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Internet

Former king to fight spam

Once the Net's most notorious spammer, Sanford Wallace now is teaming up with the attorney who beat him in court to fight against spam.

Self-dethroned spam king Sanford Wallace is putting a new spin on the old cliché: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

The Net's once most notorious spammer now is teaming up with the attorney who beat him in court to fight against spam.

"He has finally seen the light," said Pete Wellborn, who helped Internet service provider EarthLink win a $2 million judgment against Wallace's junk email company, Cyber Promotions.

Wallace will be serving as a consultant in two antispam cases. One is for Bibliotech, a European free-email service provider; the other is for Continental Investment, a publicly traded Dallas-based company. Both companies are suing spammers.

Wallace said he already saw the light when he renounced his spam king throne.

But now, whether welcomed or not, he is officially joining the ranks of antispammers.

"I'm giving something back," Wallace said. "I take a lot of blame for a lot of things that have occurred. The way I see that I can help the most is to slow down the damage."

For all those who doubt his sincerity--and with his track record on spam, there are probably many who do--Wallace points out that there are a lot of other ways he can make money besides helping companies fight spammers in court.

Wellborn, who works for Hunton & Williams-Atlanta, agreed. "Given his flair, given his business knowledge, given his true spirit as an entrepreneur, there are a lot of ways Sanford Wallace could make a lot more money than as a consultant. Sanford Wallace is sincere in his change of heart."

And Wellborn said he should know. While negotiating with Wallace, Wellborn said he talked with Wallace just about every day for a month. And even though the two were on opposing sides, right from the start, he liked Wallace.

"I found him to be a very likable, trustworthy, upfront guy," Wellborn said. "I enjoyed dealing with him, and when he said something he followed through on it."

Plus, he added, when it comes to spam and spamming practices, there is no doubt about Wallace's wealth of knowledge.

And that is the bottom line, Wellborn said.

"He knows the Internet and he knows email practices forward and backward," Wellborn said. "Because of that, when I got the Bibliotech case [and the Continental Investment case] I asked myself, 'Who should I advise my clients to hire? Who is the most qualified?' It really was a no-brainer to call on Sanford."