Ask Al: Bad things happening?

Perry writes, "I keep coming back to re-read your comments about AOL being the good guys. I must admit, that when our ISP is on their blacklist, bad things happen."

Well, unless AOL has suddenly implemented a new policy of picking up a bus full of day laborers from the parking lot in front of the Home Depot, driving them over to your home, and beating you with zucchini while you sleep fitfully on a carpet remnant in your unheated basement, I don't really believe that bad things are happening to you.

Judge rejects TD Ameritrade breach settlement

In early 2007, Ed Falk, John Levine, and other trusted anti-spam and network security folks started to note that email addresses given only to TD Ameritrade were beginning to receive spam from unrelated entities.

Ask Al: The Strange Case Of The Help Request Gone Awry

Jeremy asks, "Al, Help! I submitted a support ticket to [an ISP] for my IPs which were getting tempfailed, and 24 hours later they were completely blocked! Why?"

C-27 Canada's Electronic Commerce Protection Act passes Committee Review

The Canadian anti-spam bill everyone is talking about, bill C-27, passed an important milestone on Monday October 26, at 17:30 when it passed clause-by-clause committee review and was referred back to the Canadian House of Commons materially intact and without controversial amendments that would have significantly altered the bill.

Top Five Tips for Dealing with Blacklists

Some self-styled "email marketing insider" recently posted a "Three Tips for Dealing with Blacklist Issues" articl0065 and wow, it turned out to be simplistic, useless advice.  Let's pretend it never happened, let's pretend we got that five minutes of our life back, and let's try again.


The spam subject lines? Little boy trapped in balloon; Boy-balloon-madness; balloon kid’s full story; Balloon boy died; Little boy trapped in balloon; Balloon boy died; balloon kid’s full story; Boy-balloon-madness; Drama with balloon(exclusive).

I missed the balloon boy drama, because I was on the road the day it was all going down. Also, I don't own a TV. Thankfully, through the magic of spam, I am able to make my own mystical, magical connection to the balloon boy saga, if not to to little Falcon Heene himself. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity, Canadian Pharmacy! It's true; spam can bring us together.

And thank you, McAfee TrustedSource, for giving me something to blog about today. My work here is done.

Barry Don't Play That

Riffing on two recent themes here at Spam Resource, on the topic of ISP abuse desk/ email staff (now universally called Barry), and how some people mistakenly expect unblock magic to happen even though their mail streams suck, an employee of an ISP's abuse desk wrote in, offering up the following points of wisdom, thoughts on what annoys an ISP representative. Take it away, Another Barry!   

Why do we need an opt-in spam law?

As you saw in my previous blog post, I've come out in support of opt-in being the legally mandated permission standard in Canada. I don't think it's all that big of a deal; as I said before, opt-in is already a best practice. In response to that, one of my Twitter followers asked, what's the point? "Why, if opt-in is best practice in Canada does the government have to get involved?"  

I Support Opt-In Legislation for Canada

There's an effort underway to undermine support for the Canadian anti-spam legislation currently in development. Why do people want to kill or gut Bill C-27? I'm having a hard time seeing a problem with an opt-in requirement; it's already best practice. People who don't follow opt-in as a best practice are already doing things wrong. We want less spam in the world, not more. Even marketers should agree, shouldn't they? Spam undermines legitimate marketing efforts. It "dirties the channel." So what's the big deal?

I'd recommend you take a moment and read what CAUCE has to say on the topic today.

Another Day, Another 419 Scam

I must have landed in some scammer's address book, because I'm receiving some variant of this thing every day or two. Who is dumb enough to fall for this stuff? Besides the occasional Canadian, I mean.

Spamfighting Spam?

Why is sending spam? Isn't it ironic? Like rain, on your wedding day?


Zombie Blacklists: Life Goes On

J.D. Falk expresses some legitimate concern about zombie blacklists over on the ReturnPath blog. resurrected from the dead, and looking for delicious brains to snack on. Or something.

Cleaning NDRs out of a Spamtrap Feed?

Friends, Romans, Countrymen......could I lean on you for some tips on how to clean NDRs out of my spamtrap feed? As I ramp it back up I want to make sure I'm tagging mail correctly. I may include NDRs and other types of backscatter in some of my calculations, but I definitely want to denote what it is, as accurately as I can.

Could you offer up some suggestions on things to look for? Null return path/sender header is the big thing, if every NDR was formatted properly, that would catch it all. But I'm seeing a significant amount of bounces that don't have a null sender, so I'm probably also going to resort to some sort of text string matching. So if you have a big ole list of strings or individual string suggestions, please feel free to leave them in comments.

All feedback is welcome, and thanks!

Auth Don't Fix That!

Over on Spamtacular, Mickey Chandler answers the question, "Our last mailing had 30 complaints at AOL. Will signing with DKIM and SPF help with our reputation there?" As Mickey explains, it boils down to, no, not really, that's not what authentication does.

In short, auth don't fix that.

Staying Safe Online

Box of Meat recently linked to a couple of bits of really good info from two different webmail providers, talking about how to stay safe and secure online.

Let Us Count Up The Fail

Let us pretend the situation is as follows. (I hope, for your sake, that the situation is not really as follows. If it is, your life probably sucks.)

A Twitter Conversation About List Rental

Yesmail: "Need an email list to kick start your marketing program? See Yesmail Direct's awesome promo for 100 free in your zip"

Too Much Contact

As my phone rings for the upteenth time this morning, I grumble to myself silently. It's good to be a popular guy, somebody whom a lot of folks want to call and ask questions of. But, it's a real time suck. Sometimes I feel like it keeps me from getting "real work" done. People will occasionally go outside of the established procedure and call me directly, looking to resolve an issue as quickly as possible. I like to help, and I do when I can. But, there's only one of me, and a lot of people have my phone number.

And then it dawns on me; I'm grumbling about something I myself am guilty of.

A message from me...but not!

Back when my wife Kate and I had our wedding reception in June, we hired a local photographer, the sister of one of our friends. She worked out very well, and we were very happy with the results.

The photographer partners with a site called Pictage, to allow online photo review and print selection. Many of our friends registered for the site so they could also purchase pictures from the event. All fine, all good. Until...

Spamhaus, Snoeshow spam, and You

From Slashdot: "Spamhaus [has] announced they are releasing a new list of IP addresses from which they've been receiving "snowshoe" spam — unsolicited email distributed across many IPs and domains in order to avoid triggering volume-based filters."