Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(June 2003)

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Subject: Re: Spam blacklist
From: Nick Simicich <njs @ scifi . squawk . com>
Date: Sun, 01 Jun 2003 08:12:33 -0400
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
In-reply-to: <5 . 2 . 0 . 9 . 2 . 20030531170833 . 00bb26a0 @ pop . earthlink . net>
References: <20030531234635 . GA15628 @ firedrake . org> <5 . 2 . 0 . 9 . 2 . 20030531164203 . 00ba42f0 @ pop . earthlink . net> <5 . 2 . 0 . 9 . 2 . 20030531153339 . 00b59438 @ pop . earthlink . net> <5 . 2 . 0 . 9 . 2 . 20030531150102 . 00b8c918 @ pop . earthlink . net> <5 . 2 . 0 . 9 . 2 . 20030531150102 . 00b8c918 @ pop . earthlink . net> <5 . 2 . 0 . 9 . 2 . 20030531153339 . 00b59438 @ pop . earthlink . net> <5 . 2 . 0 . 9 . 2 . 20030531164203 . 00ba42f0 @ pop . earthlink . net>

At 05:10 PM 2003-05-31 -0700, Bob Bish wrote:

It appears that my hosting IP may have been recently de-listed. I'll give it some time for various ISPs to update their databases and see if those bounces cease.
   Many thanks to all who have helped with this.

Is your IP address yours, personally, or is it shared? I found this when I googled for the address, and then I checked it.

Received: from (unknown [])
        by (Postfix) with ESMTP id E20A51959D8
        for <majordomo-users @
greatcircle .
com>; Wed, 1 Jan 2003 13:30:36 -0800 (PST)

I won't take mail from this address because it has no reverse resolution. Just as a point. Many hosting companies that intend the host to mostly be used for web are not providing reverse resolution as a "signal". Are you sending mail directly from this host, or are you sending it from this host through the mail server that your ISP maintains? If it is your address, and you use it for e-mail, the hosting company should provide reverse resolution that matches the forward resolution.

In the future, just as a suggestion, the right people to handle this issue is the abuse desk at YOUR ISP. It is a fact of life that many ISPs simply do not care that they are sources of spam. They do absolutely nothing about outside complaints. The only time they will take action against a spammer is when they are listed in a blacklist and their own customers start complaining to them.

This came up on the postfix mailing list, and a lot of people posted a lot of strong opinions. Then someone who actually worked at an abuse desk posted his story. They had a spamming customer and were ignoring all outside complaints at the direction of management. They asked to be able to terminate the customer, and were told that they could not since the customer was paying their bills.

So then they were "escalated" (which is the term for what happens when the listing on a blacklist is broadened from a specific address used by a spammer to a containing network).

And the customers of the ISP started to complain.  And they threatened to walk.

And the next day the paying spamming customer who could not be terminated because they were paying their bills was terminated.

Now, when they have a situation where they have a pattern of complaints about a customer, they no longer wait for an escalation: They immediately terminate the customer. And their other customers are not listed in escalations, and they are happy, and they do not threaten to walk.

Simple economics. The people you should be complaining to is your ISP. They almost certainly had complaints before you were listed in what I presume was an escalation. And they almost certainly did nothing until the escalation happened.

I would start asking hard questions, like how long they knew about the spammer before they terminated him, and if they are going to change their policies so that expansion does not have to happen in the future.

Personally, I approve of escalations. My ISPs have made me agree to a strong anti-abuse policy. I like traditional mailing lists. I believe that spam is the single thing that is likely to render mailing lists irrelevant, as e-mail as we know it becomes useless and unused because of the spam problem. I believe that, in general, if all the customers at my ISP are living up to this policy, that I am not likely to be listed in an escalation. And if my ISP is getting service from someone that they should be acting as my agent if their range is listed because their ISP is not enforcing their rules on all of their customers.

The Rules of Spam:
Rule #0: Spam is theft.
Rule #1: Spammers lie.
(Proposed) Sharp's Corollary: Spammers attempt to re-define "spamming" as that which they do not do.
Rule #2: If a spammer seems to be telling the truth, see Rule #1.
Chrissman's Corollary: A spammer, when caught, blames his victims.
Rule #3: Spammers are stupid.
Krueger's Corollary: Spammer lies are really stupid.
Pickett's Commentary: Spammer lies are boring.
Russell's Corollary: Never underestimate the stupidity of spammers.
Nick Simicich - njs @
scifi .
squawk .
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