Bits & Bytes for April 19, 2004

EarthLink Bows Anti-Phishing ToolBar

EarthLink has deployed a new anti-phishing toolbar, called ScamBlocker, and announced Brightmail as a partner.

The Web-based application is designed to ward off the increasingly common scams that trick users into providing personal and financial info to Web pages that mimic legitimate corporate sites. It works by monitoring the pages users visit and comparing the data to a constantly updated list of sites run by phishers, the ISP said.

“Until these Web sites are legally shut down, this scam blocking tool is the best technological solution available to protect consumers against these criminal spammers,” said Kevin Brand, VP of product management for EarthLink.

Brightmail’s network of decoy email accounts, seeded to attract all forms of spam, will provide data on identified phishing scams to Earthlink’s toolbar. Under its agreement with the ISP, Brightmail ‘s Anti-Fraud service will send the URLs of these sites to ScamBlocker immediately upon discovery. Brightmail data will be added to the toolbar beginning May 5.

ScamBlocker is available to all Internet users, not just EarthLink customers.

CJ Upgrades BFAST

Commission Junction launched a new version of its BFAST platform, a component of its affiliate marketing tool suite. Called BFAST Web 2.0, the updated solution offers simplified payment processing, enhanced reporting, link management and email messaging support features.

The changes are designed to improve advertisers’ ability to build, track, manage and analyze all their online relationships, CJ said.

AIM to Carry WeatherBug Data

America Online pacted with AWS Convergence Technologies, the firm behind WeatherBug, to integrate the online weather hub with its Instant Messaging client.

Weather data from WeatherBug, which streams live local conditions to 15 million users from a nationwide network of 7,000 school- and community-based weather stations, is already available to AIM users on AIM Today.

ATP, AOL Deal Brings Tennis Content Broadband Users

In separate AOL news, the Time Warner unit is preparing to ramp up tennis coverage available to “AOL for Broadband” members. The new content, which includes video highlights, audio clips and player interviews, comes through a deal with the ATP, the men’s professional tennis governing body. A portion of the content will also be made available at no cost to AOL. dial-up subscribers.

California Considers Unsolicited CDs

In a final bit of news that could affect AOL, a California bill requiring mailers sending unsolicited CDs and DVDs to include postage-paid return mailers was heard in committee this week.

The Monday hearing was held by the California Assembly’s Committee on Natural Resources. Assemblywoman Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, introduced the bill, AB 2166, sponsored by Californians Against Waste. The bill also mandates a postage-paid return mailer be included with EZ-D, a DVD that becomes unusable after 48 hours, so the disk can be returned for recycling when it expires.

As Hancock discussed her legislation, two East Bay residents dumped their collection of 278,000 unsolicited America Online CDs onto the state Capitol steps. Jim McKenna and John Lieberman, information technology workers from El Cerrito, have gathered the CDs for nearly three years. They run the Web site

AOL has expressed opposition to the bill. “As far as we’re concerned, this approach amounts to an unfair and punitive California tax on Internet software,” said Nicholas Graham, a spokesman for AOL.

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