New FBL feed mechanism from Abusix launches

As talked about previously, ISP feedback loops are in flux in 2023. Validity, who manages the backend FBL processes for a large number of mailbox providers via their "Universal Feedback Loop", has indicated that they're moving from a free to a paid model. Free access will provide aggregrated metrics via a dashboard, but no full feeds of raw complaints. Meaning, if you want to be able to directly log (or unsubscribe) all complaints, you or your ESP or CRM tool will need to pay Validity for that access.

I pondered here, what of Abusix? An anti-spam/security software vendor founded in 2009, they had indicated that they were considering offering their own "FBL processing" service. And indeed, that is now taking shape.

I reached out to Tobias Knecht and Steve Freegard from Abusix to ask them about this new service. They told me that they felt they already had appropriate infrastructure to be able to feed abuse reports effectively, so it was easy for them to provide this support, especially given the already extant CFBL (Complaint Feedback Loop) header RFC (9477) available for use to help with process implementation guidance.

The general idea, says Tobias Knecht, that if you're a mailbox provider looking for help with FBL processing and want to move away from Validity as your choice of vendor, you can simply "forward the messages you are already forwarding to them to us, and we will do the rest."

Their goal: A drop-in replacement for existing FBL processes, based on internet RFC standards, to aid the industry. "With these new RFCs, any receiver could implement these themselves (and I sure some will) and do their own reporting," writes Steve Freegard. "The value we're adding here is that this is ready built as a service and uses Abusix Mail Intelligence data to ensure that FBL reports are only sent to trustworthy senders automagically with me and my team manually approving anything else."

This FBL data could help identify spam and spammers not otherwise seen by Abusix and others and could even lead to improvements to the Abusix Mail Intelligence platform. Abusix also hopes to publish data relating to FBL reports and FBL processing, to help inform the email sender/receiver and anti-abuse industry.

Swisscom, expected to go live this week, will be the first mailbox provider to connect with the new Abusix-managed complaint feedback loop mechanism, based on the process described in RFC 9477.

To learn more about the Abusix FBL processing mechanism, click here.

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