SurplusDirect Boycott 

What is SurplusDirect?

SurplusDirect is a company that sells a variety of surplus, used, or refurbished items, including computer equipment. Granny's Specials, a division of SurplusDirect, sells and auctions off this material.

So what? Why the boycott?

We urge everyone, especially GeoCitizens, to boycott SurplusDirect because of their tendency to harass people with unsolicited junk Email, otherwise known as spam. They get your address one way or another (either by trolling newsgroups, buying Email address lists from other spammers, or getting your address from your homepage, most likely) and send unwanted junk mail to your address near-daily. Once on their spamming list, they make it such a hassle to get off that most users would rather just receive the junk than go through the trouble of attempting to unsubscribe. GeoCities "homesteaders" are at an added disadvantage in that the free Email address provided by GC is receive-only, making it all but impossible to unsubscribe without falsifying your return address with an Email hack (This is against the TOS of most Internet Service Providers, and may cause you to have your account revoked.). SurplusDirect knows this fact well, and will often ignore your correspondence to their company, saying to themselves, "We're not afraid of you. You're just some li'l kid with a free Geocities home page." Click here to jump to the bottom of this page, which gives a sample of the crap SD will put you through to unsubscribe from their junkmail.

What can I do?

First, stay away from SurplusDirect. Don't let them get hold of your Email address. A trick they used in the near past was to send a message to the effect of  "Visit our homepage and get 50 free Georewards credits! Please enter your Email address in the space provided to confirm your eligibility for the Georewards program and have your credits added to your account..." to Geocities homesteaders. (What they do not tell you is that by filling in this address you are giving your consent to be spammed!)  Also, stay away from any offers from SD promising a chance to win free merchandise, especially if an Email address is requested to validate the order or inform you whether or not you have won, etc.

Second, inform them of your participation.  Using this mailto: link,, or this mailto: link,, you can tell the company itself that you are taking part in the boycott. This letter to the company will let them know in a firm but polite manner that their actions will not be tolerated by the GeoCities community.

Third, inform others of this boycott. While personally refusing their business is a start, it's a given that few people will know about this movement without being told. It is statistically unlikely that many people will randomly stumble onto this page; if you did, consider yourself one of the privileged few to do so. Please use whatever means you choose to tell your friends (you have friends, don't you?) and help keep this beast from growing further.
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Our Ordeal

The following is a sampling of the hoops we were forced to jump through in attempting to unsubscribe from SD's spam list. Due to space limitations (and boredom considerations) we will not post the entirety of these messages. The following is merely a taste.

(This was the original message we sent in response to their unsolicited mail, requesting a simple 'JOIN UNS' in the body of the message in order to unsubscribe.)

Subject: JOIN UNS
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 1997 21:23:32 -0500

(This is the reply sent by their auto-mailer machine)

Subject: Command confirmation request (1894FD)
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 07:06:48 -0700
From: "L-Soft list server at Surplus Direct (1.8c)" <LISTSERV@SDEM1.SURPLUSDIRECT.COM>

                                JOIN UNS

has been received. For security reasons, you are now required to reply to
this  message, as  explained  below,  to confirm  the  execution of  your
command. Note  that the security  level of the  list is under  list owner
control,  and that  is the  person  you should  contact if  you have  any
complaint about security procedures.

To confirm  the execution of  your command,  simply reply to  the present
message and type  "ok" (without the quotes) as the  text of your message.
Just the word "ok" - do not  retype the command. This procedure will work
with any mail  program that fully conforms to the  Internet standards for
electronic  mail. If  you receive  an error  message, try  sending a  new
message  to LISTSERV@SDEM1.SURPLUSDIRECT.COM  (without using  the "reply"
function - this  is very important) and  type "ok 1894FD" as  the text of
your message.

Finally,  your command  will be  cancelled  automatically if  you do  not
confirm it  within 48h. After that  time, you must start  over and resend
the command to get  a new confirmation code. If you  change your mind and
decide that  you do NOT want  to confirm the command,  simply discard the
present message and let the command expire on its own.

(The following is the 'confirmation' message we sent, in exact accordance with their machine's request)

Subject: Re: Command confirmation request (1894FD)
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 15:53:08 -0500
To: "L-Soft list server at Surplus Direct (1.8c)" <LISTSERV@SDEM1.SURPLUSDIRECT.COM>
References: 1

(And this is yet another confirmation request! Think of it as a 'confirmation confirmation' request. In addition, they feel it necessary to output a CPU usage summary to let you know just how insignificant you are!)

Subject: Output of your job "bgip"
Date: Mon, 18 Aug 1997 13:53:02 -0700
From: "L-Soft list server at Surplus Direct (1.8c)" <LISTSERV@SDEM1.SURPLUSDIRECT.COM>

BTW, doesn't this sound more like a subscribe request? Obviously we could go on and on, but do not feel it necessary to post the error messages it sent back saying 'bgip' doesn't exist in their records, etc. Nor will we post the manual request to SD's only human-operated address we sent "from" using a mail-hack (but this is because the program doesn't save the outgoing mail). This message politely informed the company that their mail was not wanted, this was not our first attempt to unsubscribe and that we could not use the 'automatic' unsubscribe. It also stated that if further mail was received from their company we may be forced to pursue legal action. We will, however, post our next two messages to the company, sent with a real mail client. ...

Subject: Do not mail me again.
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 1997 22:53:21 -0500

These messages have so far been ignored by the company. In the next and (for now) final message, we pose as a software company and provide phony domain names in hopes of being taken seriously by SD, as the 'some kid on a Geocities free webpage' mindset prevents them from listening otherwise.

Subject: This is your final warning.
Date: Thu, 05 Sep 1996 18:49:59 -0500

The spam has continued. At this point, we created our anti-spam pages and this boycott.

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