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[Resolved] false reports threatening shutdown of spamgourmet service


spamgourmet
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This is josh, admin of a free disposable email address called spamgourmet.com - in case you're not familiar, we've been around since late 2000, and provide unlimited free auto-create/auto-destroy disposable email addresses that are great for preventing spam. We have about 160k users.

Many of our users are also spamcop users, and report spam through spamcop. When they receive messages through spamgourmet, to unexpired disposable email addresses, the headers of the messages naturally contain the IP address of our server:

216.75.35.164

I am not familiar with spamcop reporting, but generally it has not been a problem because someone (either the user or the software or both) is smart enough to realize that the message originated elsewhere.

But recently a user has made dozens of false spamcop reports against our server, for example:

http://www.spamcop.net/w3m?i=z2449793937z8...62ede8c423c152z

and our ISP is ***THREATENING TO SHUT US DOWN**** -- this is extremely frustrating, as you can imagine -- in this case, I've identified the user, attempted to warn him/her (the reports continued, deepening the concern of the ISP), and ultimately just disabled the related spamgourmet account, since making these false reports is in violation of our TOS.

I thought spamcop had permanently whitelisted our server? Perhaps our IP address has changed from when that was done? Not sure, but I hope anyone reading this will understand that it's hard enough to fight the spammers -- friendly fire really sucks.

Please -- anyone who can -- help out with this.

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update: I got a very quick and helpful response from that email -- thanks again. Hopefully the ISP will back off, and note the incident in its internal records so that its future personnel will spot this sort of thing for what it is.

Apparently the reports were caused by the fact that the reporter had failed to include our IP address in his/her list of email service providers, and we're vulnerable to this sort of thing happening again from another user doing the same thing (assuming we don't get shut down now).

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Hi, Josh!

...Thanks for letting us know the good news. With this post, I am marking this Forum thread as "Resolved."

...By the way, you may also be interested in SpamCop FAQ items "What if I break the rule(s)?" and "I have been falsely and/or maliciously accused of spamming, what can I do?" Since this was apparently an inadvertent mistake, the Deputies may choose to be more lenient than outright banning of the perpetrator. However, SpamCop members are expected to be more careful than your user has been. Please note that any information from a SpamCop employee, including a Deputy, that conflicts in any way with what I have written here takes precedence.

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Apparently the reports were caused by the fact that the reporter had failed to include our IP address in his/her list of email service providers, and we're vulnerable to this sort of thing happening again from another user doing the same thing (assuming we don't get shut down now).

What you are attempting to describe has its own 'section' here .. MailHost Configuration of your Reporting Account ... what you appear to be saying is that the user in question only partially accomplished that Cofiguration process, for some reason not adding in the SpamGourmet e-mail hosting servers.

Many of our users are also spamcop users

The funny thing is .... there were numerous spammers and hackers attacking this very Forum that also used SpamGourmet.

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Hi, Josh!

...Thanks for letting us know the good news. With this post, I am marking this Forum thread as "Resolved."

...By the way, you may also be interested in SpamCop FAQ items "What if I break the rule(s)?" and "I have been falsely and/or maliciously accused of spamming, what can I do?" Since this was apparently an inadvertent mistake, the Deputies may choose to be more lenient than outright banning of the perpetrator. However, SpamCop members are expected to be more careful than your user has been. Please note that any information from a SpamCop employee, including a Deputy, that conflicts in any way with what I have written here takes precedence.

Definitely resolved - thanks everyone. Cari backed off with this message:

Sir,

This case is close now , in the future if we receive more complaints regarding email originating from one of your servers we will open a new case with you

Thank you

Not exactly confidence-inspiring (especially since they didn't receive any reports of mail originating from the server, and so couldn't really receive any "more"), but at least the threat of shutdown has passed. Thanks again to all who helped out -- that would have been awful.

The funny thing is .... there were numerous spammers and hackers attacking this very Forum that also used SpamGourmet.
Didn't see this at first -- there have also been many errant/misapplied spamcop reports over the years that I quietly took care of -- this is the only time the whole spamgourmet service was actually in jeopardy (or at least, it didn't appear so before), and that's the reason for my post here (and thanks again to everyone). If you all have problems with people using disposable addresses from spamgourmet to sign up here and cause trouble, please show me what's going on, and I'll take action -- may just drive them to another technique, of course.

and for another totally different view on this particular issue ....
And thanks for this, as well. I've opened up a case with cari, pointing them to this thread, and it's under review. Edited by spamgourmet
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As an addendum, the matter is just now completely resolved, accounts re-enabled, etc. The ISP made note that messages passing through the spamgourmet service are not a cause for concern, even if they show up in reports. Thanks again to all here -- helped us dodge a bullet.

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