Internet

Market researcher drops AOL email lawsuit

Harris Interactive withdraws a federal lawsuit accusing the online giant of blocking correspondence with many of the Internet-based polling company's 6.6 million online panelists.

ROCHESTER, N.Y.--Harris Interactive has withdrawn a federal lawsuit accusing America Online of blocking correspondence with many of the Internet-based polling company's 6.6 million online panelists.

The publisher of the Harris poll today said that AOL had restored email links to Harris panelists by switching to another Internet service provider not affiliated with Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS).

"Self-appointed groups such as MAPS cannot continue to dictate the standards that affect hundreds of millions of people and billions of dollars of commerce," said Harris' chief executive, Gordon S. Black.

MAPS, which was established to fight email abuse, added Harris to a blacklist for purportedly sending unsolicited bulk email, or "spam"--an accusation the market research company denies.

In a lawsuit filed here July 31, Harris said the listing had prompted 13 Internet service providers to block correspondence with 2.7 million panelists served by those providers. Redwood City, Calif.-based MAPS also was named as a defendant along with a market research competitor, Incon Research of Norwalk, Conn.

Harris said it is still seeking unspecified damages from a dozen Internet service providers, including Microsoft Network, Netscape Communications and AltaVista. The lawsuit accuses them of antitrust violations, commercial disparagement and curtailing Harris' ability to conduct business.

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