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Netizens seeing less spam

Just as people cheer when a bully slips in the mud, antispammers are delighting in the misfortunes of bulk emailer Sanford Wallace this week.

Just as people cheer when a bully slips in the mud, antispammers are delighting in the misfortunes of bulk emailer Sanford Wallace this week.

They are reporting some tangible results too: a sharp reduction in junk email. This comes after Net backbone provider AGIS disconnected Wallace's Cyber Promotions, as well as New Hampshire-based Quantum Communications and Integrated Media Promotions last week, citing "security issues." Wallace is suing AGIS to get reconnected; a daylong hearing on the case is being heard in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia today. (See related story)

"Without Cyber Promo, Quantum, and IMP, it seems like [the sources for] 90 percent of the spam I get dried up," claimed one Netizen in an online newsgroup. "I hope it stays that way."

Added another: "This week, spam complaints, usually numbering at least 20 per day, are down by at least 50 percent."

While there's no way to confirm these claims, antispammers--perhaps the most vocal group on the Net--have posted messages in newsgroups under headings such as "Yeahoo! Cyber Promotions down!" and "Cyber Promo dies!"

Yet many longtime observers aren't counting out Wallace out. They know Cyber Promotions won't go down without a fight, and the lawsuit against AGIS is just the latest example.

The antispamming community has been livid with AGIS since it agreed to sign on Cyber Promotions as a client. Some have even showed up at the company's headquarters to picket.

AGIS president Phil Lawlor reasoned that spam always will exist and that it would be better for it to be sent through his company, where it could be controlled. One of his rules for spammers is that they must agree to remove the names of recipients who don't want bulk email.

Cyber Promotions' fallout with AGIS may have resulted from failing to honor that rule, according to notices in antispamming newsgroups, as well as emails sent to CNET's NEWS.COM.

Wallace previously has said that he honors recipients' requests, but not all of his clients who use the Cyber Promotions domain name necessarily follow suit.