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Are we making a difference - 2009 update


gsilberg
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I have been submitting dozens of spam reports through SpamCop over the last few weeks and it seems like my spam level is staying about the same or increasing. I searched the forums and found a discussion thread titled "Are we making a difference" from 2004. Can someone take a look and update this to reflect the current situation 5 years later? My basic question is - how can I tell if my reports have made any difference at all? Is there any concrete evidence I can get in a report related to my spam submissions that any of what I have sent has made any difference? Is it worth my time to continue to send them, or is it a losing battle and I should just stop and either live with spam filters or get a new email address and start over?

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Yes, it does make a difference. Reporting spam has gone through various cycles. In the beginning, often the focus was on education about why unsolicited email is not a good idea. Reports were the contact. Then, as decent people understood, reports were mainly for the blocking of those who were too arrogant and rude to stop.

As criminals and shady characters entered the arena, other lists were more useful because they could be permanently blocked. And, that caused the rise of botnets, etc. which made spamcop again useful for those who are responsible users because a spamcop report alerts them to infected computers (no one is perfect!).

It is a little bit like litter offline. Taking a walk and picking up any litter that you see really does keep your route clean looking for a long time. OTOH, perhaps, you don't have the time to do that. Then, just being careful not to litter yourself is the best thing to do. That would be like getting a new email address and letting the old one be dealt with by someone else (email lists never go away, IIUC, and undoubtedly, the server admin does have a plan for one that is only receiving spam).

Many people concentrate on one aspect. I don't have the time anymore to regularly report spam. However, once in while, I like to take the time to report drop boxes in 419 scams - especially if they are fresh. yahoo, etc. do respond promptly - and once in a while, you alert some server admin to a newly infected computer. Others like to track down registrars, etc. or concentrate on some other kind of spam.

So, it depends on your time and inclination whether you participate or not. Noone can do /all/ the good things that need to be done in this world!

Miss Betsy

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Is there any concrete evidence I can get in a report related to my spam submissions that any of what I have sent has made any difference? Is it worth my time to continue to send them, or is it a losing battle and I should just stop and either live with spam filters or get a new email address and start over?

It all depends on what you mean by '...made any difference...'

If you mean, in effect, that you don't see any less spam arriving in your mailbox then the answer is likely to be: No it won't make much difference unless you or your ISP make use of the SpamCopBL.

But, as Miss Betsy says, your reports do contribute to the block list and that does, in turn help those who do make us of the SCBL.

Does it make any difference in terms of ISPs cutting off spammers? Only when responsible ISPs are involved but as so much spam is now distributed either by Spammers own machines and, increasingly, through computers compromised by a trojan, the impact is only short lived since as soon as one breach is plugged another is discovered.

Certainly my own ISP is very proactive and respond very quickly to SpamCop reports.

So thatnks for reporting... Please continue if you have the time.

Andrew

Edited by agsteele
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