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Emailed Spam Submissions Disappearing?


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Q: I am a spam Reporter. I am sending my spam Submissions to the correct submit.16charANcodeNMBR[at]spam.spamcop.net email address, but I'm not getting a "Report spam" Link or a Response.

A: There are multiple points of potential failure in the email submission loop. See link to Explanation of Route between Reporter and SpamCop and where things can go wrong. TECHNICAL DETAILS are below.

Failure Point #1 (before Action E in TECHNICAL DETAILS below)

If the Reporter submits a spam, never gets a response, and the 'Report Now' link

is never activated, then the Submission is getting lost before it gets to one of SpamCop's Application Servers.

The temporary solution is to submit the spam via the web site cut-and-paste method. If the spam parses correctly, then the Reporter should email "deputies at spamcop.net" and explain the problem. If the spam doesn't parse correctly, then try another spam, this time using a SubJect: Line of "reply anyway" and see if the Response and/or Report Now link works. Keep in mind that the limits of 50,000 bytes per Submitted spam and 100,000 bytes per Submission Email are still in effect.

Failure Point #2 (between Actions E and H in TECHNICAL DETAILS below)

If the Reporter submits a spam, never gets a response, but the "Report Now" Link on the website is activated for that Submission, then the Submission is getting lost between one of SpamCop's Application Servers and the Reporter's Mailbox, perhaps because email to the Reporter's secret email address is bouncing.

The workaround is to ignore the lack of Response email and use the "Report Now" Link.

Some troubleshooting steps are offered in PROBLEM RESOLUTIONS below.

For either Failure Point, the Reporter can help by keeping local copies of Submissions and by sending itself copies of Submissions )example, a CC: to another e-mail address.) Sometimes an answer will be quicker by posting headers from those copies (without the confidential addresses) in the (spam) newsgroup or forum. If the problem needs the attention of the deputies or SpamCop Admin, then they may ask for copies to analyze.


The following are Actions along the route from Reporter to SpamCop and back where things can go wrong. They are for the simplest common scenarios - more complex scenarios have more points of potential failure.

A. Reporter composes and sends Submission (containing one spam (Headers, Blank Line, and Body) inline or one or more spams attached (depending on the e-mail application in use and the configuration of that application) addressed to the Reporter's special SpamCop email address. This email goes to the Reporter's local email system. It appears that using a subject of "Reply anyway" no longer has an effect. (April 2010 - newsgroup traffic has once again suggested that this is vialble once again??)

B. Reporter's local email system sends Submission to Reporter's SMTP Server.

C. Reporter's SMTP Server (generally at the Reporter's ISP) sends Submission to one of SpamCop's SMTP Servers.

D. One of SpamCop's SMTP Servers for email submission sends Submission to one of SpamCop's Application Servers. [for those who want to know such things: SpamCop email submission servers are vmx1.spamcop.net ( and vmx2.spamcop.net (]

E. One of SpamCop's Application Servers accepts the Submission, activates the "Report Now" Link, and notifies the SpamCop's SMTP Servers that the Submission has been accepted. If the "bounce flag" is set for your account, "notifies the SpamCop's SMTP Servers that the Submission has been accepted" does not happen - please see PROBLEM RESOLUTION 3 below to correct this situation.

F. SpamCop's SMTP Servers for email submission send a Response giving the URL of the spam submission to the Reporter's Email Service Provider.

G. The Reporter's Email Service Provider's Mail Server delivers the Response to the Reporter's Mailbox.

H. The Reporter gets the SpamCop Response in the Reporter's inbox.


1. Ensure that you have looked 'everywhere' for the missing e-mail. Filters and/or some form of spam management at your ISp may have moved this e-mail to somewhere other than your InBox. For instance, some HotMail/Yahoo users have reported finding these e-mails having been shuffled into the Bulk/Junk Folders.

2. Try to login to "your" web page, as found in the link in your registration confirmation e-mail. (http://www.spamcop.net/?code=sOmeTextAnDNumbers) If your login is refused, you may need to go to Why was my authorization revoked? for a probable explanation.

3. If your login is successful, then (also noted in the above FAQ) the issue may simply be that for some reason, your secret e-mail address has been flagged by the SpamCop Parsing and Reporting Service as having bounced. Once flagged, the Service will not waste any more time trying to send anything to that address. If you are in this situation, it will be very clear on the Service page - instead of being able to paste your spam, you will be presented with the following:

Bounce error

Your email address, your secret email address here has returned a bounce:

Subject: subject of problem email message here

Please ensure your email account is reliable, then click below:

followed by a "Problem resolved" Button. You should do some research to make sure that your secret email address referenced in the message can receive email successfully, and then click the "Problem resolved" Button. Once the "Problem resolved" Button has been clicked, you should get a response "Bounce flag reset, thank you." Clicking the "Problem resolved" Button tells the Service that the "problem with bouncing from your secret email address has been resolved" and the Service will start to send your email to your secret email address once again. You should then "Report Now" (if necessary) to catch up on any spams that you have submitted but not yet reported, noting that any attempted autoresponses to emailed spam submissions received during the period when the bounce flag was set were silently discarded.

4. If none of the above turns out to the issue in your situation, the troubleshooting address for this Failure Point is "service <at> admin.spamcop.net" . Please provide sufficient data to ease the research needed at this end, your SpamCop account data, the other e-mail addresses involved, time-frame of the transmittals that failed ... )

Thanks to Miss Betsy for her assistance in major editing of this material.

[Edited by JeffG 2004/04/01 16:33 EST to address A.J.Mechelynck's concerns.]

[Edited by JeffG 2004/04/01 16:38 EST to address some gender-specific concerns.]

[Edited by JeffG 2004/04/09 13:21 EDT to address bounce concerns.]

[Edited by Wazoo 2004/06/19 to include Navigatr1's experience with the bounce flag.]

[Edited by Wazoo 2005/07/17 to include displayed "your account bounces" message data, based on data provided by Jeff G.]

[Further edited by Jeff G. 2005/07/17 11:04 EDT to address bounce concerns.]

[Edited by Wazoo 2010/04/25 to fix some character-set issues, add in some 'reply anyway' text]

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