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geodosch

'Fuel' for reporting spam?

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I've been a Spamcop member for many years. I started out with a free reporting account, but eventually switched to a paid account so that in addition to reporting I could have Spamcop filter my incoming messages. That worked out very well for quite some time, though this past May I decided to stop using my Spamcop email account for a number of reasons, which I wrote about in another post. Even though I'd stopped using my paid account, it was still valid until a few days ago. When it finally lapsed my reporting address stopped working, so I had to dig-up my original free reporting account to start using that again.

Since I've been using my free reporting account, the time to process my spam reports has gone from minutes to hours... or sometimes never. I was also surprised to see a prominent link for "Add Fuel to your account" on the reporting page. I don't recall that being there from when I'd last used the free reporting, though admittedly that was many years ago, so maybe I just forgot about it. If I start buying fuel will it be fast again like my paid account?

But my point of writing is this: Ironport runs a commercial service. They have the Spamcop paid email accounts (which I'm aware is a separate company from Spamcop reporting), as well as providing filtering services to companies. In fact, a couple of years ago the company I work for switched from the email filtering system they had been using to Ironport. When I saw that I pointed out to one of our email admins that I was one of those supplying the spam reports to Ironport.

So if I understand this correctly, we Spamcop reporters send in our spam messages, which Spamcop parses and generates reports from. One of the products of that is a blacklist of ISPs and other mail servers that originate spam. Ironport in turn uses that blacklist to run their commercial filtering service. But it seems that Spamcop wants (albeit doesn't require) for me to pay for the privilege of reporting spam.

Apart from giving me a warm fuzzy that I'm doing something to fight back against spam, reporting it has little direct benefit to me. It may get some spammers shut down, though considering the volume of spam, it probably does about as much good as throwing rocks at a tank. The biggest benefit is to the users of the blacklists, such as Ironport's customers, of which I am no longer one. If anything, it probably gets me rewarded with more spam, since despite Spamcop's attempt to mung my address, I am aware that many of the spam messages contain tracking information that still lets them know it was me who reported them.

I would assume-- though admittedly don't know for a fact-- that Spamcop gets money from Ironport for sharing their blacklist information. It would make no sense for them not to. So why are they charging the users who are dutifully reporting the spam? If the money they get from Ironport doesn't cover the costs of running Spamcop, then they should be charging Ironport whatever is necessary to cover the costs. Without the Spamcop reports, would Ironport's filtering service even exist?

Maybe I'm way off base here, and if so I'd appreciate that someone straighten my tie. But it seems that Spamcop is not only charging their customers, but also charging their suppliers. So what am I missing?

I'm just asking.

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The add fuel has been part of the free account for a long time.

A paid reporting account is nothing more than a free account that has had fuel added to it.

There are some benifits to having a paid account vs free account see SpamCop Reporting Accounts

I am not aware of any real speed difference between the free and paid account, but with the recent changes anything is possible.

If you were using the "report as spam" link in your email account, you may be comparing apples and oranges. The "report as spam" link is a quick reporting link

SpamCop email has no relationship with Ironport/Cisco as far as income is concerned.

If you are not using the SpamCop BL directly or indirectly, then you will not see any reduction in spam to your inbox.

Also see What is SpamCop's history?

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