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Spam and Spam Litigation


Spam is the Internet's equivalent of junk mail. The Internet abuse generally referred to as spamming ranges from annoyances like electronic mass mailings, mass advertisements, junk email, chain letters, and off-topic newsgroup postings on one hand to more serious abuses such as perpetration of scams or confidence games, transmission of fraudulent product or service promotions and harassing or threatening emails on the other. All types of spam waste the valuable time, energy and resources of the recipients, the service providers involved, and the whole Internet community.
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 NetZero's Spam Policies

NetZero maintains a strict policy against spamming. The NetZero Service Agreement states:

You agree that you shall not resell the Service or use the Service for the transmission of commercial solicitations or for the receipt of responses to commercial solicitations. You agree that you shall not, for a commercial purpose, upload, transmit, reproduce, distribute or participate in the transfer or sale, or in any way exploit, any content obtained through the Service.
The use of the NetZero service to participate in any of the following activities is strictly prohibited:
  1. To post to any Usenet or other newsgroup, forum, email mailing list or other similar group or list articles which are off-topic or otherwise inappropriate according to the charter or other owner-published FAQ or description of the group or list;
  2. To falsify user information provided to NetZero or to other users of the service in connection with use of a NetZero service;
  3. To use a NetZero account as a receiving point or repository for any form of response to an unsolicited message sent through NetZero or any other service;
  4. To engage in any of the foregoing activities by using the services of another provider, but channeling such activities through a NetZero account, remailer, or otherwise through the NetZero service.
It is our policy to terminate accounts which we find to have violated our Service Agreement in these ways. To see more information on prohibited conduct, please read the NetZero Service Agreement and NetZero's Guidelines for Acceptable Use.
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 How NetZero Prevents Spam

The NetZero mail software is designed to prevent spamming. The NetZero software does not allow users to elect to re-route (relay) mail through alternate SMTP servers, alter their mail headers or even specify an alternate 'From' address. The software also enforces restrictive outgoing mail limits. As a result, sending mail-bombs or bulk mailings through the NetZero system is nearly impossible. We've even taken precautions to prevent third party spammers from using our SMTP servers—our machines do not relay mail.

Any NetZero member found to be sending spam messages may be fined $200 dollars per day on which the offense occurs.
All reported violations of the NetZero Service Agreement are investigated by NetZero. We investigate and act on complaints as quickly as we reasonably can.

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Spammers often alter the 'To,' 'From' and 'Reply-to' lines of the messages they send in order to disguise their identities, deflect complaints about their messages, and to generally confuse recipients. The vast majority of unsolicited mail that appears to involve NetZero accounts does not actually originate from the NetZero domain. Rather, the NetZero accounts listed in most spam are either nonexistent, forged into the message headers, and/or being used solely as 'dropboxes' to receive responses.

It is NetZero's policy to terminate valid NetZero accounts implicated in unsolicited messages. We have also pursued legal action against spammers who forged NetZero addresses into the headers of messages sent through other Internet Service Providers.

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'Short' headers (the 'To,' 'From,' 'Reply-to' and 'Subject' lines at the top of each message you send and receive) are inserted by your email software and in many cases are easily forged. 'Full' headers contain important additional information which is harder to forge; although even full header information can be forged, it usually reveals the real origin and destination of messages. Full headers are transmitted with each email message, but are not always visible.

Full headers include lines that begin with the word 'Received' and can be viewed by selecting a 'Show headers' option from your mail software menu. Spammers get email addresses from chat rooms, newsgroups, mailing lists, or on the Web. You should therefore be extremely cautious about making your address known.

Note: Under no circumstances should you reply directly to a suspicious email; you will merely confirm to the sender that yours is a valid address.

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 How to Identify Mail from NetZero

There are a number of ways to determine whether or not the email address shown in a unsolicited message you have received is an actual NetZero address. Legitimate NetZero addresses cannot:
  1. Contain any symbols other than letters, numbers, spaces or the symbols '-,' '_' and '.'
  2. Consist solely of numbers or have more than one '.' symbol in a row (such as or '')
  3. Begin with any character other than a letter or have a character other than a letter or a number immediately before the '@' sign.
  4. Be shorter than two characters, or longer than 64 characters
Even addresses that meet the above criteria are sometimes forged, but any that fail one or more of these tests definitely are.

We provide a free email and Internet service that is paid for by advertising, but the advertising appears only on the screens of NetZero's members. Furthermore, it is against NetZero's policy to provide information about individual members to any third party. Unlike many firms, we do not sell or rent our mailing list; we never have, and have no intention of doing so in the future. If you receive an unsolicited message that appears to have originated from NetZero, please forward the message with its full headers, to

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 Links to Anti-Spam Organizations

Junk Email Resource Page
This collaboration of the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Voters Telecommunications Watch offers background on the issues involved, a FAQ, tips on spotting and preventing fraud, legal resources, and a 'scamspam' questionnaire you can fill out if you've been a victim.

Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email
CAUCE is a group of Internet users who are fed up with spam and have formed a coalition to promote legislation which would outlaw unsolicited commercial email.

Network Abuse Clearinghouse
This organization is devoted to collecting and forwarding reports of network abuse.

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