Online marketers stung by spam label

By Jennifer DiSabatino, Computer World |  Business

This summer, Rochester, N.Y.-based online polling company Harris Interactive was placed on MAPS's Realtime Blackhole List (RBL) for allegedly sending out unsolicited, bulk commercial e-mail, better known as spam, asking recipients to participate in its opinion polls. Internet service providers such as America Online Inc. use the RBL in deciding whether to block bulk e-mail from getting to their customers. Last week, Denver-based Exactis was placed on the RBL. On its Web site, New York-based 24/7 Media said it has "the world's largest permission-based, opt-in
e-mail database."

Both companies have won legal battles to resume their e-mail marketing for the customers who opt in, or request the e-mails, said analysts, but the notoriety of the cases casts doubt upon the effectiveness and the ability of companies to acquire and retain customers through digital marketing.

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