Abuse response [Was: RE: Yahoo Mail Update]

Simon Waters simonw at zynet.net
Wed Apr 16 17:33:55 UTC 2008

On Wednesday 16 April 2008 17:47, Dave Pooser wrote:
> > It can be useful to explain the abuse desk as being just another form
> > of marketing, another form of reputation management that happens to be
> > specific to Internet companies.
> Is it? 

.. SNIP good points about abuse desks ..

In the specific case that started this (Yahoo), then I think there is a 
marketing issue.

Ask anyone in the business "if I want a free email account who do I use.." and 
you'll get the almost universal answer Gmail. 

Mostly this is because Hotmail delete email randomly, Yahoo struggle with the 
volumes, and everyone forgets AOL do free accounts (although it is painfully 
slow and the documentation is incomplete).

But it is in part that Google do actually answer enquiries still, be they 
abuse or support. Yahoo occassionally manage an answer, usually not to the 
question you asked, or asking for information already supplied. AOL - well 
you can get an answer from their employee who watches Spam-L, but directly 
not a chance.

So it is a competitive market, and the opinion of those in the know matters (a 
little -- we could make more noise!). Although the tough one to compete with 
is Hotmail, since their computer offers it to them every time they reinstall, 
and those reinstalling more often have least clue, but eventually realise 
having their email on THEIR(!) PC is a bad idea.

But yes, abuse desk is only a minor issue in that market, but if you don't 
deal with abuse, it will cost the bottom line for email providers. I think 
for people mostly providing bandwidth, email is still largely irrelevant, 
even at the hugely inflated levels the spammers cause it is still a 
minor %age, favicons (missing or otherwise) probably cause nearly as much 

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