IAR Bits and Bytes for January 28, 2004

Espotting, Freenet Extend Deal

Paid search listing provider Espotting Media has extended and deepened its agreement with German ISP freenet to provide power search and content. Results for freenet’s search pages were previously supplied by Overture.

London-based Espotting’s top five German listings will now appear on freenet search result pages as sponsored links.

For a little more than a year, Espotting has provided results that were integrated into freenet’s content pages. This arrangement will continue.

“Our experience with Espotting through our content partnership, and the relevancy of their listings, meant they were the obvious partner,” said Eckhard Spoerr, CEO of freenet.de AG.

A merger between Espotting and U.S.-based second tier search player FindWhat.com is in limbo. The proposed $163 million cash and stock dealseemed to be off in September, but the merger date was extended in late December.

Resolution one way or the other may be reached soon, since FindWhat recently said it would make an announcement about the status of the deal Feb. 9 when it makes its fourth quarter and full year earnings report.

Ohio Lawmaker Launches Anti-Spam Proposal An Ohio lawmaker has introduced an anti-spam bill for that state imposing harsh criminal penalties, including jail time, on egregious spammers.

State Rep. Kathleen Walcher (District 58-Norwalk) has introduced H.B. 383, which would make sending spam over Internet networks in Ohio punishable by sanctions including jail time, asset forfeiture and monetary penalties for the worst offenders.

The bill seeks to prohibit transmission of multiple email advertisements, falsifying the originating address or other routing information in multiple email advertisements, or falsifying registration information for multiple email accounts. It also would prohibit unauthorized access to a public computer to transmit multiple email advertisements.

Tougher state anti-spam laws, such as those recently passed in California, were preempted by the recently passed federal Can Spam act. But America Online, which supports the bill as helpful to its Ohio-based Web access businesses, said in a statement that the Ohio proposal was crafted in a way that would allow it to escape preemption.

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