Restraining order placed on antispam group

A day after one of its marketing subsidiaries was placed on a published list of email spammers, 24/7 Media says it has successfully pleaded with a US District judge in Denver to slap a temporary restraining order on the nonprofit organisation that compiles the list.

          A day after one of its marketing subsidiaries was placed on a published list of email spammers, 24/7 Media says it has successfully pleaded with a US District judge in Denver to slap a temporary restraining order on the nonprofit organisation that compiles the list.

          The restraining order prevents Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS) from including 24/7 Media's Exactis.com unit on its Realtime Blackhole List of spammers. MAPS last week said it was placing 150 email servers belonging to Exactis on the spamming list, which many internet service providers and corporate messaging administrators use as a guide for blocking incoming email messages.

          A spokeswoman for Judge John Kane confirms that he issued a temporary restraining order against MAPS, although a written order hasn't been issued thus far. But with or without the written order, the judge's spokeswoman says, the restraining order is valid and takes effect immediately. Representatives from both MAPS and New York-based 24/7 Media appeared before the judge to argue the merits of issuing the order, she adds.

          MAPS roughly defines spam as email that's sent in bulk to recipients who either didn't request it or didn't have a chance to decline having it sent to them. Cases in which a recipient's request to receive email can't be verified also qualify as spam under the MAPS guidelines, and mass email message must have a valid return address.

          MAPS and Exactis reached an agreement last spring specifying that Exactis would implement fully verified opt-in list management practices for all of the mailing lists it maintains. But Peter Popovich, director of online operations at MAPS, claims that the organisation continues "to receive credible and actionable reports" of unsolicited bulk email coming from Exactis-operated mail servers.

          But Exactis claims that a MAPS witness who testified in front of Kane acknowledges that the 24/7 Media subsidiary was cited in fewer than a dozen spamming complaints during a period this year in which it sent more than 4 billion emails.

          "We don't believe that any reasonable observer could contend that we are spammers," says Cindy Brown, senior vice president and general manager of Exactis. "We support industry best practices and have been leaders in the prevention of spam."

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