It was a triumphant moment for the FTC, which said that the group had been linked to as much as a third of the junk e-mail on the Internet. In an with The New York Times, FTC Commissioner Jon Leibowitz was modest in his appraisal of the situation. "They were sending extraordinary amounts of spam," he said. "We are hoping at some level that this will help make a small dent in the amount of spam coming into consumers' in-boxes."
The FTC's HerbalKing operation grabbed a lot of headlines, but it didn't do much to reduce the amount of spam on the Internet, researchers say. Within a week, spam was as big of a problem as ever.
Instead, it took another operation, two weeks later, against the ISP (Internet service provider) McColo in San Jose, California, to really reduce the amount of spam. But although McColo appears to have been a playground for Internet criminals, no federal agency, not the FTC, not the FBI, not the Secret Service or the Department of Justice, was involved in shutting it down.
With McColo, Internet and reporter Brian Krebs essentially shamed ISPs Global Crossing and Hurricane Electric into dropping service for McColo, whose network had been associated with a range of illegal activity from hacked botnet computers to spam and even child pornography.
Unlike HerbalKing, the results after McColo's takedown were dramatic. About half of the spam on the Internet disappeared.