This Space for Rent

Spamhunting gone wrong

There are a lot of spamhunter vigilantes out there, of various degrees of competence and political savvy. Most of them just work quietly in the background, dealing with the spammers at the source, and some are somewhat less competent than that.

I used to be the sysadmin for a smallish quantum chemistry software house, and am still the external DNS manager for them. This means that if someone wants to bother the company about spam, I get the abuse complaint. I almost never get abuse complaints, because the company is pretty good at only doing mailings to people who've asked for them (they have, or had, an official bulk email sending machine, named canter-n-seigel in honor of the green card spammers, but contrary to its namesake it doesn't send spam,) except from the less competent spamhouses.

And by less competent, I'm talking about spamcop. Over the years, they've sent us "YOU SENT SPAM" reports for a variety of non-spam reasons, ranging from

  1. Some overly enthusiastic new employee was bouncing spam to spamcop. The idiots at spamcop looked at the last Received: line, saw it was the company mailserver, and sent the spam complaint to the company. Nevermind that the mail was bounced from a company machine.
  2. Some technical seminar sent out a message about some chemistry software conference, including a comment about the company. It was reported as spam, so we got the report.
  3. And, just recently, we had some spam sent to a nonexistent address inside the company. So it bounced. And guess who got the spam complaint from the idiots at spamcop? Yup, us. What do they expect us to do; not send bounces when mail is sent to a nonexistent address, or to use Voodoo magic to determine whether or not a From: address is valid or not?

Ahh, it's springtime and the idiots are in bloom. But at spamcop, the idiots are always in bloom.