LOS ANGELES: Lawyers acting for MySpace this week won a landmark case against two notorious spammers, when a federal judge awarded the NewsCorp-owned social networking site $230 million damages against Sanford Wallace and Walter Rines.

According to MySpace chief security officer Hemanshu Nigam, Wallace and Rines created their own MySpace accounts or assumed existing identities by stealing passwords through 'phishing'.

They then emailed other MySpace members,  "asking them to check out a cool video or another cool site. When you [got] there, they were making money trying to sell you something or making money based on hits or trying to sell ringtones."

Following the judgement Nigam was in chest-thumping mode: "MySpace has zero tolerance for those who attempt to act illegally on our site," he thundered. "We remain committed to punishing those who violate the law and try to harm our members." 
But it is almost certainly a hollow victory and MySpace will probably have to whistle for its money.

Neither Rines nor Wallace showed up at the court hearing and although they are thought to be somewhere in the vicinity of Las Vegas, their exact whereabouts is unknown.

Data sourced from Business Week / Associated Press; additional content by WARC staff