A spammer who has clogged AT&T WorldNet customers' outbound email for the past few days has been shut down.
AT&T wouldn't name the culprits but said more than one of its customers was sending bulk email from a dial-up Net access account, delaying outgoing email sent by other customers.
"We removed the spam messages because they affected the rest of our 900,000-plus WorldNet customers," said AT&T spokesman Mike Miller. "Anything that got backed up will be delivered in the next 48 hours."
Mass emailers have been known to back up Internet service providers' systems and annoy recipients who don't want the messages sent from unknown senders. This scenario has made spammers the target of lawsuits and Federal Trade Commission probes.
One AT&T customer complained he had to use another service to send email. "My AT&T outbound email has been delayed (or lost) now for over 36 hours."
AT&T warned customers of the problem today after many had reported delays over the last two days. The company said it will terminate all accounts that send spam.
"This will alleviate some of the problems with delayed deliveries. We are continuing to identify additional spamming taking place and will take similar action with any further spamming we encounter," stated a letter from Ed Kelley, forums manager for AT&T WorldNet.
However, there are other problems with the company's Net service. "We are also experiencing network problems external to our own network that are causing additional delays," Kelley added. "We are working with the other network providers in resolving these problems, which in conjunction with the spam, have caused a severe backlog of outgoing mail."