- Your members complain, they are not receiving your weekly newsletter.
- Other site administrators send you nasty mail demanding you stop sending spam.
- Most e-mail you send out suddenly do not arrive.
- You receive tons (and it is weighted in electrons!) of bounce messages in your postmaster or catch-all mailbox.
Most likely a spammer is using your domain name in the "From:" or "Reply-to:" fields in their spam e-mails, and/or spamming from the same IP address as your mail servers is on.
This can often result in black listing by various anti-spam organizations. These organization's black list databases are used by many to pro-actively block messages.
Where can you find out if your precious site is black listed?
DNSStuff has an excellent consolidating page of the most often used databases, under the "IP Tools >> Spam Database Lookup".
Simply enter your domain name (without www.) and press the "Lookup" button.
You will be rewarded by a daunting list of databases. Do you see any red?
Read the instructions why it is red, then follow the link to the site.
Most sites will have detailed explanation how a site can be added, and how it can be removed.
Note that most black list databases store the information as IP address, not as a domain name!
Why is this important to you?
Because if you are on a shared server, others on that same server (and same IP address) can soil your good name!
If this is the case, you might want to contact your ISP first. A good ISP will find the culprit, block or remove them, then follow up with the black list database(s) to remove the IP(s).
So, you are not in the IP list, which should give you a great relief. Shared hosting is inexpensive, but at a price...
You may not be getting bounced messages, and e-mail is flowing, yet you get a lot of people "yelling" at you to stop sending them body part enhancement pill spam!
How can that be?
Few receiving mail servers check if the IP address of the source IP matches the named address in the From: and Reply-to: fields match.
Because of this, spammers can put anyone's domain name in these important fields. E-mail readers (Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora, Citadel, Pegasus, etc.) presume to be valid and use the From: and Reply-to: fields.
The only known solution that I am aware of is the above mentioned IP to name verification. There is a specific format which can be added to [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dns"]DNS - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia@@AMEPARAM@@/wiki/Fileisambig_gray.svg" class="image"><img alt="Disambig gray.svg" src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5f/Disambig_gray.svg/30px-Disambig_gray.svg.png"@@AMEPARAM@@commons/thumb/5/5f/Disambig_gray.svg/30px-Disambig_gray.svg.png[/ame]which provides service for your [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mail_server"]Message transfer agent - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame], called SPF record or [ame="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sender_Policy_Framework"]Sender Policy Framework - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia[/ame].
The SPF allows a receiving mail server to ask the purported source in the From: field, if the actual sender's IP is allowed to use that domain name.
- Spammer at 10.1.1.1 sends e-mail with From:yoursite.com to destination.com
- destination.com asks (gets SPF record) yoursite.com if 10.1.1.1 is approved to send e-mail with yoursite.com in the From: field.
- yoursite.com responds "No way!"
- Spammer at 10.1.1.1 is refused and dropped by destination.com
So what do I do with individuals yelling at me?
Always be courteous when responding to irate individuals.
Most likely they do not understand how mail transfer agents (mail servers) work.
Send them a template e-mail explaining it in plain language that the e-mail was a forgery, and that you will try to track it down.
Request the e-mail header. This can be accomplished by most modern e-mail software, and it contains crucial information for the tracking.
Track the offending source from the header and block them from your site.
Contact the ISP of the spammer about the problem (if you speak that language and have the testicular fortitude), politely.
Follow up with the individual, and let them know what you have accomplished. Thank them for their patience and tolerance with you for someone else's sins.
This will not do anything to stop further spam, but will make you feel warm all over.
Next article will describe how to find an e-mail or forum spammer. No lead pipe required, unless you live near by, weigh 250#s at 6'6".