Need to contact an ISP for a deliverability issue? But you're not sure where to start or don't know where to go looking for contact information? Here's an example of steps you can try to identify contact information.
Keep in mind that no method for looking for contact information is perfect. And while some ISPs use the same contact processes for spam reporting issues and deliverability remediation requests, not all do. There's a chance you could end up emailing the wrong address. So it's important to approach this carefully and not just mail a random bunch of addresses, shotgun-style.
In this example, let's pretend you're looking to reach out to comcast.net about a spam or deliverability issue.
- Check the ISP Guides section here on Spam Resource. In my case, I do not yet have an entry for Comcast, so that doesn't do you much good. (But I add new guides periodically, so keep an eye out.)
- Next, check Word to the Wise's "ISP Information" page to see if the ISP in question is listed there. If you're lucky, they'll have a postmaster site or unblocking form listed. (In this example, comcast.net has both!)
- If that hadn't have panned out, next I'd suggest that you search the web for "Comcast.net postmaster site." Indeed, in this case, you'll find postmaster.comcast.net. This website is chock full of useful information, including details around different types of blocks and how to request unblocking. If you didn't get lucky searching for postmaster, try searching for "comcast.net unblocking request" or "comcast.net unblocking form" or similar terms.
- But if that were to fail, you could next try sending an email message directly to the address firstname.lastname@example.org. This "postmaster" role address is commonly supported by most ISPs. Some may not support it, however. It may go unanswered, or attempts to mail to it may bounce back.
- Assuming that fails, try looking up comcast.net in the public abuse.net database for a contact address - https://www.abuse.net/lookup.phtml?domain=comcast.net. That gives you email@example.com. (Which in their case, is more appropriate for reporting spam you received, not for requesting deliverability assistance.)
- Finally, if you've explored all other options unsuccessfully, try looking up the IP addresses that host mail servers for this domain in the internet registry for that region, then looking for contact information related to the ownership of those IP addresses. That's a common way for ISPs to notify each other of spam, abuse, email continuity and other technical issues.
Here's how to do that.
Start by looking up the "MX" (mail exchange) DNS record for comcast.net: https://xnnd.com/dns.cgi?t=mx&d=comcast.net&m=
Click on the first "is handled by" host name (in this case, mx1 or mx2.comcast.net): https://xnnd.com/dns.cgi?t=a&d=mx1.comcast.net.&m=
Click on the IP address: https://xnnd.com/dns.cgi?t=a&d=126.96.36.199&m=
Now it'll have a link that says "Query ARIN" for a US ISP or "Query RIPE" for a European ISP, (or some other registrar for a different region).
Click on that ARIN/RIPE/etc. link. In this case it leads to: http://whois.arin.net/rest/nets;q=188.8.131.52?showDetails=true&showARIN=false&ext=netref2
That screen doesn't show an email contacts, but you can click down into "Related organization's POC records" which leads you to a page with a list of contacts with different roles. Email issues generally would be considered "abuse" so first choice would be the abuse contact "NAPO-ARIN" - click on that and it leads to: https://whois.arin.net/rest/poc/NAPO-ARIN.html
And you see it has contact information with a listed email address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
This takes a few extra steps and what you find can vary greatly based on what and how an organization has chosen to register, but it's worth a shot.
Fort this example, note that I'm just using Comcast as an example. No need to go through all of these steps for Comcast delivery issues -- they've got a very helpful postmaster site where you can find information about why sends get blocked and what you can do to request unblocking.