Interramp, PSInet and Pipeline: Heaven for Junk Email Spammers

By , August 21, 1996

Over the past few months, I have received a steadily increasing number of junk email messages from Interramp, PSInet, and Pipeline…

by Mark J. Welch. . . . Last Updated August 21, 1996 . . . http://www.ca-probate.com/psinet.htm


How can you complain to Interramp, PSInet and Pipeline? In general, you must pay to complain to these companies, by calling their technical support lines at 717-770-1800 or 717-770-1700, or their main offices at 703-904-4100. However, you might also try calling their toll-free telephone line at 800-827-7482 to complain.


Over the past few months, I have received a steadily increasing number of junk email messages from Interramp, PSInet, and Pipeline — which are all the same company (PSInet owns Interramp and Pipeline; MindSpring is in the process of acquiring all three company’s subscribers). At first, I thought that these companies were simply separate victims like any other ISP (Internet Service Provider), but over the past three months I noticed that these three companies, unlike most other ISPs, ignore all complaints about junk email. (Each complaint to abuse@interramp.com, abuse@psi.com, or abuse@pipeline.com generates an “automated” response, but there was never any follow-through, and the volume of junk email from those domains continues to increase.)

I get about 10 times as much “junk email” from interramp, PSInet, Pipeline and MindSpring email addresses as I get legitimate email.

From now on, every time I receive a piece of mail from those addresses, my email software will automatically return it (with a cc: to postmaster@psi.com and postmaster@interramp.com) with an explanation that all mail from those domains is ignored because the vast majority of mail from those sites is junk email.

If you are an Interramp, PSInet or Pipeline customer, I urge you to immediately cancel your account, because thousands of users will automatically flag any email you send as “junk email” spam. Get an account with a legitimate company that does not encourage the broadcast of millions of pieces of unsolicited “junk email.”

For more information about junk email, see http://www.ca-probate.com/aol_junk.htm

Yesterday, I was surprised to receive a piece of junk email from the “Spam King” himself — Jeff Slaton (who used an Interramp account to spam me). Of course, his name isn’t on the email, but calls placed to the number on the email (which uses a forged, fake return address) are returned by one of Jeff Slaton’s associates, Ryan Esher. (You can leave voice mail for these spammers at 800-944-3366).

Yesterday and today (August 20-21) I spent at least two hours on the telephone trying to reach someone at Interramp or PSInet, to stop this junk email spamming. I was repeatedly transferred and hung up on, and ultimately I was told that any complaints had to be made via email (which is ignored) or via a long-distance phone call.

Finally, today, after spending about 20 minutes of long-distance time being transferred and hung up on, I was told that the only person at the company who dealt with junk email issues was John Rightmulder (sp?) and I was transferred to him. He acknowledged that PSInet and Interramp currently provide a great home for junk email spammers. He acknowledged that both companies give out unrestricted free “demo” accounts, which are used by spammers to broadcast huge volumes of junk email. In addition, unlike most ISPs which maintain detailed records to track user activity, PSInet/Pipeline/Interramp can’t track down the account which broadcast the email, so it is nearly impossible to identify and cancel the sender’s accounts. He claimed that MindSpring, which is buying PSInet and Interramp, does not share these marketing and technical problems, and he also claimed that no new demo accounts will be allowed after September 1. I can’t understand why PSInet continues to allow the demo accounts, and if I were MindSpring I would back out of any deal to acquire this huge problem. I think the inevitable result of this transaction is irreparable damage to MindSpring’s reputation.

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