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PSINet caught red-handed with spam contract

It'd have got away with it too if it weren't for you pesky kids

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Stumbling ISP PSINet has owned up to a contract with a sender of bulk unsolicited commercial email - known to you and me as spam. It has long been a suspicion that some ISPs have had illicit contracts with spammers, despite a publicly stated policy against such practices.

However, after news site CNet obtained an unsigned copy of a contract between PSINet and spammer Cajunnet, both companies were forced to admit their co-operation. Of course, there's a catchy term for all this: a "pink contract".

Being caught red-handed comes as a big embarrassment to PissyNet, which hasn't exactly been in the top 50 growth IT companies recently. Cajunnet was, as you would expect, entirely unrepentant - if perhaps a little annoyed that it would have to find another ISP after having been kicked off by several others for producing too many complaint emails.

The details of the contract give an interesting insight into the world of spamming, but won't come as a surprise if you consider spam as simply a business opportunity. Cajunnet agreed to pay a non-returnable, up-front fee of $27,000 to PissyNet for "increased risks associated with this agreement" - namely, the huge number of complaint emails it would soon be receiving and the damage to image were the agreement to come to light. We think PissyNet undercharged.

Unfortunately the contract also makes a mockery of PSINet's stated policy on spam which states that people will be cut off if they are caught sending spam. Cajunnet sends out anywhere between five and 20 million spam emails at a time.

This case follows a similar one last week where AT&T was forced to admit a professional relationship with spammer Nevadahosting.com.

Quite frankly we are disgusted, revolted and not at all surprised. The fact that PissyNet has been caught out being underhand in its dealings - saying one thing and doing another - will probably be sufficient punishment though. ®

Related Link

CNet/New York Times article

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