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Amazon goes after spammers

Eleven lawsuits target marketers for allegedly using the online retailer's name when sending bogus e-mail, charges that echo a widening problem for companies operating online. said Tuesday that it filed 11 lawsuits against marketers that allegedly used its name when sending bogus e-mail, charges that echo a widening problem for companies operating online.

The Web retailer filed federal lawsuits in the United States and Canada aiming to bar 11 Internet marketers from sending e-mail forgeries with Amazon's name. It is seeking millions of dollars in punitive damages.

The company is also working with the New York Attorney General's office to identify alleged spammers. The state law enforcement office said Tuesday that it settled civil fraud charges with one forger,, that was named in Amazon's suit. Amazon has reached a similar settlement in principle with Cyebye.

The suits are part of an initiative at Amazon to thwart e-mail forgeries of its name, or what's known as "spoofing." E-mail spoofing is the practice of concealing the e-mail senders' identity with that of a third party in order to make the e-mail more desirable to open and to deflect the ability to trace the sender.

"Spoofing is a problem faced by any company with a trusted domain name that uses e-mail to communicate with its customers," David Zapolsky, Amazon's associate general counsel, said in a statement.

"It's not just spam; it's consumer fraud," Zapolsky said. "And the actions taken today by Amazon and by the state of New York will send a strong message to anyone engaged in this conduct that it will not be tolerated."

Among the 11 defendants are E.B.A. Wholesale (, an appliance retailer in Brooklyn, N.Y., which promoted its home appliances through e-mail appearing to come from Amazon. This suit has been settled.

Other defendants include Rockin Time Holdings, a Miami Beach, Fla.-based company promoting penis enlargement; Royal Responder, a Fort Collins, Colo., company; and Cyberpower, which offered a get-rich-quick scheme.