Bits and Bytes for September 2, 2004

Spam King Settles with SpamCop

Mass emailer OptInRealBig.com has reached a settlement with anti-spam service SpamCop and its corporate parent, IronPort. Terms of the settlement will not be disclosed.

Last April, OptInRealBig.com filed suit against SpamCop seeking an injunction, restraining order and monetary damages, claiming the latter company caused ISPs to block OptInRealBig’s accounts, and caused ESPs to stop sending email on behalf of OptInRealBig clients.

The parties will issue a joint press release on Friday confirming the settlement has been reached. Both have agreed not to make further comments.

“My best guess is that nobody paid anybody anything,” said Anne P. Mitchell, attorney and president and CEO of the Institute for Spam and Internet Public Policy. “SpamCop isn’t going to change their reporting; Richter not going to change anything. It wasn’t a bogus case, but it was legally unsupportable. ”

OptInRealBig’s president, Scott Richter, is famous as the Spam King. He recently tried to market a clothing line under that name, but was blocked by Hormel.

Google Tweaks AdSense Features

Google has made a number of changes to its AdSense program, which compensates publishers for placing contextually targeted ads on their Web sites.

The company is allowing publishers to place three ad units — up from one — on each Web page. Google is also introducing “collapsing ad units.” When this option is selected, the space allotted for AdSense ads “collapses” when no targeted ads are available. This is designed to prevent unnecessary blank space from appearing on publishers’ sites.

Interestingly, Google says it’s running “a test with new branding features” on Google ads. The test has AdSense ads identified by the phrase “Ads by Gooooooogle” rather than their previous designation of “Ads by Google.” The company didn’t divulge what it was trying to achieve with the test, and an inquiry to a Google representative wasn’t answered by press time.

On the search front, the company will now allow AdSense users displaying a Google search box to designate multiple domains on which the search will occur. Previously, one could only search the Web or search a single other site. The company has also re-named its search-related AdSense program. “WebSearch plus AdSense for search” is now simply “AdSense for search.”

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