DNSBL Safety Report 5/14/2011

SpamTips.org, a website devoted to SpamAssassin Tips (SpamAssassin being the wildly popular open-source spam filter) recently posted a wonderful DNSBL Safety Report, showing hit rates against both spam and non-spam (false positives) for various blacklists commonly used in SpamAssassin.

Interestingly, they specifically warn AGAINST using UCEProtect and the Lashback UBL.

For Lashback's UBL, I'm not so surprised about the results. I don't mean that Lashback's list is broken -- it's just very specifically "IPs of somebody who mailed someone after they unsubscribed and should not have been mailed." There are probably a lot of ISP outbound mail servers that have had individual email messages or intermittent issues with spam emission that meet that criteria. It is probably more appropriate to use it for scoring/vetting reputation in certain scenarios only, moreso than using it to block mail outright.

With UCEProtect, it's disappointing to hear that they have a 1.7% false positive rate as measured against this specific email stream.

I've written about blacklists (and even similarly tracked their effectiveness) over on DNSBL Resource for many years -- so it's very nice to see somebody else doing something similar. The more data, the better, as far as I'm concerned.

(H/T: Box of Meat)

AOL blocked? Don't try this at home.

Gee, ya think THIS will scale?

Over on the AOL Postmaster blog, a commenter tells a tale of his alternate method of finding a human at AOL to assist with his spam blocking issue:

"Since I felt that this was beginning to rise to the level of something that AOL execs should really be concerned about, I did the only remaining thing I could think of - I bought a share of AOL stock, and contacted AOL Investor Relations with an explanation of how, as a shareholder, I was very concerned with AOL's complete lack of inbound email delivery support and how I felt this would likely adversely impact shareholder value.

Yesterday, I got a response from a nice guy named Lothar their IR department with an offer to provide assistance in resolving our issue. I've forwarded our mail server/IP address info to Lothar, and am awaiting response. As a share of AOL stock is on par with the cost of a month of AOL service at this point, it might represent a cheaper way to get access to some attention/help. I'll post here again when I know how this approach works out."

Uhhhh....really? I have to admit, this gave me a good laugh. But is it likely a winning strategy? I'm doubtful.

What would you present?

In a couple of weeks I'll be presenting to a class of paralegals-in-training, talking about the legal aspects of compliance in marketing online (CAN-SPAM, DMCA, CDA, etc.). I'm pulling together information about various cases that might be most interesting to share with the class and generate topics of discussion. Could I impose upon you, dear reader, to share with me what your thoughts are here? Got any links or info you'd like to share with me? What cases do you think merit looking at? Gordon v Virtumundo, for starters. What else? Thanks in advance for your thoughts!