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SpamCop is ruining my business!


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In response to a lot of backtalk about my concern over the difficulty of getting information; it would have been nice if I would have gotten a response from SpamCop when I disputed the listing instead of being ignored. No one would have ever heard a word from me if I had just gotten a word from them.
That's the first time that I have heard of someone interpreting the delisting function that way. I can see why you might interpret it that way now that you have said it. However, I believe that there is a warning that once it has been used, it can't be used again which is perhaps why others have not interpreted it the way you did.

I do not disagree that something has to be done about spam; I am just not sold that this is the answer. I am just one of millions of people who have done nothing wrong but have been listed with SpamCop. I don't know what a better solution is, but hopefully something will change.
Since you are not interested enough to do your own research, then you probably should believe the professionals who operate mail servers that blocking is the best solution to spam. You believe the professionals who service your car that oil should be changed regularly, professionals who who sell you a cell phone not to get it wet, etc.

I am intelligent, hardworking, and understanding....<snip>Unfortunately no one can "know it all" and I will probably never have the time to learn the complete functions of the internet and the obscure workings of email. These are tools for me, not my passion.
If you ran a trucking company instead of an internet business, I think you would probably know quite a bit about how trucks run best and how to prevent problems in their functioning. You might not know how to fix them, but you would know enough to hire someone competent to oversee maintenance. If your business relies on email communication, then if you don't have time to learn to run your own server or understand how to purchase reliable, competent service, perhaps you need to hire a consultant.

Any advice about an alternative to Simplenet would be appreciated <snip>
I am technically non-fluent, just as you are, however, I have learned the concepts of email service. I am still pretty vague on how websites and web hosting works. I barely understand the advice you got about Simplenet. However, I think that what they are saying is that what is important to you about filesharing is generally a function of the webhosting, not email service and that you can change your email service to a different provider who has more competence, and thus more reliability, in email service without changing your webhost.

One needs an internet service provider to connect to the internet. Most of them offer email service as well and sometimes webhosting services also. However, once one is connected to the internet, one can purchase email service and webhosting services from many sources all over the world. (In fact, that's how spammers work - they buy domain names and register them with registrars all over the world and send their spam through various email services all over the world also. However, as email server administrators are becoming more sophisticated, they are finding it difficult to find incompetent email services that allow spamming and have gone to infecting the computers of ignorant people who don't use anti-virus or firewalls. Some people call them 'innocent' but that's like calling people who change their own oil on their cars and dump it down the sewer drain, 'innocent.')

To get back to your problem. You pay someone for connecting to the internet (who usually offers email service), you pay someone for hosting your domain (who also offers email service), and you can pay someone (or use free services like gmail and yahoo and hotmail) for email service. You can still use your domain name as your return email address (it's easy to do - that's why spammers forge names as the sender) and name a reliable email server as your outgoing email server (this is all done within the email software that you are using). I have probably mangled the technical terms and left a lot of details out, but someone will probably correct me. And I could not direct you on how to actually do all of that or give advice on what is the best course of action or best product to do whatever you want to do because I don't have anything to do with the internet except send email and use google and buy things. However, I think I do understand the /concepts/ of how email works - and the best advice I can give you is that you would be less frustrated and your business would run more smoothly if you did also.

Miss Betsy

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Looking at Wazoo's "humorous" post, it seems that everyone, including SpamCop users, have had problems with SpamCop.

???? Taken out of context, interpreted wrongly, the whole concept still not grasped. Exactly how did you miss the hackers and spammers involvement in getting a SpamCop.net e-mail server into someone else's Blocking List? (although in the case of HotMail, it was more of a Domain data item) What you were supposed to see and understand, the BL issue wasn't with "a" SpamCop.net e-mail account owner/user, it was anyone who tried to send e-mail from a SpamCop.net account to a HotMail address.

Here's your connection: One spammer doing the nasty, thousands of other "innocent" users impacted.

The difference: One e-mail provider took immediate action, advised its users of the situation and its resolution. The other continues with the head-buried-in-the-sand routine, denying that there's an issue that they could actually do somethign about, actually went out of their way to make sure that an early-warning device was not used.

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You are quite wrong as I have read through these posts and researched several sites to look for answers.

I'm happy to be wrong in this case, but I'm clearly not as wrong as you think, because despite reading our responses and doing some other research, you still seem to possess some misconceptions about this whole situation. Some examples:

Looking at Wazoo's "humorous" post, it seems that everyone, including SpamCop users, have had problems with SpamCop.

That's a generalization based on an apparent misunderstanding about just what "SpamCop" is. The issue linked in Wazoo's post has nothing at all to do with the part of SpamCop that you're so unhappy with, which is the spam-reporting and blocklist side. Rather, the issue to which Wazoo referred had to do with those of us who are SpamCop Email System (business name is "Corporate Email Systems," who you should consider as an email solution) customers and with someone who had hacked an email account, sent lots of spam, and therefore managed to get our outbound email blocked by Hotmail/MSN. That had nothing whatsoever to do with the "reporting" side, so your statement is not supported by that incident. Neither "side" of SpamCop is perfect, but a problem on one side usually have anything to do with the quality/value/usefulness of the other side. Perhaps you didn't know that there are really two sides to SpamCop, each quite different?

I am looking for an answer to problem that has arisen because of SpamCop putting me into a spam list.

That's a bit of a mis-statement. SpamCop didn't put you into a spam list. The IP address of the SimpleNet server through which you have been sending email messages was added to the SCBL due to abuse coming from that server. The listing of that IP address helps many others by allowing system admins to either filter or block email traffic coming from the identified sources of abuse. There is sometimes "collateral damage," such as in your case, which is unfortunate, but SpamCop actually recommends that server admins filter incoming messages (into "junk" folders, etc), rather than block the traffic. If the ISPs used by your customer(s) had been following that recommendation, your messages would have been delivered, and you would not have received the error messages about being blocked. One of the causes of your problem, therefore, is the way some third party, totally unrelated to SpamCop, decided to use the SCBL, which is a tool. You have repeatedly made (empty) threats to sue SpamCop, which is a bit like deciding to sue the city/county/state responsible for a public beach if someone else at the beach throws sand in your face.

I am looking for what folks here say is my only option; dump Simplenet and get a "better" email server.

No, I think people have suggested multiple options, even some that don't involve dumping SimpleNet. The primary suggestion is that you don't try to send important outbound email through SimpleNet's servers until such a time that they change the way they administer those servers so as not to be as vulnerable to getting themselves added to blacklists/blocklists. You could stay with SimpleNet for your web hosting and even for the receiving of inbound messages....that's your choice. Also, and just a suggestion, it would be good if you learned some of the basic computing/Internet terminology involved, because SimpleNet is not an "email server" -- they are an ISP, specifically a web-hosting company who leases space on a shared server to your business. It doesn't sound as if you've got enough email traffic to warrant the costs of having a server all to yourself, although you might want to look into what's called a "virtual private server," which is a way of partitioning a single physical server into multiple units that are more independent of one another than in the case of conventional "shared hosting," which is probably what you're using. The key advantage is that you would be assigned your own IP address(es), and your outbound email traffic wouldn't be seen as coming from the same IP address as the other customers. That sort of account would have helped you avoid this problem.

it would have been nice if I would have gotten a response from SpamCop when I disputed the listing instead of being ignored

If you indeed used the web-based tools of the SpamCop.net reporting system for a one-time disputing of the listing of the IP, you did so in error, and made the problem worse. Generally, the only people qualified to use the "delisting" option are server administrators, and they know enough not to expect a human-generated response from that action. That's a bit like someone in a burning building walking over to the fire alarm system and turning it off, stopping the alarm, and yet the fire continues, so the alarm shouldn't have been shut off.

if anyone knows how I can possibly register with SpamCop to be omitted from the lists, that would be wonderful

It doesn't work that way. The way to stay off the lists is to make sure that the system through which you send your outbound email is administered by people who are aware of how to keep their system from sending out anything seen as abuse, thus keeping the IP address(es) from getting onto blocklists/blacklists (and there are dozens of active blocklists).

Now on to your complaints about me...

Your posts have consistently contained nasty comments directed at me personally where my frustration is with the situation.

You're very first response to a helpful answer from Steven was to tell him:

that is just a pompus statement on your part

Steven was being anything but "pompous" -- he was trying to help you. When I saw you responding it that rude manner, and given that you were tossing around lawsuit threats, I said that you were being a jerk. However, in the same post (see this link), I also provided plenty of dispassionate and non-insulting information that should have been useful to you. The idea was to tell you how you were acting, and yet also give you assistance.

Your insults toward me are inaccurate and personally offensive.

I'm sorry that you were offended, but my words were on-target and accurate, with the possible exception of my speculation about whether or not you would research this issue properly. Now that you've calmed down, you'll find that my "insults" will stop. I think, however, that you took some common anti-spam jargon, such as "cartooney threats" as if they were intended to be insulting. At least I didn't refer to you as a "munchkin troll" (that was dra007 who did that), or suggest that you needed to hit with a "cluestick." :-)

The primary reason that I chose not to treat you with kid gloves was that at the top of the forum in which you made your first post (and at the top of every forum here), in the "pinned" Announcements, appears the following item:

[How-to] Post a Question (and prevent stupid/rude answers)

It doesn't seem as if you read that announcement, or you would have probably posted in the right place. In that announcement appears the following:

Is it "your" server or your ISP's? What is the IP address of the server involved? Those are all questions you should have answered in your first post. Be sure to provide as many details as possible. If it's a bounce/rejection notification, provide the critical lines of data. The IP address being rejected will be at the root of any research.

Had you provided that information at the start (and refrained from the repeated threats at legal action), I would have reacted much differently. Yet the majority of the words of my posts were words of assistance, not insults. Those were designed to knock you off the "high horse" I sensed you to be sitting on, and yes, I could have looked past your faults, belligerence, and threats and not criticized you, but I'm not perfect either and you were too easy a target.

The Internet is still more than a little "rough around the edges," and still operates a bit like things did in the mythical "wild west" of old, so you'll see some barbs and jabs in public forums, but don't take them too seriously. :)



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I would like to point out that the spamcop blocklist is often an early warning signal that there is something wrong at the *sending* end - a spammer slipping by the radar, a compromised computer, etc. If the problem is not fixed, then that IP address is added to other blocklists which are not automatic.

You should be thankful that you were alerted to this problem now when you have an opportunity to fix how you send email.

And before you get frustrated with the lack of a recommendation of a responsible web host to your specifications, remember that you are just talking to other people who are internet users, ranging from me who is an almost typical end user to web hobbyists to people who manage office networks to professional server administrators and other technical professionals. In other words from someone who doesn't know enough to make a recommendation to those who are too busy to research what you want to others who are paid consultants and don't give their information away free of charge (like asking a doctor at a cocktail party for a diagnosis).

You did say that you train staff on customer service and de-escalation of the "problem" customer. I would think that your training would also give you some hints on how NOT to be a problem yourself. Although I want to re-iterate that only one person who has answered you is paid staff. The rest of us are simply people who have stopped by the roadside to give you assistance. You might practice some of that customer service attitude on us.

Miss Betsy

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For someone who is offerd help and then replies throwing insults in a semidoct and abusive style, munchkin troll is a humorous and gentle call. Misdirected frustration based on misunderstanding and unwillingness to digest and understand information will not gain anyone's respect.

Edited by dra007
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Coming in late here, but what the hey? I hope I can be of some help.

  1. Although you have just discovered it (to your obvious chagrin), SpamCop is not a "young" or "new" service, at least not on the time scale of the internet. They've been around for nearly a decade, and I've been a paying user for almost that long.
  2. I suspect that many of your friends and family (possibly even yourself) are being helped every day by the SpamCop blocking list, even though probably few of them know about it. Embarrassingly enough, even the outfit you contacted about the CA suit appears also to be a beneficiary of the SCBL.
  3. I like SpamCop. It is as objective and accurate and prudent as any other anti-spam tool or service you will find.
  4. SpamCop's mail filtering service (which is separate from the blocklist, and not at issue here) has helped me keep about 100,000 spam messages out of my inbox, and it has given me means to report the spam to the responsible parties (i.e., the people who "own" the IP addresses from which it is sent). These reports do not say "you are a dirty spammer," they say "we saw spam coming from your IP, you might want to fix it."
  5. Likewise, the blocking list is also fact-based. If the mail server you use has been sending delayed bounce messages to spamtraps (not necessarily because of anything you did), this is pretty much prima facie evidence of problems with that server. It is also a FACT, and not "bad data." I honestly can't see anything here that suggests that this listing was an error.
  6. Blocklists don't "block" anything, they merely provide information -- when requested -- about facts on the ground (or, in this case, on the net). The term "blocklist" is perhaps a poor one ("spam activity reporting service" or some such might be more apt), but we are pretty much stuck with it. SpamCop cannot block anyone's mail. It doesn't even reject my incoming spam, and I am a paying user (it does, however, divert the spam to allow me to inspect and (if I wish) report it).
  7. SpamCop, like most blocklist operators, counsels users of the SCBL not to use a listing as a sole basis for a decision to reject mail. Your situation is a classic example of why this sort of advice should be followed. SpamCop simply can't control what other people do with the information it provides.
  8. As others have pointed out, the track record of success in litigation against blocklists is not a good one. You mentioned Spamhaus, which you may know is a separate operation (different people, different continent); they did have a default judgement entered against them, but only because they unwisely decided not to defend themselves in a U.S. court. This case is still in progress, and the latest news is far less happy for the plaintiff (you may be able to read more at http://www.spamsuite.com/taxonomy/term/5, though SpamSuite's server seems to be having problems just now).
  9. As others have ably pointed out, your beef isn't with SpamCop (at least not directly) -- it is with the services that are using (or evidently mis-using) the SpamCop blocking list, as well as with your provider who appears to be mis-administering its mail servers.
  10. If the impression I get about SimpleNet is correct, you may want to inquire elsewhere (with another provider) for your mail services. You should be able to easily split off the sending and receiving of mail for your domain from your web operations.

I am sorry that you had this problem; I hope you can get it straightened out.

-- rick

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