whole genome sequence analysis, which will hopefully improve the data analysis in this field. Also, I wish to thank you for the courteous help (more focus on science) and generous extra-time service. I would be certainly more than happy to recommend your company to other customers who need best-quality next generation sequencing bioinformatics analysis. – By Dr. Wenhui Hu, Associate Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Temple University School of Medicine.
– We used the expertise of AccuraScience to help us make sense of our NGS data and found them to be competent, efficient and courteous. They took the time to discuss our project’s objectives so they could customize their analysis to fulfill these aims. The Lead Bioinformatician helping us was very accessible and patient in explaining the various analysis strategies and the significance of the data each method would generate. In addition, the data was obtained at a reasonable cost and within a very reasonable time frame. I would recommend the skill and expertise of the AccuraScience team to anyone needing to perform NGS bioinformatics. – By Dr. Anthony. J. Demetris, Starzl Professor of Liver and Transplant Pathology, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
They all left their real identities in their testimonials, thus you are welcome to confirm directly with them.
The practice of batch sent emails has a bad reputation, largely for historical reasons. People are tired of scams and fraudulent messages that plagued the Internet. But one has to cut a line between what’s legitimate batch emails and what is not. I think it makes more sense to cut this line based on whether the information provided is authentic and potentially useful for the recipients, rather than based on whether the recipients have explicitly “opted in” or not.
Just as in other issues related to law, this is not a clear-cut issue. In the United States, it is perfect legal to send batch emails to people without opting in, and I find this make sense, because if you ban this practice, then all advertisements on TV, magazines and all other traditional marketing channels should be banned by the same token.
Some other countries do have laws that require explicit opting in. I do not see how this can work, however. For one, the purpose of marketing is to spread the word to those who have not known about your products/services. If explicit opting in is required, then this means they already know about your products/services, and it is not marketing any more. For two, in practice, how do I get these people to opt in? One way is that I approach them, right? But how? Maybe I send them a first email asking if they are interested in receiving our marketing messages, and if they reply and say yes, then that’s a confirmation of opting-in. The thing is, when I send them the first email, it is already a message sent without explicit opting in. This just does not work.
You will say, I should not approach them. Instead, I should wait for them to approach us instead. Once again, if they know they want to approach me, then they already know about our products/services, and by definition, this is no longer marketing.
What we often see is that a customer attends an event, and the organizer of the event asks the customer whether they want to sign up for “related” mailing lists. Without knowing much about what those “related” mailing lists are, the customer agrees to sign up. This is then taken as evidence that the customer has “opted in” explicitly. I trust your intelligence to see that this is nothing but a cheating scheme, because the customer did not actually what he/she was signing up for when he/she did. Anyway, I hope you have realized that this so-called opting in requirement presents severe logical problems – this is simply not something that can work.
Bottom-line is, people may not see it this way every day, but marketing effort with honest and authentic messages make people’s lives better. They may frown when they see a message that they see as irrelevant. But this is how legitimate businesses make their lives better by the day, and promote the advance of science by the day (the latter applies to our business).
I do not expect a small talk like this will lead to a change of your mind about how useful/honorable your operation is. But I do hope you can start to think about these things at a different angle. These are complicated matters and we need to think about them as such. Thank you and hope you have a good one.