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Attrition.org bans Verizon

Gotta admire their pluck

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Usually we hear of ISPs banning a Web site over some bit of content that a well-heeled and lawyered-up malcontent objects to. But this time a small Web site has audaciously banned customers of telecomms colossus Verizon from accessing it because the mega-ISP is unwilling to discipline would-be spammers.

At issue are repeated attempts by Verizon DSL customers to abuse email feedback CGIs at attrition.org, one of the Web's oases of skepticism and sanity.

These email forms are often hastily run up and insecure, and therefore a target of spammers who know how to pervert them as virtual relays. Only attrition doesn't actually have any on its site. Still, it gets attacked repeatedly as if it did, in particular by Verizon users who just won't take no for an answer.

Normally, a complaint to abuse@verizon.net would suffice to discourage such antisocial behavior. Verizon purportedly sends nastygrams to its customers warning them that continued naughtiness will result in their accounts being cancelled. And well it should.

Only the abuse mailbox is currently overstuffed and all new complaints get bounced. No doubt the company is diligently working its way through an anomalous backlog of complaints. Or perhaps no one can be assigned to read them due to the enormous resource limitations forced on any 67-billion-dollar company in today's economy.

The answer for attrition is to ban DSL-Verizon users' Web and e-mail traffic in hopes that disgruntled customers will pressure the 67-billion-dollar company to play nice, assuming it can possibly afford to.

Admittedly, $67 billion doesn't go as far as it used to. The days when we would have called it serious money are well behind us. A scant three years ago, some dotcom mirage posing as a company might lose that much the day its IPO shares went on the aftermarket. Today, one might still redeem a third-world principality with revenues like that, as President Bilko claims can be done in Iraq -- but hiring a few entry-level drones to handle abuse complaints, well, that's another story. The synergies just aren't there.

$67 billion just doesn't go as far as it used to. ®

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