October 6, 1997 2:35 PM PDT

Cyber Promotions sued again

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After a three-week absence from the Net, Cyber Promotions is back online, but a suit filed against the junk emailer today and other mounting pressures indicate that opposition to its business practice is stiffer than ever.

Internet service for the bulk emailer was restored Saturday, and most of the company's 11,000 customers were brought back online today, according to the company's president, Sanford Wallace.

Yet the lawsuit filed in a New York City federal court is another headache for the company in an ongoing war over the sending of unsolicited commercial email, or spam. Filed by email service Bigfoot Partners, the suit seeks $1 million in damages and a court order prohibiting Cyber Promotions from using Bigfoot resources in sending junk email.

On Friday, Cyber Promotions was reconnected by AGIS, the Net backbone provider that booted the emailer in mid-September. About two hours later, though, a construction crew in Michigan accidentally severed a fiber-optic cable, interrupting service to a number of AGIS customers, including the unpopular spammer.

AGIS said it disconnected Cyber Promotions and two other clients that send unsolicited commercial email after antispammers repeatedly attacked the backbone provider's system. Last week, a federal judge in Philadelphia ruled that AGIS's action constituted an unlawful breach of contract and ordered Cyber Promotions reconnected. (See related story)

Wallace said that in addition to bringing his customers back online, he is connecting customers of New Hampshire-based Quantum Communications, one of the other companies AGIS disconnected. Cyber Promotions is also selling its proprietary list of email addresses, according the company's Web site. Both actions are intended to send a message that spam is here to stay, even if opponents are able to temporarily disable a handful of individual junk emailers, Wallace added.

"You might not see our name on the front line for the next couple of weeks, but you're certainly going to feel our presence," he told CNET's NEWS.COM today. "The fact that AGIS was criminally attacked is not a win for anybody."

Last week's court order requiring AGIS to reconnect Cyber Promotions is effective only until October 16. Wallace said he is attempting to purchase his own backbone resources so he will no longer need to rely on others for Net access. Because of vehement opposition to spam, Cyber Promotions has been kicked off a number of systems, a situation Wallace noted would stop if the company has its own connection to the Internet. In addition, the company is also in talks with AGIS about extending its current connection beyond October 16.

Representatives from AGIS were not immediately available for comment.

 

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