Slightly OT: How do you deal with domains you forward to who consider you a spammer based in user reports?

Ken A ka at
Mon Apr 30 21:51:32 IST 2007

Furnish, Trever G wrote:
> This probably only applies to folks on the list with large counts of
> users, but I appreciate any input.  I also realize it's not directly
> related to MailScanner, but I value the thoughts of this list's members
> as email administrators much more highly than any other list I know of,
> so please forgive me.  If you suggest more appropriate lists, thank you
> in advance.
> Ok, enough pre-amble. :-)
> This is specificly related to, but generally the problem is I
> forward to about 150 addresses at a given domain (out of the ten
> thousand or so I accept mail for) and the relatively small number of
> spam I DON'T catch are being reported by those users to their ISP as
> spam, causing my outbound server's IP address to be blacklisted by their
> ISP.  AOL makes this extremely convenient for their users (so convenient
> that quite a few of the messages reported aren't even spam, but are
> actually just mail they're too lazy to unscribe from).
> How do you handle mail that you forward?  As I see it my only options
> for dealing with aol are:
>     - Don't miss any spam (uh, I wish) so none is forward to
> addresses.
>     - Don't forward to outside addresses (definitely the choice I wish I
> could implement, but not really an option).
>     - Convince aol that even though I frequently forward spam, they
> should let me.  (Again, doesn't seem likely to happen.)
> Anyone have any other suggestions?  I would expect this happens to quite
> a few of you with large user counts, if not with aol then with some
> other large provider.

It doesn't cost anything to get an aol feedback loop for your ip space. Do that if you haven't already. You'll be notified 
when some luser at clicks 'this is spam', or whatever the bit 
red button says. This gives you a 'whitelisted' (sort of) status with, so they are no longer as trigger happy.

When I came in this morning I had about 10 aol 'TOS notifications' from 
the weekend. Half of those were legitimate mailings from domains we host 
with one click opt-out links at the bottom, so I can quickly opt those 
lusers out! Of the other 5, 3 were forwards of jokes which you can't 
really do much about unless it's a violation of your TOS. The last 2 
were domain forwards (NO CATCHALLS ALLOWED!) that our customers at clicked 'this is spam' on. If this is a repeat behavior by a 
certain customer, we send them a friendly note asking them not to do 
that on their domain mail, and if they keep doing it, we begin 
quarantining all low scoring spam. This has helped, but not solved the 
problem... ymmv.

Ken Anderson

> In my case it's been 500 reported "spam" sent to 150 addresses
> in three weeks, so 3 messages per user per week missed.  I don't yet
> have a way to know the total count of messages forwarded for those
> users, but I doubt 3.3/week is a very high false-negative rate.  The
> problem is just that from's point of view they're all spam from
> me, even though they're actually just being forwarded by me upon request
> of their users.
> --
> Trever Furnish, tgfurnish at Herff Jones, Inc. Unix /
> Network Administrator
> Phone: 317.612.3519
> Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from Unix.

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