AOL

Body Found in Canada Identified as Neo-Nazi Spam King

The body of a man found shot inside a burned out vehicle in Canada three years ago has been identified as that of Davis Wolfgang Hawke, a prolific spammer and neo-Nazi who led a failed anti-government march on Washington, D.C. in 1999, according to news reports.

Homicide detectives said they originally thought the man found June 14, 2017 in a torched SUV on a logging road in Squamish, British Columbia was a local rock climber known to others in the area as a politically progressive vegan named Jesse James.

Davis Wolfgang Hawke. Image: Spam Kings, by Brian McWilliams.

But according to a report from CTV News, at a press conference late last month authorities said new DNA evidence linked to a missing persons investigation has confirmed the man’s true identity as Davis Wolfgang Hawke.

A key subject of the book Spam Kings by Brian McWilliams, Hawke was a Jewish-born American who’d legally changed his name from Andrew Britt Greenbaum. For many years, Hawke was a big time purveyor of spam emails hawking pornography and male enhancement supplements, such as herbal Viagra.

Hawke had reportedly bragged about the money he earned from spam, but told friends he didn’t trust banks and decided to convert his earnings into gold and platinum bars. That sparked rumors that he had possibly buried his ill-gotten gains on his parents’ Massachusetts property.

In 2005, AOL won a $12.8 million lawsuit against him for relentlessly spamming its users. A year later, AOL won a court judgment authorizing them to dig on that property, although no precious metals were ever found.

More recently, Hawke’s Jesse James identity penned a book called Psychology of Seduction, which claimed to merge the “shady world of the pickup artist with modern science, unraveling the mystery of attraction using evolutionary biology and examining seduction through the lens of social and evolutionary psychology.”

The book’s “about the author” page said James was a “disruptive technology pioneer” who was into rock climbing and was a resident of Squamish. It also claimed James held a PhD in theoretical physics from Stanford, and that he was an officer in the Israeli Defense Force.

It might be difficult to fathom why, but Hawke may have made a few enemies over the years. Spam Kings author McWilliams notes that Hawke changed his name with regularity and used many pseudonyms.

“I could definitely see this guy making someone so mad at him they’d want to kill him,” McWilliams told CTV. “He was a guy who really pushed people that way and was a crook. I mean, he was a conman. That was what he was and I can see how somebody might get mad. I can also see him staging his own death or committing suicide in a fashion like that, if that’s what he chose to do. He was just a perplexing guy. I still don’t feel like I have a handle on him and I spent the better part of a year trying to figure out what made him tick.”

The father of the deceased, Hy Greenbaum, has offered a $10,000 reward to any tipster who can help solve his son’s homicide. British Columbia’s Integrated Homicide Investigation Team also is seeking clues, and can be reached at [email protected]

Verizon lays off more Yahoo/AOL employees after another drop in revenue

A Verizon logo displayed along with stock prices at the New York Stock Exchange.

Enlarge / A monitor seen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018.

Verizon this week is laying off another 150 staffers from the Verizon Media division that includes the Yahoo and AOL subsidiaries, according to a CNN report.

“Verizon Media employs around 10,500 people, so these cuts will amount to 1.4 percent of its work force. It’s unclear which brands will be affected,” CNN wrote.

A Verizon spokesperson confirmed the layoffs, according to the CNN article. We contacted Verizon today and will update this article if we get any more information.

The latest layoffs are less extensive than a major round of job cuts in January 2019. Verizon at that time laid off about 800 people, or about seven percent of the 11,385 workers then employed by Verizon Media.

Verizon purchased Yahoo for $4.48 billion in June 2017 and AOL for $4.4 billion in June 2015. But Verizon’s strategy of acquiring declining online media brands hasn’t been successful in challenging Google and Facebook in the advertising market.

In December 2018, Verizon said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it had “experienced increased competitive and market pressures throughout 2018 that have resulted in lower-than-expected revenues and earnings,” and that “[t]hese pressures are expected to continue.” Verizon at the time recorded a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of about $4.6 billion, wiping out nearly all of the Yahoo/AOL division’s goodwill value.

In Q3 2019, the most recent quarter, Verizon reported media-division revenue of $1.8 billion, down two percent year over year. The two-percent decline represented an “improvement in revenue trends,” Verizon said. “Gains in native and mobile advertising continue to be offset by declines in desktop advertising, though the business is building momentum in key areas.”

“We are migrating customers to our recently integrated native and demand-side advertising platforms with double-digit growth year over year,” Verizon CFO Matt Ellis said in an earnings call on October 25. “For the first time, we are seeing mobile traffic increases outpace desktop traffic declines in our core owned and operated products, including sports, finance, news, entertainment, home and mail.”

Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan said last month that the company is focused on growing the division’s advertising, subscriptions, and e-commerce businesses, according to the CNN report.

“Today we are investing in premium content, connections, and commerce experiences that connect people to their passions and continue to align our resources to opportunities where we feel we can differentiate ourselves and scale faster,” Verizon said in a statement about this week’s layoffs.