MAPS, Experian settle antispam lawsuit

Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS), a private, antispam group, and Experian eMarketing have settled a lawsuit over Experian's listing on the Realtime Blackhole List (RBL).

Both sides announced the settlement late Wednesday.

"A settlement has been reached in which Experian has committed to requiring their clients to provide them with lists which contain only those e-mail addresses for which they have obtained the addressee's permission to send them e-mail," said Anne P. Mitchell, MAPS' director of legal and public affairs. "They have further committed to address and resolve any complaints and concerns which may arise as a result of any mailings they do for either themselves or their clients."

MAPS is a member-supported organization in Redwood City, Calif. that maintains the RBL. Experian Emarketing is a subsidiary of Experian Information Solutions Inc. in Nottingham, England, and Orange, Calif.

Last November, MAPS placed on the RBL for failing to abide by agreed-upon protocols to prevent sending mass, unsolicited commercial e-mail. A day later, Denver-based Exactis filed a lawsuit against MAPS and obtained a temporary restraining order against the listing.

Experian said in a statement that it has some protection under the settlement, "MAPS is prohibited from listing Experian eMarketing again without first obtaining a court order. In addition, neither Experian eMarketing nor its clients will be required to employ the practice of double opt-in [a process by which a consumer must reaffirm his permission before he is added to an e-mail list] demanded by MAPS in November 2000."

Internet service providers, including Dulles, Va.-based America Online Inc. and Microsoft Corp.'s MSN, subscribe to the list and often block e-mail coming from the servers or IP addresses listed on the RBL.

At the time, Exactis was a subsidiary of New York-based 24/7 Media Inc. In June, 24/7 Media sold Exactis to Experian, and the e-mail marketing company was renamed Experian eMarketing Inc. Experian, a credit rating agency, is itself a subsidiary of GUS PLC, a U.K.-based retail and business services group.

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