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Antispam lists bar Yahoo stores

Yahoo's storefronts site makes its way onto two more lists of suspected junk e-mailers. The portal giant says it plans to appoint a new team to respond to the spam complaints.

Yahoo's storefronts site has made its way onto two more lists of suspected junk e-mailers.

London-based Spamhaus, which runs a spam-blocking service, added Yahoo's stores site to


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its list of suspected spammers on Wednesday, some two weeks after the Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS) took a similar step. Although Spamhaus removed the stores site on Thursday after talking with the company, the site is still included on another blocking list run by Spews.org.

Spamhaus took the Yahoo site off its list after hearing from the Web portal that it plans to have a new team in place next week to respond to spam complaints, said Steve Linford, director of the Spamhaus Project.

"Thousands of people were complaining. They just weren't being acted on," Linford said. "They didn't have sufficient staff to deal with them. These complaints were just piling up."

Yahoo was removed from the Spamhaus list after the company worked with the antispam group to resolve the issue, company spokeswoman Linda Pederson said in a statement.

"Yahoo Store's license agreement explicitly forbids spamming. We take this matter very seriously," Pederson said.

Pederson did not return calls seeking comment about the company's listing on the Spews.org site and about what specific steps Yahoo took to have its storefronts site removed from Spamhaus' list.

Inundated by e-mail, many companies and organizations have begun to take drastic steps to stem the flow. Many have turned to block-listing companies, which research spam complaints and list the IP (Internet Protocol) addresses of suspected spammers. Companies who subscribe to the block lists then have the option of restricting access to those IP addresses.

That's what happened last month when MAPS, a popular antispam group, added Yahoo's stores to its list of suspected spammers. The action came after Yahoo allegedly didn't respond to repeated notices about a suspected junk e-mail that had been circulating since February and that pointed to a storefront hosted by Yahoo. MAPS later removed Yahoo from its block list after the Web portal contacted it.

Some critics of block lists have charged that these methods are unsophisticated, because they tend to restrict access not only to suspected spammers, but also to innocent sites that happen to share the same or similar IP addresses.

Spamhaus, for instance, added Yahoo's stores site to its block list in response to an alleged spam pointing to a Web site called GoInk4Less.com, which is hosted by Yahoo, said Spamhaus' Linford. But GoInk4Less is just one among thousands of storefronts hosted by Yahoo, many of which presumably never sent spam.

GoInk4Less did not respond to requests for comment.

But many other Yahoo stores were sending spam, Linford said. Because spam complaints seemed to be falling on deaf ears at Yahoo, the company was becoming known as a haven for spammers, he said.

"They were allowing spammers to host their sites on Yahoo stores," Linford said. "It was very significantly attracting other spammers to Yahoo stores. That's something that no other European or North American provider does, and it's something that Yahoo stores shouldn?t have allowed either."

A posting on Spews.org cited similar reasons why the Yahoo stores site is still on Spews.org's block list.

"Complaint volume way up, site termination volume way, WAY, down," the post said. "Hosting at Yahoo is a dirty, little secret more spammers are discovering."

Spews.org representatives did not respond to requests for comment.