Especially long-memoried webcomics readers may recall a situation way the heck back in the early parts of the century when Penny Arcade and some other sites got into a situation with a company called eFront. Long story short, eFront was an ad network that wound up not paying a bunch of people, and potentially having legal claim on many of their affiliates (to the extent that perhaps they could have fired Gabe & Tycho and taken over the PA name). Whole thing blew up in their faces, and some leaked ICQ logs made their principal officer (one Sam Jain) and another affiliate webmaster named Tim Eckles look pretty bad. Ah, schadenfreude.
So why drag up old news?
Because this morning I happened to notice this story at British tech newsleter The Register, and it mentioned a name that stirred old memories. It seems that since getting out of the not paying webcomics business, Sam Jain has been in the fake spyware warning pop-ups that try to scam you into purchasing bogus malware protection business. Notorious scamware titles such as WinFixer, WinAntivirus, DriveCleaner and ErrorSafe are among those flogged by Mr Jain’s current venture. At present, he is being assessed $8000/day in a contempt citation for, among other things, not showing up to court to answer charges.
Unfortunately, the most persistant scam artists and unscrupulous business types tend to disappear and reappear at intervals — often revisiting a previous venture after it’s thought that everybody affected last time around has forgotten names and lessons learned. So let this serve as a reminder to all in webcomics (and everybody in any kind of venture, really) — while past actions are no predicter of future performance, Sam Jain has a history of bad behavior in our community, and should be looked upon with a weather eye should he resurface.