The end of the affair – Lycos lets spammers be

Lycos has created so much love that it no longer needs to operate its vigilante website. “Make Love Not Spam” was laid to rest this weekend after a brief but eventful life attacking spamming websites.

This morning (Monday) visitors to the site were greeted by a message that indicated the idea had run its course.

"With this campaign we intended to raise a new impulse in the anti-spam discussion and therefore create awareness for the big economical and societal problems caused by spam. The campaign has reached its goal and thus will be stopped," the statement said.But by 10 am (GMT) the message had been removed. Which may have had something to do with the following content.

"In opposite to single media reports with contrary content we did not attempt any denial of service. We forcefully veto a report by Netcraft referring to two spam servers having been disabled by the respective screensaver. At the point of time of the Netcraft measurement on December 1st, 2004, both respective spam servers were not on the target list of the screensaver activity."

Netcraft have been informed of the statement and will comment later today.

"Make Love Not Spam" created unprecedented response to its implementation. Within a few days 80,000 people had downloaded the screensaver that flooded known spamming sites in an attempt to increase running costs. But the Lycos site was beset by problems, blacklisted by ISPs and criticised by the anti-spam fraternity.

"What they're doing is both illegal and exacerbating the problem to get rid of the problem," said Richard Starnes, director of incident response at Cable and Wireless, when the site was created.

At the same time Malte Pollmann, communications director of Lycos Europe indicated "Make Love Not Spam" was a public relations venture as much as an anti-spam campaign. "There's benefits from that angle too for sure. The response has been incredible," he said.But one PR executive, who wished to remain unnamed, thought differently. "What a bunch of idiots. This is a disaster," he said.

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