HostWinds: A Turnaround Story

From Brian Krebs comes the story of the fall and rise of internet hosting firm HostWinds. Founder Peter Holden explains how they came to get enticed into hosting spammers, which seemed very profitable in the short term, but turned out to not be so tenable for the long haul.

Interesting to note: A Spamhaus listing is one thing, but when AOL says they're not accepting any mail from anyone on your network any more, that really drives the clients away.

Oops: Gmail Spam Filter Changes Bite Linus Torvalds

As reported on Slashdot: "[After recent spam filter changes at Gmail, Linux inventor Linus] Torvalds said his own experience [is] that around 30 per cent of the mail in his spam box turned out not to be spam."

I see lots of false positives in my own mailboxes as well, but I don't think it's really Google's fault. I'm on various lists talking about email authentication, DMARC, and so forth. Those discussions bring a lot of IT folks who often first implement DMARC in a way that practically begs Google to treat their mail more suspiciously. And a few of the lists are managed with outdated list management tools, that have yet to be updated to play nice with DMARC.

So I know I'm an edge case. I wonder if the same can be said of Linus Torvalds.

1,072,835 Page views!

I registered the domain spamresource.com on December 31, 2000 and in the year 2001 first used it as a platform to publish my thoughts and opinions on spam-related topics (hand coding the HTML all along the way).

Throughout 2004 and 2005, I also used the domain name to house an online software store. My employer at the time had a contest to see who could generate the most online sales from their own external websites, and I ended up winning one of the prizes. It wasn't about to make me rich any time soon, but it was a fun experiment in online sales and I made a nice amount of pocket money for a time. (Without engaging in unethical SEO tricks or spam or anything like that.)

In August 2006, I moved Spam Resource over to Google's Blogger platform (and was able to transition many of the prior posts over, to keep a good sense of history going).

Google's Blogger dashboard for Spam Resource says there have been 1,072,835 page views for all time. Let's assume that means that many page views since it went live on Blogger in 2006. That's probably not a lot compared to so many of the bigger sites out there, but it feels like a lot to me.

I'm sad to have missed the one millionth page view, which probably slipped on by sometime earlier this year. But I'm happy to have made it to and beyond this milestone and I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has read, linked to, or commented on my blog throughout the years. I appreciate you and I thank you.

Domain Registration Privacy: Another View

Electronic Frontier Foundation's Jeremy Malcolm and Mitch Stoltz published an article yesterday quite reasonably expressing concern over a proposal in front of ICANN that would limit use of "domains by proxy"-style WHOIS privacy for domain registration services.

It's a concern I can understand. My wife, a feminist author who has been "lucky" enough to only occasionally have message board threads calling her horrible names (and so far has avoided some of the more intense harassment leveled at other women online) and I have watched other people, often women, get doxxed and harassed in horrible ways and I totally agree that for a lot of people, it is entirely reasonable to not want to put your home address on a domain registration and have it visible to the whole world.

I'm not against online anonymity. I just also see the other side of it, misuse of these tools by bad actors. Consider the following.

Return Path adds AOL to list of certification-enabled ISPs

Today, Return Path announced that AOL has joined the Return Path Certification Program.

Return Path now names "AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft, Comcast, Cox, Cloudmark, Yandex, Mail.ru, Orange, Spamassassin and SpamCop" as ISPs providing value to certified senders, along with "hundreds of others, including key international domains."

Having trouble delivering mail to AOL? Now you can add "look into Return Path Certification" to the list of things to investigate to help improve your inbox rate there.

(No word on whether or not Verizon's recently completed acquisition of AOL will have any impact with regard to certification. If I were a betting man, though, I'd put my money on AOL's mail platform becoming the dominant one in this merger.)