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Is SpamCop Worth It?


adelino
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I've been reporting spam to SpamCop for a couple of weeks now. The concept is attractive: a centralized location and process for reporting spam to ISPs and other interested parties. The downside is it does take some effort to forward offending messages and to respond to the AutoResponder e-mails. Normally, I just click on the Send spam Report(s) Now button without making further annotations.

Here's my issue: prior to signing up with SpamCop I was receiving 10 - 15 spam e-mails a day of which approximately 60% were rejected by my mail server. Since signing up with SpamCop and reporting all delivered and rejected spam, I'm now receiving 40 - 50 spam e-mails a day of which approximately 50% are rejected.

Looking at the spam reveals two interesting facts. First, there's a statistical correlation between when spam is reported and new spam is received. In other words, there's a surge in spam just after a reports are sent. I can only conclude that some of the recipients of SpamCop reports are using the information to target SpamCop members. Second, since signing up with SpamCop, the amount of spam I receive from the Russian Federation iand former members of the Soviet Union has increased 500%. I've no explanation for this.

Is my experience representative? If so, my impression is that SpamCop has only increased the amount of spam that I receive and the amount of time on my part to deal with it. Is SpamCop worth it? In the larger picture, does SpamCop make a difference?

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'Worth' is in the eye of the beholder... It's worth every penny to me. This morning I received just five spam items, and all were captured in the SpamCop Email held mail folder. So my engagement with SpamCop services is extremely valuable.

I'm more than willing to feed the block list in return.

Andrew

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And in addition to Andrew's response ...

It might depend on how you do the reporting

- that is whether you might 'expose yourself' on the one hand (doesn't sound like it if you're just forwarding the stuff but http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=9168 might be of interest if you use Outlook)

- and how efficient your forwarding process might be on the other hand. There's a wealth of information around, for instance in the Wiki - http://forum.spamcop.net/scwik/PageIndex - go down to the "HowIuseSpamCop" series of entries. Seems like you might also be interested in "QuickReporting" (another topic there).

And hopefully the reporting does some good in terms of a 'heads up' being relayed to owners of compromised machines, the blocklist being 'fed' to benefit other users where that part of the process isn't immediately effective.

You might appreciate yours is a perennial question, the repository of which is customarily this monster: http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=1802 - somewhere in there one new member made the same statements as yourself, including the 'correlation' one but went on to gather and analyze the data over an extended period, coming to the conclusion that other factors were far stronger in determining the spam load.

Anyway, read that one and see what you think. As a reward, I might refrain from merging your new post in with that one (moderators, please have mercy, that thing is way too big already). On the other hand, if you fail the test at the end of your study period I might just shovel you in there anyway. :D Just kidding, but it would be nice if you could retrieve the post link to the start of that 'statistical study' that's in there somewhere (I don't believe he actually called it that but you will know it when you see it).

You shouldn't hesitate to ask more but also use the seach box (on every forum page) as a quick way to sort through the previous topics for relevance.

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This Admin bites tounge, stands back to allow Farelf's judgement to stand .. at least for a while.

As noted, this 'new' Topic is but another recanting of existing traffic within this very Forum section.

There is mch more involved, many other possibilities than 'just the act of Reporting' ... much of this already well discussed in that other monster Discussion. Thus it's a bit disappointing that none of this specific data was provided in the starting post, to either include or dispell that any of these other things may be involved. It's the repeating, re-typing, reiterating all that previously discussed data that leads to the more general action of merging a 'new' Topic like this back into the place where all that previous data already exists.

So to repeat Farelf's suggestion/hint . .please take some time, do a bit of research/reading .... and then perhaps come back 'here' and justify why this 'new' Topic shouldn't be merged into that monster. Something like questions not asked before, circumstances not seen before, specific data not existing, etc.

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<snip>

You might appreciate yours is a perennial question, the repository of which is customarily this monster: http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=1802

<snip>

...Another is SpamCop Forum topic "Reporting as spam = Increased spam?" which itself has references to other similar topics, including the one Farelf references.
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The OP doesn't appear to have returned since posting, so I vote that this thread gets dev/nulled if that continues to be the case much longer.

DT

Well I'm still here: I wanted to give some time for replies to filter in. Also, I opted to be notified of replies and just got mt first notification a few minutes ago. There does seem to be a definite direction in the responses. Let's see if I can answer some of the points, especially from Farelf, since he was trying to be helpful.

I'm aware of spammers using embedded images and other tricks to determine if their e-mails have been delivered and potentially read. And no, I don't preview or open suspicious messages. When one comes in that looks marginally legitimate, perhaps one in a hundred, I check the header first. Usually the source IP address is enough to settle the matter.

The crucial point for me is that I'm not doing anything different now than two weeks ago other than reporting spam to SpamCop. Before I made reports I received 10 - 15 spam messages a day with occasional lulls and spikes, now I seeing 40 - 50 a day, today it'll be over 60.

My initial attempts to report spam failed, so I took a looked at the the FAQs and Wiki to resolve the issue. Not only did that information resolve the reporting problem, but I learned how others were using SpamCop. In my case, I have filters and scripts running on the mail server itself. If a filter flags a message as spam, the server logs it, forwards it to SpamCop, and handles it as if the message had been sent to a non-existent e-mail address. For spam that's delivered and that I can identify from the subject and country of origin, I simply flag them. A client side scri_pt automatically bundles the flagged messages up, uploads and appends copies to the server's log, and forwards them to SpamCop. Finally, all SpamCop autoresponses are automatically placed in a special folder where a scri_pt opens the finish spam reporting link(s) in Firefox tabs for review and submission. This is the process I use and except for the SpamCop steps, is identical to the one I've been using for the last six months.

When I first came to these forums, I did search and miss your "monster" thread. Sorry about that. I even "googled" the Internet for information and came across some interesting opinions, like the SpamCop Wikipedia entry. I can only suggest that for such a long and arguably important thread as "http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=1802", it might be good idea to pin it at the head of this category

Finally, I didn't post here to kill Caesar, err..., SpamCop. I came here to report some legitimate observations and concerns. I think SpamCop and it's adherents are strong enough to objectively and usefully deal with such information. I doubt that SpamCop is going to fold like a house of cards if a user expresses concerns, so why a act like it?

In the meantime, I'll keep collecting data...

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...Other possibilities:

...And another similar (and long) SpamCop Forum topic: "Address harvesting from reports?"

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there's a surge in spam just after a reports are sent. I can only conclude that some of the recipients of SpamCop reports are using the information to target SpamCop members.

That simply isn't logical. Spammers tend to want to "wash" their lists, trying to remove those who might cause trouble for them. I could give you links to videos on YouTube from one particularly outrageous spammer who advises other potential spammers to do exactly that. So, the premise appears quite faulty.

I believe that the links to other "monster" Lounge threads have not been the best examples....the one I'd point to is Amazing reduction in spam, especially to one of the final posts by Lking, http://forum.spamcop.net/forums/index.php?...ost&p=60323 in which he concluded:

there does not seem to be a correlation between reporting and spam count

My hypothesis is that there are some people with an anti-reporting agenda who come here with stories like yours. Now, if you can get the SpamCop Admin (he participates in this forum) to vouch for you that you're a bona fide reporter, it would go a long way towards suppressing skepticism.

Or how about posting a few Tracking URLs of spam messages that you've reported? That would also be a type of verifiable proof that you're not a troll.

DT

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There are some spammers who listwash reporters - even though there are a lot of reporters, there are a lot more recipients of spam - so it does prolong the life of some bots and domains if not reported to spamcop. However, they usually offer the address for sale as a guaranteed 'live' one.

However, there are others who simply harvest all the addresses in reports, sending spam to the hand off relays even. I don't know whether it is just a 'you poka me, I poka you' gesture or whether it is standard procedure for any abuse message.

In the end, it seems to average out as far as spam count goes.

If you use the quick-reporting feature (or uncheck all the spamvertized site boxes), you are less likely to be reporting to a spammer who might do that. The other reason usually stated is that once an address starts getting spam, it has entered the cycle of being added to lists and being bought and sold. The increase is coincidental to reporting since once one decides to report, the address is in the cycle and would have received more spam anyway.

This is a fairly common question, but not important enough to pin to the top of the list. People coming for technical help tend to be in a hurry and are not likely to look at a long list of pinned items (IMHO, it is already much too long). Not every one can find things as easily as you seem to be able to do. However, l concur with Farelf that leaving this topic here instead of merging it might help newcomers to find all the information that has been written.

I think DavidT must have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed this morning - lots of reporters seem to experience this phenomenon (including myself) so IMHO a lot more evidence would be necessary to even think 'troll'

Miss Betsy

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I've been reporting spam to SpamCop for a couple of weeks now. The concept is attractive: a centralized location and process for reporting spam to ISPs and other interested parties. The downside is it does take some effort to forward offending messages and to respond to the AutoResponder e-mails. Normally, I just click on the Send spam Report(s) Now button without making further annotations.

[snip]

SpamCop is not everyone's cup of tea

For me and my opinion the largest problem is incompetent ISP's which most are

Not a good idea to automatically accept a email address from the ISP you sign up with

Gmail offer a fair spam free and reliable service (I do not recommend "SpamCopping" Gmail inbox spam) Gmails spam reporting seems to work for Gmail

The best email address so far is a SpamCop email account

It reliably sorts ham from spam (with aid of your personal white/blacklist)

All spam sorted to your trash folder is "very easily reported" (I do not mung my reporting)

I have engaged SpamCop email's "Greylisting" this stops Bot spam and often causes the bot to crash (getting a server response) Whitelist bypasses Greylist

All spam reported by SpamCop notifies the "abuse" department and interested parties and often helps lead to criminal charges for spammer/s. A spam count also can add offending IP's to the SCBL for blocking spam as it is being sent, not after it is sent

If spam is not reported it allows situation to simply get worse

Edited by petzl
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lots of reporters seem to experience this phenomenon

And yet others, who have demonstrated their "anti-spam creds," don't, as demonstrated by the statistical work done by Lking that I referenced above.

a lot more evidence would be necessary to even think 'troll'

Some Tracking URLs demonstrating actual spam reporting would be welcome. Otherwise, skepticism regarding motive will still remain on the table (and sometimes leaving things "on the table" is wise -- had Nancy Pelosi done so, we might be rid of this criminal administration by now).

DT

Edited by DavidT
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<snip>

ADMINS should just post a not at the top that says:

YES, SpamCop IS worth it... proven many times over, don't ask that question.

:)

:D :D <big g>

...Ignoring the smiley: I appreciate the sentiment. However, I often find useful, thought-provoking remarks posted as replies to this otherwise fruitless, repetitive question. :) <g>

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And yet others, who have demonstrated their "anti-spam creds," don't, as demonstrated by the statistical work done by Lking that I referenced above.

David, you make me blush :wub:

Thread like this one and ones about "quick reporting", "'not-found' but I can", "too old"... do appear again and again as newer nembers join the reporting throngs.

It can be (is) frustrating for writers of wiki, help, old contributors, etc. But asking these questions seems to be part of the initiations process of new SpamCop reporters and as such will come up yet again. If we point the questioner to the past (again) and try to address their concerns (again), without being to condescending, others will be added to the spam reporters and spam savvy. This can't be bad. And you never know, a new prospective or tidbit may appear.

Troll, newbie, or contributor, will get their answer or get board and the thread will end. School starts soon so I would guess the cycle will start anew.

Edited by Lking
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It can be (is) frustrating for writers of wiki, help, old contributors, etc. But asking these questions seems to be part of the initiations process of new SpamCop reporters and as such will come up yet again. If we point the questioner to the past (again) and try to address their concerns (again), without being to condescending, others will be added to the spam reporters and spam savvy. This can't be bad. And you never know, a new prospective or tidbit may appear.
I concur. I think a lot of people come here because they have suddenly become fed up with spam, and there is a certain degree of emotion or paranoia at work.

I wonder whether it isn’t time to collect the info we have on this topic into a Wiki page (we may already have one, but it doesn't stick out in the Wiki index). It would then become much easier to refer new askers of this question to all the info we have on the topic. I tried to provide a "thought experiment" on my website (http://www.rickconner.net/spamweb/spamfaq.html#post-hoc), but I freely confess that it could use more documentation.

-- rick

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I am back just to browse and see what's new, but partly because I always have the same thought about effectiveness, while getting some pleasure in reporting.

However I've been reporting with Spamcop for several years now, and kept the same email addresses, and most of my spam is sent to my spamcop address (who knows, maybe I was bad a long time ago?) and I only get 2 to 4 coming through to my inbox every day; BUT the amount reported has been increasing steadily, particularly the past year it seems and I wonder if that is just me or everywhere?

I seem to recall that a couple of years ago there was actually a drop in spam, but it sure doesn't look that way to me today, and I'm pushing 76000 today.

I do wish Spamcop would do some more fun analysis with it's reporting data though. It would be interesting to see how the patterns and sources change over time, in total and by reporter for example. However too much detail might also be useful for the spammers, so maybe that is not a good idea.

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