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Email Spam Kill Ratios?
Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 3:37 pm on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

41 Spammers Reported
12 ISP kills.

What can I do to better the odds of a successful report to an ISP and get the spammer booted?

 

IanTurner

WebmasterWorld Administrator ianturner us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 9:31 pm on Dec 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

I am quite happy to kill accounts on our servers if someone is reported as spamming, though I will check the logs and activity first.

We use slow down on sending of bulk emails for legitimate purposes to reduce server load.

I have had real problems with hotmail, if you maintain a newsletter mailing list and try to send to mor than 100 hotmail accounts you get blocked - which is really annoying seeing as the majority of the customers for the site in question are school kids and college age people many of whom use the free mail services.

WebManager



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 9:34 pm on Dec 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

So what of people who share servers? e.g. on that provided by our e-commerce software providers. Where do we stand?

estjohn

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 10:17 pm on Dec 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

Exactly. When my service was disrupted (wrongly as described in another post), it disrupted all the other people on one of my servers.

It was embarrassing and a hassle for my users on a different domain. For example, one of whom could not email her work from the server without triggering "you are a spammer" alerts and having work people wondering why.

I doubt a professional webmaster, especially one with a business hosting or serving many customers, can support such vigilantes--who based on their formula, however they come up with it, disrupt innocent people's business.

Realize that by tarring real and non-spammers together you are threatening people's legitimate business. ie SpamCop which disrupts service by IP, which could contain multiple non-related user accounts.

Don't rationalize it, find a better way to eliminate the real spammers.

dingman

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 10:25 pm on Dec 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

So what of people who share servers?

Your service provider needs to keep people from spamming from their IPs. If they allow spam to be sent from their network, they are not providing an adequate service level for the rest of their customers.

<add>Mind you, I do think that blackhole list suppliers should provide listed IP owners with a mechanism to demonstrate that they terminated the offender and get de-listed.</add>

[edited by: dingman at 10:27 pm (utc) on Dec. 3, 2002]

Fiver

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 10:26 pm on Dec 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

There was an article on CNN last night. They claim that the average user will get 2300 spam

hmmm. is it bad that that's around my weekly total? naaa, I've just been seoing for years and filter a million accounts into one. But I bet I throw off the averages a little though.

seriously, it's very annoying to get into arguments with coworkers who have sent me something that I haven't gotten only to find hours later labeled as spam and filtered by spam assassin because they got excited and put a! in the title.

grrr. missed out on good concert tickets because the email to pre-purchase internet tix for mailing list fanclub members didn't make it through.

double grrr. I'd rather set up my own filters, thanks.

WebManager



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 10:57 pm on Dec 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

There has been enough gratuitous - indeed NetMacho -talk about screwing spammers - great.

Now let's make some room for the pragmatists to advise how an innocent party having e-mails bouncing back due to the misbehaviour of others can hope to deal with this.

(I'm not talking about word filters, but a block placed on an IP)

bird

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 11:11 pm on Dec 3, 2002 (gmt 0)

WebManager,

Your ISP or hoster appears to be supporting spammers. As long as you're paying them for the sub-par service they give you, you'll suffer from the consequences of their activities.

Your best choice is to search for a more reputable ISP/hoster.

estjohn

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 12:44 am on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately bird, moving from providers is a poor solution--pretty much every ISP/host big and small has had problems with people spamming from their domains. Some are better than others at stopping it but it's hard to predict without being with a provider for a while...and even then there is no guarantee they won't have problems in the future.

If you are running a business you can't just keep changing hosts/ISP/ecommerce provider whenever there is a problem.

While I'm here...

Another issue I have is that these anti-spam systems which work by blocking IP and interfere with normal business--they still do not seem to solve the spam problem! RBL/MAPS has been out there for a while and yet spam multiplies. What's up?

bird

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 1:55 am on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

RBL/MAPS has been out there for a while and yet spam multiplies. What's up?

Those organizations can't directly reduce the amount of spam being sent. Only the spammers could do that. What the black lists do is give *you* a tool for flagging your incoming mail, and then to decide whether you really want to look at the flagged items. Only very indirectly, by intimidating some rogue ISPs, can they actually make it harder for the spammers to find new homes.

I find it quite interesting how this thread has shifted in topic. The original post was explicitly about stopping individually verified spammers. I am really surprised how anyone in his right mind can protest against that. At least half of the further discussion was then sidetracked to how blacklisting might hurt innocent bystanders. Why are those two completely seperate procedures being brought into position against each other here?

chris_f

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 8:42 am on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

Brett,

As you may know, I'm one for going after spammers. It's great fun and not too difficult to know you getting revenge. I usually great results like the ISP will only allow them to send 5 emails a day. I also have an automated program that literally signs them up to every list I have found on the web and it sends them all my junk :). Not from my address of course. I chase about 1 day and get about a 90% success rate.

Chris

Dante_Maure

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 3757 posted 10:35 am on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

I would be interested in knowing how someone becomes blacklisted that does not deserve it

Here are two of the biggest culprits...

  • One of the biggest, and highest profile Spam "Police" organizations reports every URL contained in the emails submitted.

    If a newsletter publisher sends out an issue with your site mentioned in it, and this issue is reported for any reason whatsoever, your site just got added to the blacklist, which then gets propagated to countless other blacklists. Same holds true if you decided to place an ezine ad in an issue that gets reported.

    If you think this is rare. Think again. I participate on a number of professional publisher lists where the degree of integrity is incredibly high, and even while observing "best practices" in publishing, spam accusations are absolutely inevitable.

    Even with triple opt-in, if your list is large enough it's not a matter of "will you be accused of spam"... it's just a matter of when.

  • The plethora of Klez type viruses that steal email addresses and forge headers.

    If your email is in anyone's address book that doesn't know enough to circumvent such nasties... count on the fact that it's eventually going to end up in someone else's inbox looking like you emailed them directly.

    and what is done to reverse the improper listing.

    Heh. Nothing less than the offering of a sacrificial virgin to the Filter Gods. ;)

    Seriously though, I know numerous legitimate publishers of impeccable integrity that have had to deal with legal action, and even change the domain they use for list serving due to irresponsible spam reporting.

    The only safegaurd you have is to keep a file updated daily with the time stamp of each and every subscribe request... and sometimes even that's not enough.

    It's a serious problem, with no easy solutions.

    I can't recommend highly enough the following articles by eBiz pundit Paul Myers on this very subject...

    The Dea(r)th of Email? - "You HAD mail!" [talkbiz.com]

    The Spam Wars [talkbiz.com]

    More on the Spam Wars [talkbiz.com]

  • Jon_King

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 2:35 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Dante,

    I have read the pages... wow I can see the problem. This is a difficult problem, for as you can imagine on the other side of the argument, the 1000 - 2000 spams I receive monthly has rendered some of my email addresses almost useless. It has become too troublesome to find the mail I actually asked for. This is a frustrating situation that has prompted occasionally a nee-jerk response from me.

    I don't think we are going to find the answer in self-policing. I cringe to think what some here might think when I say this but:

    I do think some formal regulated system has to be formed with laws and arbitration. The current state of affairs terrible...

    I will conclude with:
    My email was obviously taken from my profile here at WW(tracked down through my web site), no doubt because of an earlier post on this subject, and I have received unwanted and unsolicited email - SPAM.

    electgop

    10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 3:08 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    The sheer volume of email today makes it incumbent upon good listmasters to help solve the problems.

    Some listmaster etiquette to keep you out of the Muffin Box:

    INVITE, don't autmatically SUBSCRIBE someone to lists.
    Supply options for Digest, and text/html.
    In every message, identify yourself, your organization, your cause, the intent/disposition of the message, and your web site.
    Keep your headers consistent, so that subscriber do not have to update their filters.

    Tapolyai

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 3:20 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    bird wrote:
    Why are those two completely seperate procedures being brought into position against each other here?
    Because it is very rare and unusual to have absolute certainty that you have the culprit. I don't think it is such a bad idea to "side track" a bit. Without some reminders we would throw out the baby with the bath water.

    I believe spam will always be here. No government legislation, nor technology will resolve this issue completely. The question is can we reduce it to a tolerable level.

    Verified & proven spammers who do not repent, should be skinned, salted, then a week later quartered, and posted on each gate of the town for all to see.

    I have another question for all, and a side track as an ISP what do you look for in the report to be able to verify and deal with the spammers? Presuming the complete e-mail with header, trace route, IP addresses?

    bird

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 4:05 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    I have had real problems with hotmail, if you maintain a newsletter mailing list and try to send to mor than 100 hotmail accounts you get blocked

    I don't have a solution for legitimate publishers here, so this is just from the recipients perspective. If you use a yahoo or hotmail address, you'll have to accept that you won't get most newsletters. I guess they should just put that into their TOS and make it an official policy. If you don't like their stupid spam filters, you'll have to complain to them. But I suspect they won't do much about it, unless maybe you're paying them extra for the service.

    More seriously, if you need a free and disposable e-mail address, then I'd highly recommend you *not* to use one of the three or four well known names. I'm using a small and almost unknown free e-mail service myself, and have yet to receive any spam at any of the addresses I have registered there. And I'm using those addresses to sign up on all kinds of services, at least some of which wouldn't surprise me by reselling their databases. There are hundreds if not thousands of free e-mail services out there, and some of them are actually better and more reliable then the big ones. Chose wisely.

    One of the biggest, and highest profile Spam "Police" organizations reports every URL contained in the emails submitted.

    In my opinion, spamcop should be closed for the general public. Too many people believe they can just copy a spam into that box, press "report", and everything will be fine. A significant fraction of them actually end up reporting themselves that way...

    I believe spam will always be here. No government legislation, nor technology will resolve this issue completely. The question is can we reduce it to a tolerable level.

    Note that such explicit legislation is already in place in Europe, and it works surprisingly well. Only about 2% (estimated) of all the spam I receive originates in Europe, or advertizes european businesses, which stands in no relation to the european online population relative to the US or eg. Korea. And I report almost every single one of those, with a high termintion rate.

    IanTurner

    WebmasterWorld Administrator ianturner us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 4:49 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Tapoylai, you can montor server load and performance. If someone is spamming/sending bulk email it can be traced through logs. All you need to do then is contact the client and terminate if they can't come up with a legitimate response.

    If they fail to respond I will suspend the account as a matter of course.

    Crazy_Fool

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 5:40 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    >>Obviously I'm against forged headers, hijacking etc. But
    >>the spam definition has gotten pushed to be very broad,
    >>now it seems if a few just complain about your email then
    >>you are a spammer.

    and

    >>It's one thing to shut down/shut out abusers who are
    >>sending out millions of forged spam emails on hijacked
    >>servers advertising erectile dysfunction. It's quite
    >>another thing to disrupt legitimate emails from
    >>somebody's servers because of a few complaints.

    forgive me if i'm wrong, but this looks very much like the bog standard "my unsolicited junk emails are not spam" whinge of many spammers who use a definition of spam that "excludes" (or doesn't precisely include) their junk mail.

    "spam is bulk mail ... bulk mail is 50,000 or more emails ... i only send 49,999 emails so therefore i am not a spammer"

    "spam is junk mail about p*rn or p*n*s enlargement ... i don't do p*rn therefore my junk emails are legitimate and are not spam"

    it you are not sending spam, then you need to look at your opt-in systems to ensure that people are willingly signing up to receive your emails (newsletters etc). you also need to look at what you are sending and whether it looks like spam - if it looks like spam, it probably is spam. making something like a genuine (legitimate) email or newsletter look like spam isn't as easy as it seems.

    Crazy_Fool

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 5:49 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    >>I do think some formal regulated system has to be formed
    >>with laws and arbitration. The current state of affairs
    >>terrible...

    i agree jon - regulating the internet is probably the only real way forward and i'm all in favour.

    Crazy_Fool

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 5:54 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    >>as an ISP what do you look for in the report to be able
    >>to verify and deal with the spammers? Presuming the
    >>complete e-mail with header, trace route, IP addresses?

    as a web host, i would normally expect a copy of the email with full headers. i do have strict anti-spam rules in my terms and conditions and i do make customers aware of these at the time they sign up. i've only had one site owner send spam and because they sent it to us at several of our own email addresses, we didn't wait for complaints, we just terminated right there and then.

    fortunately only a tiny, selfish and ignorant minority of internet users send spam. unfortunately they cause a lot of people a lot of problems.

    Liane

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 6:15 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    fortunately only a tiny, selfish and ignorant minority of internet users send spam. unfortunately they cause a lot of people a lot of problems.

    I received 73 spam e:mails this morning and another 27 since 2 hours ago ... all of which were unsolicited. There are only three e:mail lists I have ever signed up for!

    I don't know how anyone can winge and moan "poor me, my legitimate e:mails are being banned". What a load of garbage!

    I spend at least a half an hour a day now just deleting this c**p from my computer.

    I hope the spam kill ratio increases exponentially!

    IanTurner

    WebmasterWorld Administrator ianturner us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 6:38 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    What is spam and what is a legitimate approach by a supplier sent to an email address on one of your websites?

    We have gained two very good suppliers through an unsolicited approach via our enquiries mail address which is openly published on our website.

    If you block all unsolicited sales approaches this could be construed as a restriction of trade.

    Jon_King

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 7:04 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    I think in a sense, it will be a restriction of trade... restrictions are applied in all manner of solicitations... meaning trade practices are not wide open.

    Specifically regarding the web, my personal feeling is that I should be in control of what is received at my computer... no pop-ups, no spam, no cookies, absolutely no anything - unless I give explicit permission.

    Brett_Tabke

    WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 7:06 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    My only hope is: Sender pays - one penny per email.

    dingman

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 7:13 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    What is spam and what is a legitimate approach by a supplier sent to an email address on one of your websites?

    An e-mail clearly sent to *my business specifically* or *me personally* because someone thinks that I'm a good prospect, with no forged headers, is not spam. If I ever opted in, it's not spam even if I regret it later.

    If you bought or borrowed a customer list from some company I do business with, it's spam and the company that sold you my name has lost my business if I can figure out who they are. If you know nothing about me except that one of my e-mail addresses is on one of your lists, it's spam. If you magically created some new "marketing preferences" with a default of sending me mail since the last time I visited your site (like a major internet presence did recently), it's spam because that's a total farce of opt-in.

    estjohn

    10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 7:16 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Hi Liane, I'm against spam. Let's make that clear. I get a ton of it too.

    What I'm also against is witchhunts that affect legitimate users and networks (examples in this thread).

    Call what I am saying "garbage" if you wish but regardless of how much spam you get, penalizing non-spammers for it is WRONG.

    Liane

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 7:25 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    unless I give explicit permission

    Exactly. Spam is an invasion of privacy. Much of it is porn, all of it is unwanted and unsolicited and it is time consuming to delete! If I spend a half an hour a day (minimum) deleting this stuff, that represents 7.58 days every year! An entire week of my life ... gone! And for what? For some jerk trying to sell me discounted office furniture, toner for my copier or my favourite ... Come see Suzzie Cue strut her stuff! %$#@&**

    Heck, I get ticked off when friends send tasteless jokes to my e:mail address. (Wait til you see me at the bar and then tell me the joke if you must! My computer is my main business tool and I am sick and tired of e:mail spammers eating up hours of my life!

    I feel there should be a way to register your e:mail address with some governing body somewhere and if your address is on that list, it is strictly forbidden to send unsolicited mail.

    If there are legitimate business people trying to contact me to sell me something, then pick up the bloody phone and call me. My number is on the site too!

    Jon_King

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 7:31 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    >>My only hope is: Sender pays - one penny per email.

    Good idea,
    I'll add... I think they should bid for it.

    Macguru

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member macguru us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 7:56 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Call me a dreamer if you like.

    I believe email SPAM became such a major nuisance that the private industry will take care of this problem. Dont we see more and more ISP using email SPAM filtering as a added value?

    I also see many regional judicial systems on this move, at pure loss. They suffer the limitations of any judicial system. Internet is no local stuff. A spammer phisically located in country X can easily lauch his SPAM attacks from a server based in country Y and bypass the whole system.

    I bet chocolate cake that private ISP market will bring SPAM to levels where ROI make it noticeably less of a nuisance for all. Any bets?

    [edited by: Macguru at 11:18 pm (utc) on Dec. 4, 2002]

    Liane

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 8:26 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Scareduck:

    Lusers who signed up for an account on our site who couldn't bother to unchecked the "Please send me your newsletter" checkbox on the signup page.

    LOL! Who's kidding who here? You know very well that people are not likely to "uncheck" a checked box. The vast majority expect to have to check a box if they want something ... and that is exactly the reason why the webmaster opted to have it checked instead of unchecked.

    If you are serious about not wanting to contribute to the spam problem and at the same time "reduce the number of headaches" you have to deal with ... then change that to an unchecked box and see how many legitimate subscribers you end up with.

    WebManager:
    Would you care to comment further on this Net machismo, given the light now being cast in this thread on the damage now being done to legitimate and innocent users by the unregulated spam-police?

    As you have characterized Brett's post as a "call to arms", I am happy to comment.

    While tragically, it may be possible for innocent companies or persons to be penalized, what are the numbers in comparison to the numbers who are being damaged by spam?

    I would guesstimate much, much, much fewer. In war "type" terms, there is bound to be collateral damage before this problem is solved and make no mistake, it is a huge problem. The real problem is determining what the acceptable level of collateral damage might be and how to minimize it in order to put a stop to this "unregulated" and completely out of control, free-for-all which some are attempting to call "legitimate business".

    WebManager



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 10:42 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Liane wrote:

    I received 73 spam e:mails this morning and another 27 since 2 hours ago

    and then:

    I don't know how anyone can winge and moan "poor me, my legitimate e:mails are being banned". What a load of garbage!

    <snip>

    As for the reference to collateral damage - in poor taste I think.

    [edited by: Macguru at 12:04 am (utc) on Dec. 5, 2002]
    [edit reason] Please see TOS # 4, thank you. [/edit]

    Jon_King

    WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



     
    Msg#: 3757 posted 11:12 pm on Dec 4, 2002 (gmt 0)

    Webmanager,

    Collateral damage may be in poor taste but I believe Liane is correct in result.

    Due to the extent of abuse by spammers, well meaning marketers will probably be driven out of business unless something is done to restore the confidence of the general receiving public. The spam has got to go.

    This 72 message thread spans 3 pages: < < 72 ( 1 [2] 3 > >
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