SORBS Information Roundup

SORBS, a blacklist run by Australian Michelle Sullivan, has announced that its hosting agreement is being revoked at that it will soon be homeless. Click here for the announcement and my thoughts on what this means for SORBS users, over on my companion site, DNSBL Resource. EmailKarma and cover this story as well.

Ms. Sullivan characterizes this latest action as the current host in a way that suggests that the University of Queensland no longer wishes to have SORBS on its network. "[They] have decided not to honor their agreement with myself and SORBS," she wrote.

I've written about and discussed SORBS on multiple occasions over the years, which has led to an acrimonious relationship relationship between SORBS and Spam Resource. There have been various attempts at retaliation against my perceived attacks on SORBS; things like Ms. Sullivan putting one of my domains in her usage examples, a typo-laden web page containing rants against my testing methodology (quickly pulled down after I responded loudly and publicly), legal threats, and "personal" SORBS listings that reference individuals by name, not spam issues. Strangely, I was also accused of being a principal at my employer, based on confusion over the Australian usage of the term "director."

Here's a few sites with other criticism and commentary relating to SORBS:
  • The IADL Story. Appears to be written by Dean Anderson, relates to a public disagreement between SORBS and This isn't that uncommon; Dean has picked multiple public fights with anti-spammers before, and loves to accuse blacklist operators of secretly being spammers. However, it takes two to tango, and if SORBS really is/was listing over an issue other than spam, then it highlights a potential failing of a blacklist supposedly focused on fighting spam.
  • A commenter on this SORBS Sucks thread suggests that as of April 2009, SORBS was blocking Network Solutions.
  • Here's a story where an email administrator talks about issues run into when trying to get addresses removed from SORBS dynamic list.
  • Here's a similar issue reported by a frustrated individual in the UK.
  • MTA (mail transfer agent; mail server) publisher Kerio noted in 2006 that SORBS was blocking various well-known ISPs/webmail providers, and recommended Kerio users remove from their mail server configuration.
  • According to this request for assistance, SORBS is blocking at least some Hotmail outbound IP addresses as of 6/22/2009.
ETA 6/24/2009: Ken Magill covers "SORBS on the Ropes" over at Direct Magazine. Note that there's an incorrect statement made by Ms. Sullivan in that article; SORBS is not used by Microsoft or Google. The SORBS story was also covered by Slashdot. It is telling that the very first comment is not a kind one: "A blacklist that charges you to get your IP removed will inevitably block far more than real spammers."


  1. SORBS is a blight on the internet. Its good to see that UQ realised that they where damaging the university's reputation by hosting this second rate service.

  2. Trying to get an IP off the SORBS RBL is seemingly impossible. No wonder there are so many rants about this list. Google lists tons of them,

  3. Interesting that I've just ran into these pinheads and they want $50 to "teach me a lesson". Yeah, right. Well, it seems that someone else will be teaching them a lesson by pulling the plug!

    Good on ya mate!


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