October 30, 1996 1:30 PM PST

Mass emailer back on Sprint, temporarily

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Spam king Sanford Wallace is back in business, at least for the moment.

Wallace, president of the junk email company Cyber Promotions, said today that his business is back online after Sprint booted him off October 18. Wallace said he had sued Sprint after the company "with no notice, terminated our service."

Yesterday, Sprint and Cyber Promotions came to a settlement. Cyber Promotions will be allowed to use Sprint till November 15, at which time Wallace will need to find a new Internet access provider, he said. Cyber Promotions also has agreed to use only the domain names registered to it "and to promptly remove from its mailing lists any addressee who so requests [it]," according to a statement released by Sprint.

Finding a new provider is easier said that done, though. Since Wallace started his mass-email business in 1994 as Promo Enterprises, he has gone through 20 ISPs, he said. But "we already have applications at multiple ISPs at this moment."

Landing access is just the tip of Cyber Promotions' troubles. It has been sued by three online services--America Online, Prodigy, and CompuServe, as well as one Internet service provider, Concentric Network.

The current problems stem from AOL's limits on Cyber Promotions' email. AOL has blocked mailings from the company and recently instituted PreferredMail, which automatically keeps out mail from several sites, including Cyber Promotions, unless the user turns the option off.

Wallace has tried to bypass the blocks by sending email from alternate addresses, using CompuServe, Prodigy, and Concentric accounts. Those networks sued, saying that all the undeliverable mail that Wallace sends out every day jams their services when it gets bounced back.

A federal judge forced Wallace to promise Concentric that he would stop the practice. The other suits are pending.

Wallace said that AOL users are his bread and butter, comprising 1 million of the 1.3 million addresses on his mailing list. Halting email to AOL members, he declared, "would be the equivalent of going out of business."

Cyber Promotions is looking into other ways to get past AOL's block. "We're not sure what the return path is going to be in future mail," he said.


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