Abuse of Prodigy Account: Woodside Literary Agency

Rumors of Legal Action Against Woodside by Prodigy

From: Lucke
Newsgroups: news.admin.net-abuse.usenet
Subject: Re: UDP of prodigy?
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 1998 19:03:54 -0800

Just to add a note here:  this came off of a private anti-spam list, and I
won't identify the sender or the list, but it might be a good omen:

>Like the rest of you, I have been seriously displeased with Prodigy's
>handling of spam and other abuse.
>So I telephoned Bob Lynch who is the manager at Prodigy for news, email,
>and their content servers.  (He'd sent me his number after I explained
>why they needed to fix things.  I'll supply his address upon request to
>anyone with a legitimate need for it.  He's apparently been mailbombed
>in the past by ISP admins and requested that I not make his address
>GOOD NEWS -- Prodigy is apparently fixing things and should be one of
>the good sites very soon.
>Bob said that the abuse mailbox was unread for a long time and that this
>was very bad.  Two weeks ago the issue was resolved, and abuse is now a
>part of "Membership Services" and has a full-time manager devoted to it,
>along with two support staff whose job it is to read it and cancel accounts.
>He says that he has made the VPs and President of Prodigy understand
>the damage that is being done to Prodigy's name and the harm that it
>is suffering because of the lack of an effective response to abuse.  He
>informed them about how sites are blocking Prodigy and the effect this
>has on the desirability of Prodigy to its users.  (Further proof that
>the RBL really does work.  Way to go Paul!)
>When Prodigy cancels an account for spamming they also flag the credit
>card to prevent future renewals using it.  The problem is that some
>spammers, like Woodside, have many credit cards that they cycle through.
>(More on Woodside later.)
>Prodigy has restricted its SMTP server to Prodigy customers only, and
>has taken some steps to have connections from Prodigy to open relays
>(such as at Pacbell) rejected by the recipient wherever possible.
>Prodigy has instituted a limit of 99 messages a day for mail with a
>non-Prodigy return address (such as would be used by someone with
>multiple ISPs who is sending mail from Prodigy) and 499 per day for
>mail with a valid Prodigy return address.
>Prodigy modified its TOS to include a charge for spamming, just as
>Earthlink did.
>Prodigy modified its TOS to prohibit spamming from other sites and
>using Prodigy as a drop-box or web host.
>They have modified their software to catch outgoing spam wherever
>possible.  They already filter a lot of spam like MMF based on
>keywords, and are modifying the filters to reject Woodside spam.
>Much of the problem with spam was a problem in not having enough
>information in the logs to monitor who was spamming.  This problem
>has been corrected in the past two weeks and Prodigy can now
>identify the originating account.
>As far as Woodside goes, Prodigy is apparently investigating legal
>action to get Woodside off their machines permanently and will begin
>charging them for costs associated with the spam.  Woodside may be
>using agents to spam, but regardless of whom is spamming the spammer
>will be charged and the account will be closed.
>He expects that the problems with abuse from Prodigy users should
>largely disappear within the next two to four weeks.
>If all of this actually happens, it will be a good thing.

Subject:      META: Sites banned from RACI and RACR
From:         Jeremy
Date:         1998/01/02
Newsgroups:   rec.arts.comics.info,rec.arts.comics.reviews,rec.arts.comics.misc

The "Woodside" spammers have settled into prodigy.com, and are sending a
steady stream of spams to Usenet.  (I received over 6 submissions to
each group in the past 12 hours alone.)  Prodigy is notorious for taking
no action against Internet abusers acting from their systems.  As a
result, I have blocked all prodigy.com messages from both groups.

Subject:      [admin] site blockages
From:         Coyt
Date:         1998/01/02
Newsgroups:   rec.games.frp.announce

Prodigy.net and Prodigy.com are now being completely filtered at 
rec.games.frp.announce.  Just today I have received over 8 Woodside and about 4 
Photo Phoenix SCAM SPAMs.  This brings them to the forefront for service 
providers spamming rec.games.frp.announce, with a sharp spike just prior to 
Christmas.  My complaints to prodigy.net have gone unanswered (even by robot), 
and obviously Woodside is taking advantage of the holidays' typical low 
staffing to do as much damage as possible before getting kicked.

At this point, I can only find a single posting originating at Prodigy, and 
that was in November.  Prodigy currently joins cyberpromo and agis as service 
providers whom I am filtering at a low level, I will not even be seeing any 
messages directed to rec.games.frp.announce which originate from Prodigy 
*unless* they have the filter bypass text included in their headerlines.

If you have a prodigy account at wish to post to rec.games.frp.announce, you 
will need to email me DIRECTLY at my watters.10@osu.edu address.  Postings to 
announce will not make it to me from Prodigy.

Sorry to have to do this, but the spammers just waste my time and delay your 

On a good note:  earthlink and aol have been moved off the suspicious list and 
their postings are now going into queue as normal postings.

On another good note:  I should move into a permanent office next week and 
actually have a machine of my own on which I can get the robot up and running.

From: harkness
Newsgroups: news.admin.net-abuse.usenet
Subject: Woody is still out there, trying to post to moderated group
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 21:02:47 GMT

TO abuse@aol.com:  This attempted post used a forged aol return address, 
while apparently posting from Prodigy.  You could do the entire Usenet 
community a great service by following Juno's example and suing this 
well-know scam artist out of business.  He
is abusing your name all over Usenet!

TO nana.u:  I am co-moderator of comp.lang.c++.moderated.  I have received 
the following attempted post to that group about 3 times a week for the last 
couple of months.  Apparently, "Woody" has figured out that massive crossposts 
which include our group never get posted to any group in the crosspost list, 
and quit trying the crosspost trick about a month or so ago.

"Woody" is the infamous Woodside Literary Agency, a well-known fraud.  I would 
expect this post to be on about the same level as the MMF chain letter; it has 
appeared enough times to be cancellable on sight.

The moderation site software doesn't preserve the headers, so they may look strange.


Newsgroups: comp.lang.c++.moderated
From: Lit33354@aol.com
Subject: Writers/Seeking/Publication
Organization: Prodigy Services Corp
X-Original-Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 10:06:56
X-Submission-Address: c++-submit@netlab.cs.rpi.edu

We are a New York based  literary agency with two branch offices, one of 
which is in Florida. We are seeking new and previously published authors, so please 
adhere to the following guidelines.

All fiction: send brief synopsis, first chapter, and include a self addressed, stamped
envelope (SASE).
All nonfiction: brief synopsis, first chapter, SASE.
Short Stories: brief synopsis, 3 pages, SASE.
Poetry: send 3 poems, SASE.
Please do not send complete manuscript unless we ask for it.
Kindly, do not e-mail. Submit your material to the address below.

Send to:WILA


From: akelly
Newsgroups: news.admin.net-abuse.usenet
Subject: Re: Prodigy ignoring spam complaints?
Date: 24 Dec 1997 15:40:52 GMT

Henning wrote:
>as the moderator of de.sci.announce I am getting more and more spam postings
>to that group posted through Prodigy's service using faked AOL addresses.
>But obviously not in Prodigy's case :-( I have been sending complaints to
>abuse@prodigy.com and postmaster@prodigy.com for two weeks now and nothing
>has happened. I didn't even get an automated answer. Am I the only one
>experiencing this?

I'm the moderator for sci.econ.research.  In September I was getting two
Woodside SPAMs per day from prodigy, and complaints to abuse@prodigy.com
were ignored.  After a month of this I sent a message saying that prodigy
users would be banned from the newsgroup because of their ISP's support
of woodside.  The next day I get a *very* defensive note from prodigy,
telling me that their abuse guy had been on vacation, no one was
covering the abuse desk, these things take a few days, and how dare I
threaten them over this.  Then it stopped.  Last week it started again.
I've continued sending copies to prodigy, have gotten no response, and
have now implemented a ban on Prodigy users in the newsgroup.  Until
Prodigy appears in the newsgroups or SPAM-L and explains just why we
should start trusting them, the ban on Prodigy users will stay in place.

Newsgroups: news.admin.net-abuse.usenet
Subject: Re: Prodigy ignoring spam complaints?
From: Tim
Date: 24 Dec 1997 10:00:34 -0600

     This probably explains why they're now posting though *my*
server.  Yes, Prodigy shares dialups with ibm.net (else they wouldn't be
able to post to me).  However, I aggressively filter news.  This helps.


. . .one of my abuse team guys is making calls to Prodigy right now.  
One can only hope.

Woodside was on Prodigy in October and this was the reaction to Prodigy's non-reaction to spam complaints:

Subject:      USP warning for prodigy was: Major spam problems from prodigy
From:         Michael
Date:         1997/10/26
Newsgroups:   christnet.admin,christnet.general,christnet.christnews

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR PRODIGY USERS: Unless you or a prodigy administrator
administrator contacts me by November 1st, Your posting access to
christnet will be cut off.  All postings coming FROM a prodigy news 
server, or having a prodigy email address will be DELETED automatically 
(UDP) from all the christnet groups.

below is log of ALL postings from prodigy in the last two weeks in just 
FOUR christnet newsgroups:

Posting to christnet newsgroups will be cut off due to continued woodside 
spamming unless I hear from a human being before nov 1st.

This is trully sad... If they are forging credit cards, have them 
arrested. everyone in the world knows who they are.

Subject:      More fake Erols spam from Prodigy/Woodside Re: Publish>your>manuscript?>
From:         captain
Date:         1997/10/23
Newsgroups:   news.admin.net-abuse.usenet

The following Usenet spam arrived here (the moderators address for
alt.binaries.electric-veh) bearing a fraudulent Erols email address, but it is
clear that it was sent by a Prodigy customer, the Woodside Literary Agency - a
long-established spammer who is being shielded by Prodigy.net despite numerous
complaints sent to abuse@prodigy.net over the past several months.

I am calling for an immediate and unlimited UDP against Prodigy, to be lifted
if and only if Prodigy disconnects Woodside PERMANENTLY and WITH PREJUDICE, and
announces that information on the Prodigy public Web site, along with a public
apology to all of the people who have been defrauded by the Woodside spammer,
and all of the ISPs whose resources have been stolen by the spammer with
Prodigy's complicity.

Received: from localhost ( by PELICAN.montagar.com (MX F5.0) with SMTP;
          Wed, 22 Oct 1997 22:48:56 -1300
Received: from smtp2.teleport.com (smtp2.teleport.com []) by
          PELICAN.montagar.com (MSC/WhiteICE-V2.0) with SMTP
Received: (from atari@localhost) by smtp2.teleport.com (8.8.7/8.7.3) id
          UAA28976 for EVsubmit@WhiteIce.com; Wed, 22 Oct 1997 20:47:20 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from rutgers.RUTGERS.EDU (RUTGERS.EDU []) by
          smtp2.teleport.com (8.8.7/8.7.3) with ESMTP id UAA28959 for
          ; Wed, 22 Oct 1997 20:47:17 -0700 (PDT)
Received: from newssvr04-int.news.prodigy.com (newssvr04-ext.news.prodigy.com
          []) by rutgers.RUTGERS.EDU (8.8.5/8.6.12) with ESMTP id
          XAA10131 for ; Wed, 22
          Oct 1997 23:47:16 -0400 (EDT)
Received: (from news@localhost) by newssvr04-int.news.prodigy.com (AIX4.2/UCB
          8.7/8.7) id XAA64482; Wed, 22 Oct 1997 23:47:14 -0400 (EDT)
To: alt-binaries-electric-veh@moderators.uu.net
Path: not-for-mail
From: Agent1@erols.com
Newsgroups: alt.binaries.electric-veh
Subject: Publish>your>manuscript?>
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 1997 23:49:18
Organization: Prodigy Services Corp
Lines: 20
Message-ID: <62mhc2$1bp2$369@newssvr04-int.news.prodigy.com>
NNTP-Posting-Host: port66.myer.prodigy.net

We are the International Literary Agency of New York. We also have 2 
other branches, one in the Lake George region of New York and the
other in Marco Island, Florida, consequently we are able to accept new
clients. Please adhere strictly to the following guidelines for submission
of all fiction & nonfiction.
Fiction: Brief synopsis, first chapter, self-addressed, stamped envelope
Nonfiction: Brief synopsis, first chapter, S.A.S.E.
Screenplays: (for TV & Movies) Brief synopsis, first 20 pages, S.A.S.E.
Short Stories: Brief synopsis, first 3 pages, S.A.S.E.
Poetry: Send in 3 of your best poems only, S.A.S.E.

Woodside>International Literary Agency
33-29 58 Street>
Woodside, New York  Zip>1-1-3-7-7
Florida Branch: Tel>941-642-9660 or 718>6518145:NY

Please do not send in complete manuscript unless invited.

Subject:      Prodigy users banned from midwifery newsgroup
From:         Newsgroup moderator
Date:         1997/10/08 
Newsgroups:   sci.med.midwifery,news.admin.net-abuse.usenet

Dear readers of sci.med.midwifery,

During the past weeks, the moderators of sci.med.midwifery have been swamped
by submissions from the notorious "Woodside" spammer. These postings have 
subject headers like "Writers seeking publication", "all==photographers==" and 
the like. They are all solicitations for submissions of manuscripts or 
photographs to a publishing agency in Woodside, NY and completely unrelated to 
the topic of this newsgroup.

The woodside spammer has successfully evaded all but one attempts to 
automatically detect these articles between bona fide submissions to the 
newsgroup. The latest copies of this spam don't even contain a numerical 
representation of the company's phone number and ZIP code.

All of these postings have been submitted via Prodigy, a provider who has 
proved singularly inactive when presented with complaints about their spam.

The moderators have now taken the last recourse to keep the moderation system 
operable by not accepting any submissions from Prodigy.

These submissions won't be automatically lost, but they will be collected in a 
special mail folder. Occasionally, I will see if it contains any submissions 
that don't seem to be junk mail and process them.

If you are a customer of Prodigy and wish to participate in the discussion in 
this newsgroup, you can contact me and we can find a way how your submissions 
can get past this spam filter.

However, sci.med.midwifery is not the only moderated newsgroup that has ceased 
to accept submissions from Prodigy because they are harbouring the Woodside 
spammer, and there is discussion about not transporting Prodigy posts in 
unmoderated newsgroups as well; so Prodigy costumers may soon find that their 
articles are only visible to other Prodigy members. To avoid this, they can 
either ask the management to start providing conscientious Internet 
connectivity, or they might consider looking for a more responsible provider.

I will lift the ban on Prodigy as soon as I have proof that Prodigy won't be a 
spammers' haven anymore.

(one of the sci.med.midwifery moderators)

If you or someone you know has had a bad or good experience with the Woodside Literary Agency, paid them money and/or signed a contract with them, or if you want to share your comments, send a message to the current page maintenance person at "WLA-My Experience"

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