Following a spate of complaints from harassed subscribers, US service provider America Online (AOL) has responded with a new tool to combat the threat of junk emailers.
AOL bosses, who are already involved in an unresolved court battle with junk email outfit Cyberpromo, have developed Preferred Mail, a tool that prevents the receipt of emails by referring to a regularly updated list of notorious junk emailers.
According to AOL, subscribers who wish to receive mail from junk email sites can turn off Preferred Mail. However, by using the keywords 'Preferred Mail', they can view a list of sites and choose to receive mail from those sites with the click of a mouse.
?Junk email is the number one complaint from our members,? said Steve Case, chairman and CEO of AOL. ?We have a strict policy against AOL members sending unsolicited mass mailings and we want to give them the tools to protect themselves from junk email sent from outside AOL. Preferred Mail is a response to the junk email problem. It?s more powerful than the mail controls currently available to AOL members, and flexible enough to allow individual members to receive junk email if they wish.?
In the past, AOL had blocked junk email from a number of sites that had been the subject of member complaints. However, a court injunction served by Cyberpromo, citing the First Amendment right to free speech, was upheld by US courts and AOL was forced to let the US junk email entrepreneurs barrage its subscibers with up to 100,000 emails at a time. AOL is appealing but hopes in the meantime that Preferred Mail will prove an adequate block to the unsolicited emailers.
?Preferred Mail is a great solution to the problem of junk email because it gives members a choice,? Case said. ?AOL is not making a decision for its members, the power is in their hands.?
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