Alleged porn spammer settles with FTC

Accused marketer of adult entertainment agrees to pay $465,000 to settle charges that company sent unwanted e-mails.

An alleged marketer of online porn has agreed to pay a $465,000 penalty to settle spam charges, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday.

Under a proposed settlement, TJ Web Productions has also agreed to adhere to federal spam laws, the FTC said in a statement. This means the company has promised to use the phrase "sexually explicit" in message subject lines and ensure that the initially viewable area of the message does not display explicit images.

Additionally, TJ Web Productions has promised that any unsolicited commercial e-mail will include an opportunity for recipients to opt out of receiving future e-mail and provide a postal address, the FTC said. The promises are all required by the FTC's Adult Labeling Rule and the Can-Spam Act.

The FTC and the Department of Justice went after TJ Web Productions as part of a crackdown on X-rated spam announced in July 2005. Seven companies have been charged with violating federal laws. Settlements with five of the operations have resulted in civil penalties totaling $1.62 million, the FTC said.

TJ Web Productions, based in Nevada, operated an "affiliate marketing" business through which it induced others to transmit commercial e-mail messages on its behalf, the FTC said. The settlement also requires that affiliates comply with it, or they will risk immediate termination from the program, the FTC said.

Despite the FTC's action and laws meant to control spam, more junk e-mail is being sent than ever before. Helped by drones of compromised computers, popularly called zombies, spammers turned 2006 into a . During some months last year, more than 90 percent of all e-mail sent was junk, according to spam-blocking companies.

The proposed settlement has been filed in the U.S. District Court in Nevada for approval by a judge. It does not include any admission of wrongdoing by the defendant.

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