November 04, 2002

Amy Wohl, blacklists, and spam-wars

I read about Amy Wohl's spam blacklisting troubles from Ed Felten's blog item, and, curiously, started digging into the problem (forget about Declan's spam troubles in that item, he can take care of himself). I started writing a letter about it, but soon realized that much of what I had to say in a technical sense had already been said in other's comments (see particularly Paul Verhelst's message) .

It's amazingly hard for an ordinary person, or even a skilled person without specialization in spam, to figure out what's going on in these cases. Here, what happened is that the ISP ( which sends out Wohl's newsletter apparently is also suspected of sending spam mailings, and thus blacklisted. So while her newsletter isn't spam, the same mailing service is allegedly a spam source. So some receiving ISPs drop everything coming from that sending ISP (ie. won't receive any mail from, whether it's spam or not). It was not trivial to figure out this even was the issue, before even thinking about what one should do about it.

Worse, a volunteer service which just provides information on some spam blacklists (and more),, got blamed by mistake for supposedly being the provider of the blacklists.

That's a half-page just slogging through the basics. I think I've got it all correct, but I'm not 100% sure.

Sigh. I keep telling myself: Stay out of the spam-wars. I did my service to the Net, got the scars for my medal, doing any more battles will likely not be good for me.

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in spam | on November 04, 2002 01:45 PM (Infothought permalink) | Followups

Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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