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11/3/05

Spam Blockers Organization block millions of legitimate emails from getting through

This is ridiculous and just pisses me off! ORDB.org

From the about us section of their website;

"ORDB.org is the Open Relay Database. ORDB.org is a non-profit organisation which stores a IP-addresses of verified open SMTP relays. These relays are, or are likely to be, used as conduits for sending unsolicited bulk email, also known as spam. By accessing this list, system administrators are allowed to choose to accept or deny email exchange with servers at these addresses."

Please note: ORDB.org does not block any email. No mail passes through ORDB servers. Any and all blocking that occurs, takes place at the receiving system. Please do not complain to us if your email is being blocked, complain to your local postmaster, who, most likely, is the only one able to solve your problem."

However, today I went to send an email to someone I do business with and it came back as blocked and the address for this website was cited as the server that caused it to be blocked. The email referred me here, so how can they say they do not block any emails?

In their FAQ, there is the question "My email was rejected. Why was I sent here?" again if they are not responsible for the blocking then why does the email notifying you that you have been blocked send you to this website?

It answers this way, "First of all we are sorry to bother you. In fact your mail is not bounced to annoy you. We'll try to explain what's happening here. The email server that you use for sending email is probably listed in our Open Relay DataBase (ORDB). Your email server can easily be tricked into sending large amounts of unsolicited email, called spam. The email server is a so-called "open relay".

System administrators all over the world choose to use our database to refuse mail from such servers, until the server has been fixed to stop relaying spam to innocent users. So here's what you should do: Contact the system administrator of your mail server and forward him a copy of the bounced email you received. The standard system administrator email account for an Internet mail server is "postmaster@your-domain.com". For example; If the name of your ISP is Big-ISP.net then forward a copy of the bounced email to "postmaster@Big-ISP.net". Otherwise, you should call tech support and alert them of the problem.

If the server is owned by your school or employer, then contact your support department and explain the same thing to them. We know that email is important to you, and we want to help your ISP resolve the problem of your mail bouncing. Correcting this problem is usually a very simple process, involving your ISP changing a few lines of one configuration file, or ticking a checkbox on a configuration form."

I use Gmail, Google's server in my case. So the millions of people who use gmail are going to be blocked because this org. says they don't configure their servers the way this org. thinks they should do it. Then they want ME to go to my ISP and try to force them to do it the way these people think it should be done. Not my job.

They are blocking legitimate email in the name of spam protection. In this case the cure is worse than the disease. You cannot force the ISPs to do anything. They each have their own business to run and this org. is not the law. Anyone using this database they are creating has been fooled into thinking that this will somehow stop spam. It won't. It's an idiotic attempt at stopping a problem that will always exist as long as the Internet does.

How do I use ORDB to protect my mailserver?
The Open Relay Database can be used by anyone in the configuration of their own network or mail relay, toward the goal of limiting theft of resources by spammers. This step must not be taken lightly -- ORDB creates intentional loss of connectivity for anyone who chooses to use it. While we try to limit that connectivity loss to only IP-addresses that are currently running open relays, sometimes a spammer hides in and amongst nonspammers in order to share a more positive fate with those nonspammers. What actually happens is that the nonspammers share an unpleasant and negative fate with spammers in that case. In other words, if you are not willing to accept occasional blockage of legitimate email, then ORDB is not for you.

So it's okay in their opinion to block legitimate emails in their hunt for the Evil Spam Monsters. A few innocents must be sacrificed for the greater good and all that garbage.

by Chris McElroy More things that just piss me off

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