*Harris Ends Lawsuit Against MAPS, ISPs

Harris Interactive has ended its seven-week lawsuit against Mail Abuse Prevention System LLC and a dwindling number of Internet service providers.

Less than a week after reaching an out-of-court agreement with Microsoft Corp.’s Hotmail unit, the Rochester, NY, Internet pollster on Tuesday discontinued its Federal Court actions seeking compensatory damages from MAPS and a number of ISPs that reportedly subscribe to the anti-spam group’s Realtime Blackhole List. The RBL is a compilation of alleged spammers that is used by 20,000 firms, consisting mostly of ISPs and network administrators.

Harris said Tuesday that its independent talks with a number of the ISPs named in the suit were successful and that it is now able to reach 98 percent of its online panel via e-mail. As a result, it saw no reason to continue legal proceedings.

“We sued to open communication with our respondents and that goal was accomplished,” chairman/CEO Gordon Black said in a prepared statement. “Continuation of the suit is not in our shareholders’ best interests.”

MAPS founder and managing member Paul Vixie said Harris’ decision to end the suit came as no surprise.

“We filed for dismissal on numerous grounds, and I think Harris saw that their suit had no chance,” he said yesterday. “Withdrawing the suit was just a face-saving gesture for them.”

Though the legal action is over, both parties are still in sharp disagreement over Harris’ e-mail practices. Harris stands by its claim that it does not send unsolicited commercial e-mails and that all of the recipients of its online questionnaires have asked to receive them. MAPS disputes this, saying Harris sends bulk unsolicited commercial e-mail without first verifying the permission of the recipients.

Harris remains on the RBL and several anti-spam proponents who have contacted DM News, saying they intend to block Harris’ e-mail regardless of how the case was ultimately resolved.

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