Thursday, June 15, 2006
From: Susan Arenella, Attorney
Re: Clarification to June 2 article
Regarding the story “Note to Spam King: You Got Nailed” (by Howard Witt, June 2), I am requesting clarification of statements in the article. When Mr. Witt contacted me last week regarding my association with Mr. Ryan Pitylak, a client of mine who was the subject of the June 2 article, he introduced himself and spoke very quickly, asking me to answer questions regarding Mr. Pitylak, whose name he mispronounced. I asked him to repeat who he was asking me about. He repeated Mr. Pitylak’s name, pronouncing it differently, and further identified Mr. Pitylak in relation to “Unlock City,” a business name which I then recognized. He then asked me if I had filed corporate papers for Unlock City. I confirmed to him that Mr. Pitylak is my client, but that I could not comment on his questions until I had an opportunity to discuss them with my client. I repeated this statement to Mr. Witt several times as he continued to ask further questions. As you know, I am ethically obligated to keep the specifics of any of my clients’ cases confidential unless I have obtained permission from them to do otherwise.
However, Mr. Witt’s article states that “Susan Arenella, the attorney who filed the papers for Pitylak and whose signature appears on the [corporate] documents, said she did not know who Pitylak was…” This is a grossly inaccurate statement. Mr. Witt’s discussion of Mr. Pitylak’s recent abandonment of an assumed name falsely implies that there was some type of “assumed name” cover up regarding Mr. Pitylak’s new business, which is not the case. In fact, Mr. Pitylak instructed me to file the assumed name, Unlock Austin, for his new Internet city guide business to make it applicable to the Austin market, and then simply changed his mind as to which of his companies would carry the new name. Unlock Austin is by no means a secret. It is still the assumed name publicly filed under Mr. Pitlyak’s limited partnership and is currently the domain name that Mr. Pitylak has registered on the World Wide Web for his new company.
I would appreciate an immediate clarification of these points with regard to the article. Or, at least publish this letter. Thank you in advance for your response.
Susan Arenella, Attorney
901 South Mopac Expressway
Barton Oaks Plaza One, Suite 300
Austin, Texas 78746
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
The news of the Texas Attorney General lawsuit has been released.
I am pleased to announce that I am now a part of the anti-spam community, having started an internet security company – Pitylak Security – that offers my clients advice on systems to protect against spam.
Over time I have come to see how I was wrong to think of spam as just a game of cat and mouse with corporate email administrators. I now understand why so much effort is put into stopping it.
The settlements with Microsoft and the Attorney General’s office have been a serious reality check: harsh, but good, and in the public’s best interest.
I’m now working earnestly to help other entrepreneurs avoid the traps that deceived me and led me to make questionable business choices.
As a recent graduate from the University of Texas with honors degrees in economics and philosophy, it's my goal to apply what I've learned and use my entrepreneurial talents to help others.
- Ryan Pitylak
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
My main motive for providing my anti-spam services is to help out the anti-spam community. That desire is first and foremost. I really feel strongly about making a difference in the fight against spam, and I truly believe that I have some knowledge that can be helpful in that fight. Please visit my Combat Spam blog for some posts and comments that talk about the spam problem and solutions to those problems. This is an ongoing discussion that I hope continues so that I can continue to help out members of the internet community.
In non-public settings I can talk about the tricks that spammers use and the structures spammers setup to send out email. I do not feel comfortable speaking about these issues publicly because I do not want to give spammers any ideas.
I understand that it'll take time to build people's trust. The settlement of the civil lawsuits are an important step for me so that I can start down the path of rebuilding trust (however long that might take). I've learned a lot since I was in the email business. My economics training taught me to think about the economy as a whole. It taught me to think about my actions in terms of everyone involved, not just the stakeholders in my company. I used to have a very narrow view of what a corporation was supposed to do. However, the combination of a business ethics class and an economics theory class helped me to understand that corporations (and it's members) must think about their impact on everyone that interacts with the business.
Monday, June 05, 2006
I've given a lot of thought to that question - I haven't really been able to pinpoint a moment in time where I woke up in the middle of the night and had an "A-ha" moment.
If anything, I look back to some of the classes I was taking while the lawsuit was proceeding and I am now remembering my micro-economic theory class where we learned about the "Tragedy of the commons." The textbook was written by David Besanko and Ronald R. Braeutigam and they emphasized the problem of the tragedy of the commons. Mcgraw-Hill defines this problem as "The over-use of a natural resource as a result of unclear property rights. If ownership of a resource is not established, everyone has an incentive to take as much of it as possible, quickly depleting the resource. A typical example is the decline in the fish population resulting from over-fishing of the ocean."
Once I thought about this I realized that the internet had unclear ownership rights and that over-exploiting the unclear ownership rights was wrong. I decided that I wanted to be part of the solution to help bring clarity to who has the ownership rights. I think that the individual person and the internet service provider have the right to control what email comes through their network. I also think that the government is necessary to control the spam problem.
I hope this helps to clear up the reason why I made the transition into the anti-spam community. I feel very strongly about working with the anti-spam community, and I truly want to become a part of the solution.