Group Backs Off Threat to Post AOL Addresses

The National Organization of Internet Commerce (NOIC), citing an eleventh-hour protest, decided not to post some 5 million America Online email addresses for bulk emailers to use.

The Chino, CA-based bulk email group had threatened to broadcast a million AOL addresses on New Year’s Eve, to be followed up by 5 million more names on Jan. 8. The posting would theoretically give email marketers 24 hours to download the list, which could then be used to send AOL customers unsolicited email.

The idea was to protest AOL’s anti-spam policies, which NOIC claims prohibit legitimate small businesses from marketing to consumers who may be interested in the ads. AOL had called the move “cyber-terrorism.”

According to NOIC, a spate of requests from AOL members not to post the millions of addresses forced the marketing organization to capitulate.

“We feel that we have shown that we respect the wishes of AOL members by not posting the 5 million email addresses, and we think that AOL should respect their wishes by allowing those who wish to receive legitimate offers via e- mail to do so,” a notice on the Web site said.

AOL had told the group it would seek monetary damages if its service or members were affected by the posting of the list.

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