Best practices for [email protected] mailbox and network abuse complaint handling?

Albert Meyer from_nanog at
Fri May 11 20:48:12 UTC 2007

My experience is that there's no substitute for a human abuse administrator. You 
can't manage your abuse queue with a script; not even a really fancy script; not 
even if it's so fancy that it's called a "Software Suite." You need a human 
(with clue about things like SMTP and email headers) to be reading the abuse 
mailbox so that they can recognize and deal with the complaints that represent 
genuine issues. For a small number of complaints this can be a small part of 
someone's job; for a larger number you will need one or more people doing abuse 
full-time. Many aspects of the abuse-handling process can be automated by a 
savvy abuse admin, but the abuse admin cannot be eliminated if you want to 
preserve your ability to appropriately respond to network incidents in a 
reasonable time. To see what happens when you eliminate the humans from your 
abuse handling, try sending an abuse complaint to yahoo or hotmail.

Outsourcing could theoretically work, but the "outside" abuse administrator 
would need significant access to your network to track down and deal with 
issues. A powerless abuse admin with no ability to fix the issues he finds would 
be pretty useless. I haven't seen such a service. There are email management 
services like Postini but they mostly just filter incoming email for spam and virii.

Here's a list of email abuse related best-practices; some of these are great; 
some are total crap (and some I didn't look at):

The stuff looks pretty good; this appears to be relevant:

K K wrote:
> Can anybody point me at best practices for monitoring and responding
> to abuse complaints, and good solutions for accepting complaints about
> network abuse?
> Any recommended outsourced services for processing abuse complaints?

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