Aligning Yourself With Block Lists - Let's Get Started
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Ever been blacklisted? If you have, you know the routine; if you haven't, pay attention. If it's Spamhaus, it's almost guaranteed that you sent spam. If you have third parties who use your public domain IP address to send mail, it is your IP that got blocked, so you still have the responsibility of finding out who did it and shutting down the illegal operation (in one case we blocked all our customers from using the mail sending services directly).
Now we'll tell you what to do if you have been blacklisted, how to know if you have been blacklisted, how to complain if you believe you have been unfairly treated by a blacklist (including but not limited to Spamhaus) and how to avoid being blacklisted in future.
Most ISPs don't know how to stop spam once it beats the filters (and a lot of spam beats the filters). A lot of ISPs and ESPs are not big and don't have their own policing strategies, yet they can't afford to have spammers flooding their clients' boxes on a continuous basis. Online security, though a contradiction in terms, is taken very seriously by everybody (even I update my PC's anti virus and anti spam software weekly).
So ISPs and ESPs set up a sort of buddy system. If spam is seen from a particular IP address, they forward it to a "DNSBL," a Domain Name System Block List (commonly called a block list or blacklist). DNSBLs are lists, nothing more, just lists of IP addresses which have been seen to send spam, and as of the time they are on the list, have not shown evidence that they have stopped sending spam. Before we continue with intricacies of black lists let's see what ISPs, ESPs and block lists call spam.
Spam is unsolicited mail. Period. In case you didn't get it, your email may be CAN SPAM compliant, but if the user did not ask for it, it is spam. You can have five unsubscribe buttons, not be a scam, offering child porn or selling Viagra, but it doesn't matter -- if I didn't ask for the email and it's in my box, you are spam. If I did request it and you are sending porn, selling Viagra or running an online casino with a 10,000 to 1 chance of me winning, then it is not spam. Spam is about consent, not content.
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