Robert Bonomi bonomi at
Fri Apr 6 16:49:17 CDT 2012

Jimmy Hess wrote:
> On Fri, Apr 6, 2012 at 8:48 AM,  <Valdis.Kletnieks at> wrote:
> > If it was industry-wide standard practice that just notifying a provider 
> > resulted in something being done, we'd not need things like Senderbase, 
> > which is after all basically a list of people who don't take action 
> > when notified...
> >
> [snip]
> Pot calling the kettle black.    Before we talk about industry-wide
> practice about the providers "doing something".  We should talk about
> industry-wide practice for "Black lists"   doing something to correct
> entries,   instead of just building up indiscriminate or irresponsibly
> maintained lists of networks or "scores"  of networks  that were
> targetted by a spammer at one time in the past.

Sorry, but blocklists _came_into_existance_ ONLY because of large numbers
of providers *ignoring* the problems their networks were causing the 
rest of the world.  

The very existance of 'widely used' blocklists is a damning indictment of 
the entire services provider industry.  _Everybody_, including the major 
blocklist operators, would prefer that blocklists were _not_ needed -- that
all providers would simply 'do the right thing', and insure that their users
did =not= abuse other people's systems.

Were that pipe-dream to come to pass, the major blocklists would *happily*
shut down.  They are all 'money sinks', operating at a loss, 'for the good
of the community as a whole'.

Before blocklists. 'policing your own network' was a pure expense item
with no return.  _Not_ policing one's own users *added* to profitability.
There was no 'business incentive' to be a "good neighbor".

With the advent of blocklists, providers have an 'economic self interest'
justification in remaining out of the major/widely used ones.  It is still
an expense item, but "not doing anything" costs _more_ in 'lost revenues'.

It is a sad comment on the state of affairs that _all_ the major providers
have repeatedly demonstrated they simply "cannot be trusted to 'do the right
thing'" *without* a loaded gun held to their heads -- but that *is* the 
reality of today's marketplace.

Today, for any of the major spam-based blocklists, a single entry consisting 
of more than a single address is indiicative of a _failure_ of a provider's
self-policing.  It is the height of hubris for a provider to 'demand' (or 
even 'expect') prompt/immediate response from a blocklist, *when* the
provider 'demonstrably' couldn't be bothered to act that way themselves.
(What's 'sauce for the goose' _is_ sauce for the gander. :)  IF the provider
had been actively self-policing, the blocklist entry would not have been
escalalated to larger than the single offending address.  

Yes, it would be "nice" if everybody responded promptly; but, in the real
world, that simply doesn't happen -- on either side of the fence.   I
once got an ack about a spam complaint *over*five*months* after sending it.
(For 'some strange reason', that provider is no longer in business.  Thank

> It's just as bad for a blacklist operator to not respond  and "do
> something" for a network  operator legitimately trying to resolve spam
> problems with their network and clear the listing as it is for a
> network abuse contact to not respond to a network operator.

This is provably not true. 

There is no recourse/remedy for an unresponsive network operator.  The
'network abuse' ccontinues to flow, _unabated_, from that network.

A blocklist, on the other hand, tends to be self-regulating.  If it is
not responsive to changing conitions, especially the 'cleaning' of formerly
'bad reputation' addresses/blocks, it generates an 'unacceptably high'
number -- as determined by it's USERS, not the senders -- of 'false positive'
evaluations, *wherepon* increasing numbers of users =stop= using that
service.  Resulting in an automatic _lessening_ of the impact of being 
listed on that blocklist.   

See the APEWS list for a 'textbook' demonstration of this self-regulation 
in action.

> We should talk about industry-wide practices for how providers should
> be notified, what providers are actually supposed to do to "authenticate
> reports",  because > sometimes the report/notification itself is 
> malicious or false abusive attempt to harass an innocent email user,   
> and what exactly providers are actually expected to do with certain kinds 
> of notification.
> The informal standard of  "just call or send an e-mail to an abuse
> contact" is poorly specified. The informal standard of "the abuse 
> contact should investigate and take immediate action" is poorly
> specified.
> Some of these things that are not specified by RFC should be specified
> by RFC as best practice. There should be abuse notification and response
> notification mechanisms other than free form e-mail.

It would appear that you are not familiar with RFC 5965. 

More information about the NANOG mailing list