On the wings of Tom Hespos’ article about the threat of spam
yesterday, the Wall Street Journal published an article about New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer, who has filed a lawsuit against email marketing company MonsterHut Inc. According to the lawsuit, MonsterHut has described its email lists as "100% permission based" and implied that consumers have taken steps to allow the collection or use of their personal information. The suit further alleges that MonsterHut sent more than 500 million commercial emails since March 2001 to advertise a variety of goods and services. As a result, more than 750,000 customers have asked to be removed from MonsterHut's mailing lists and more than 40,000 people complained to MonsterHut's former Internet-service provider, PaeTec Communications, which subsequently disconnected MonsterHut's Internet access.
Spitzer is seeking a court order that would require MonsterHut to disclose how it obtained all the email addresses on its lists, as well as require MonsterHut and two of its chief officers to pay civil penalties and court costs for violating New York 's consumer-protection laws.
To echo Tom, but not to promote panic in the masses, spam is really an issue that has to be dealt with and soon. I’m not sure a single lawsuit against a single spammer will do the trick, but the advertising industry as a whole can and should do something. It’s time to wake up and realize the seriousness of the threat.