AOL Sues Porno Site Advertisers

America Online Inc., which has been in the forefront of the fight against spammers, sued two Michigan companies that it claims are responsible for sending thousands of unsolicited ads to AOL members touting porn Web sites.

The suit, filed Jan. 22 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, seeks an injunction to prevent the companies from “persistently aggravating AOL members with junk email.” The suit also seeks damages from both companies, which are owned and operated by the same individuals.

Defendants are LCGM Inc. and Web Promo Inc., both of Madison Heights, MI. AOL accused the two of repeatedly spamming its members with advertisements for domains such as “live-video-sex.com,” “pornjunkie.com,” “hot-sex.com” and “xxxratedsex.com.”

The suit also alleges that the defendants forged references to AOL’s domain name in their junk email. The use of forged references to “aol.com,” a practice that has become increasingly common among junk emailers, is designed to hinder AOL’s ability to detect and filter such unwanted email.

The suit also targets the practice of including hypertext links to pornographic Web sites in junk email, a practice that has been highly criticized by AOL and its members.

The emails with hypertext links, which are sent indiscriminately to AOL members regardless of age, provide direct access to pornographic Web sites. The suit alleges that LCGM and Web Promo have made extensive use of this practice.

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