North American Network Operators Group

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Re: open relays at Earthlink

  • From: John Butler
  • Date: Wed Aug 26 12:03:19 1998

Thus spake Aaron Goldblatt <[email protected]> on Mon, Aug 24, 1998:
> Of course it's a boneheaded way to run an Internet business, if you plan to
> be a decent Netizen.  But consider:  Companies like,
>,,, etc., all exist for a single
> purpose: to make money.  

Once again, capitalists bashing capitalism. Some day people will learn you
don't have to screw people to make money.

> It is -costly- to fix broken configurations that
> have a direct impact on customers.  You have to pay the support personnel
> to wade through the email and handle the calls.  You may have to pay for
> the calls if you're dumb enough to have an 800 number for support.  

This perplexes me. MindSpring is currently the only dialup ISP to be turning
a profit, and we couldn't have done it without an 800 number for support plus
a support staff that's sharp enough to fix customer config problems quickly.
Yes, we pay a lot in 800 bills, but we also get a return on that investment.
Our support department actually generates income for us because they treat the
customer well enough to send us referrals. If you treat your customers better
than the other guys to the point that the customers notice, you *can* make

> You may
> additionally have to pay the 800 bill for your customers calling your sales
> department 'cause they can't get through to the support department because
> the lines are so clogged.  And you may lose customers, which costs money.

Certainly does, so we hire people who can fix the problems fast enough not
to clog the lines. Not to mention the PBX voice prompts which keep lots of
support issues out of the sales lines and vice versa.

> Or you can continue to allow people to spam, which doesn't cost anything in
> any quantifiable manner, and annoys your support staff a whole lot less.

We have very stringent anti-spam policies. It is in our interest to get rid of
customers who abuse our network, and we do. We've also laid out lots of capital
to block incoming spam, so we are familiar with the costs.

> Mind you, I'm all for doing the responsible thing.  But I understand the
> bottom line concerns that sometimes prevent it.

Again, it's in the bottom line interest to do the responsible thing.

John Butler, Network Engineer, Mindspring Enterprises Network Services