Anti-spam group blocks Yahoo stores

The Mail Abuse Prevention System puts the Internet site's storefronts on its list of suspected junk e-mailers, snarling attempts by some customers to access the area.

An anti-spam group has put Yahoo's storefronts on its list of suspected junk e-mailers, snarling attempts by some customers to access the storefronts.

The Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS) put the IP address for Yahoo's stores in its database Tuesday. The action came in response to a notice that an alleged spam mail that has been circulating since at least February was directing recipients to a storefront on Yahoo.

But the IP address listed in MAPS' Realtime Blackhole List is used by all Yahoo stores, not just one storefront, according to a Yahoo representative who asked not to be identified. Since many ISPs and companies use MAPS and similar lists to block access to suspected spammers, the listing meant that many customers were likely unable to access any of the Yahoo stores since Tuesday.

Yahoo is working with MAPS to resolve the issue, the Yahoo representative said.

"We have a very solid spamming policy," the representative said. "We expect to be removed from the list later today."

Margie Arbon, director of operations at MAPS, said the issue was likely to be resolved quickly.

With spam clogging in-boxes Internetwide, many companies and organizations have taken steps such as using block lists such as MAPS. Unfortunately, such lists can often be unsophisticated, blocking both the good with the bad.

MAPS has run into a number of legal challenges from companies who have been placed on its lists.

Last year, the company settled lawsuits filed against it by Experian and Media3 Technologies. MAPS also agreed to remove market research firm Harris Interactive from its database last year, even though a court dismissed Harris' suit against the anti-spam group. MAPS removed Harris after the research firm changed its opt-in program for its e-mail polls.

According to MAPS' Web site, the alleged spam mail that resulted in it block listing Yahoo's storefronts had a subject line of "Free Printer Cartridges" and directed recipients to a Yahoo storefront operated by a company called EvoClix. Complaints about the alleged spam were sent to Yahoo as early as February, according to MAPS' records.

EvoClix representatives did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment. The Yahoo representative did not know why the company didn't respond to the complaints about the spam before MAPS block listed Yahoo stores.

The links to EvoClix's site on Yahoo no longer work, but the Yahoo representative could not confirm whether Yahoo had removed the site. However, the representative said that the company's spam policy does allow it to remove abusers.

MAPS' listing of Yahoo storefonts had a definite affect on at least one Yahoo store. The executive of a Canadian company that operates a storefront on Yahoo said traffic to his site has gone down 30 percent to 40 percent over the last several days.

"We'd like to see this resolved very quickly," the executive said, declining to give his name. "We'd like to have our site back up and start serving our customers again."

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