An arbitrator has ruled that Scott Richter and his Web marketing company, Media Breakaway of Westminster, Colorado, must pay MySpace 4.8 million dollars in damages and 1.2 million dollars in attorney's fees for barraging MySpace members with unsolicited advertisements. Media Breakaway and its employees were also banned from the site.
MySpace alleged that some of the messages were sent from accounts whose sign-on information had been hijacked by "phishing." Media Breakaway countered that independent contractors who sent messages for Media Breakaway were to blame for phishing and other improper behavior.
In a statement, Media Breakaway celebrated the fact that the arbitrator had awarded MySpace "95 percent less than the amount demanded" by the company.
Indeed, the arbitration ruling pales next to a 230 million-dollar verdict MySpace won in U.S. District Court last month against two Internet marketers, Sanford Wallace and Walter Rines. Nonetheless, MySpace hopes the Richter case will rachet up the pressure it has been trying to place on spammers.