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Email marketer sues anti-spam group Spamcop

By - Source: Tom's Hardware | B 0 comment

San Francisco (CA) - Scott Richter, President of Email marketing firm OptinRealBig.com, has filed suit against Ironport, which runs the anti-spam website Spamcop. According to Richter, Spamcop’s initiatives have damaged the reputation of his company and forces ISPs to terminate contractual agreements with OptinRealBig.com and its upstream providers.

If you receive spam, it’s likely you receive emails from Scott Richter, whose email marketing firm OptinRealBig.com claims to be one of the nation’s fastest growing email marketing firms. Still, Richter insists that he is doing nothing wrong. To prove his point, he is not just defending himself against current lawsuits against him. He now has files suit against Spamcop, one of the most visible anti-spam groups out there.

"We are going to send a message," said Richter in an email interview with Tom’s Hardware Guide. The complaint filed alleges "Tortuous Interference with Contract, Interference with Contractual Relationship, Intentional Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage, Negligent Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage, Unfair Competition, Trade Libel and asked the Court for Injunctive Relief." Richter is asking for $1 million in damages.

According to Richter, "Spamcop has engaged in conduct which damaged Optin’s reputation and forces ISPs to terminate their contractual agreements with OPTIN and its upstream providers." The complaint alleges that "prior to sending solicited complaints by consumers to the Optin’s originating ISP’s, Spamcop alters the complaints it receives by removing the email address of the person or entity seeking to be taken off a mailing list thereby rendering the email anonymous."

Richter claims that because the complaints fail to identify the original email sender, Optin cannot comply with the CAN-SPAM ACT, which requires the sender of an email to remove the address of any person who does not desire to receive any further email. Optin would have "no means to determine if the recipient of the email has previously requested the email," Richter said in a statement.

Ironport could not be reached for comment.

One year ago, email marketer Eddy Marin and his Florida-based Emarketersamerica.org sued anti-spam group Spamhaus. Steve Linford, director of Spamhaus, said the complaint was merely a SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) designed to intimidate antispam activists. "All of the information and allegations contained in it are false," Linford says. "One of the individuals being sued is my brother who lives in Italy and doesn’t even know what Spamhaus.org is," he said to PCWorld.com. The case was dismissed "with prejudice" in October 2003 by a Florida Court, indicating Marin’s accusations were denied by default, according to Spamhaus.

Scott Richter’s 32-employee firm sends "several hundred million emails" to Internet users using its own "only US-based servers" as well as upstream providers. Richter claims that he is strictly sending emails only to people who have signed up for his services on his website. "If someone does not want our emails, we can be easily identified and remove users from our list by request," he said.

Optinrealbig.com is currently the target of a lawsuit filed by Microsoft and New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer in December of 2003. In parallel lawsuits against Richter, the two parties say that his firm conducted in illegal spam campaigns through 514 compromised IP addresses in 35 countries spanning six continents. He said that he already rejected an offer from Spitzer to settle the case for $100,000. "Messing with us is a big mistake," In a statement he describes the lawsuit as "PR stunt" and "one of the worst smear campaigns against legitimate internet business interests of recent times."

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