Too Spicy Spam

Unwanted smutty e-mail is bad enough, but you can delete it without opening it. Imagine pornographic instant messages hitting your screen unannounced--at work yet. Gee boss, I...

Despite fierce protections, some America Online users (including one of our editors) are being spammed by instant-messaged porn. Rivals gloat at the IM leader's little problem, but AOL Interactive Services President Barry Schuler says complaints are rare. "AOL has the highest level of protection in the industry," he insists. And clean-living customers can block offending screen names.

Even pornographers say porn spam is dumb. "It isn't cost-effective," says David G. Marshalak, CEO of Tampa-based Entertainment Network. Wannabe porn kings can send only one note at a time. Marshalak says small-timers use it to get leads to sell to bigger players. Not exactly a hustle that'll land you in a penthouse.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.