Spitzer Strikes Again: This Time Against Spammers

New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and Microsoft each filed lawsuits Thursday against three e-mail marketing companies for sending a staggering 250 million unsolicited messages a day.

One of the companies is OptinRealBig, run by the outspoken Scott Richter, who defended his techniques to the New York Times and called the accusations baseless. His firm sends out more than 100 million e-mails a day, promoting dating services, stock tips, mortgages and diet pills.

Spitzer said he would seek $20 million in damages from Richter and the other defendants.

"We will drive them into bankruptcy," Spitzer said at a news conference yesterday in New York. "Therefore others will not come into the marketplace because they will see there is no viable business model here."

On Tuesday, President Bush signed a law, effective Jan. 1., that makes it a crime to send deceptive commercial e-mail. But state and federal authorities are already making moves to stem the daily tide of spam. Virginia, which has the toughest anti-spam law in the nation, last week indicted two North Carolina men on felony charges for sending hundreds of thousands of e-mail messages to America Online customers.

New York does not have specific laws against spam, but is instead relying on general business laws to fight bulk e-mailers.

The charges against Richter and others will address the question of whether marketers of products or services can be held responsible for the sales techniques used by independent affiliates. Richter and others have claimed they did not know that their affiliates were using deceptive practices and should not be held liable.

New York State argues that all marketers have a responsibility to control the actions of their agents.

As for Richter, he is not worried about the lawsuits, telling the New York Times that he rejected an offer from the attorney general to settle the case for $100,000. "Messing with us is a big mistake," he said. "The more press I get, even bad press, the bigger we get."

You may like these other stories...

A new survey from online accounting software provider Xero found that nearly 90 percent of small businesses are forecasting an increase in revenues next year, while 21 percent are expecting growth of more than 100 percent....
More and more businesses are adopting the cloud in order to take advantage of benefits such as greater efficiency, increased productivity and lower costs. Companies in general are flocking to the cloud for email hosting,...
A great way to increase business for your accounting firm is to remain at the front of your clients' minds all throughout the year. One of the best ways to do that is through an email newsletter. Perhaps you send out a...

Already a member? log in here.

Upcoming CPE Webinars

Oct 9In this jam-packed presentation Excel expert David Ringstrom, CPA will give you a crash-course in creating spreadsheet-based dashboards.
Oct 15This webinar presents the requirements of AU-C 600, Audits of Group Financial Statements (Including the Work of Component Auditors).
Oct 21Kristen Rampe will share how to speak and write more effectively by understanding your own and your audience’s communication style.
Oct 23Amber Setter will show the value of leadership assessments as tools for individual and organizational leadership development initiatives.