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Mar 21 2010

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Reporting Spam No More

I’ve decided to stop reporting spam to ISP’s.

It just seems like an incredible waste of effort on my part.

For YEARS now I’ve used SpamCop to report spam to ISP’s (both the mail provider and related web hosts) and have gotten very few non-automated responses.

In fact, from what I can tell, since 2007 I’ve received a total of 14 responses to my spam reports that even acknowledge that there was a problem.   And even fewer that indicate that they are doing anything.

I used to also report spam that originated on the AT&T network to the AT&T Direct form on DSL Reports, and some kind of positive response from David, but have since been told to send the reports to the official AT&T abuse address.

I’ve also been told by various ISP’s that I should read the spam and follow the appropriate instructions that were included as part of CAN-SPAM compliance.  This, of course, ignores the original problem … I didn’t want to get the spam in the first place.

I might resume reporting spam to ISP’s if I got some indication that they were actually doing something … or even that they were not going to do something (i.e., we don’t deem this message to be spam).  Yes, I understand that ISP’s get a large amount of spam reports, but when they act on a report they should tell the people who made the report that they are doing something.

So, as of today, I’m going to be using the spam I receive simply to train the Bayesian filters in  SpamAssassin and nothing more.

7 comments

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  1. david

    I never found SpamAssassin to do a very good job at filtering out spam

    SpamAssassin does an absolutely phenomenal job tagging spam for me. Mind you, I’ve got it trained with several thousand spam & non-spam messages, so it’s Bayesian filters are quite smart.

  2. DaveA

    I never found SpamAssassin to do a very good job at filtering out spam. Google gmail does a MUCH better job. You can use the gmail filter with other mail services, too.

  3. david

    Submitting spam samples do help minimize spam.

    Yes … I still train my own spamassassin instance with spam. I’m just not reporting spam to ISP’s anymore.

  4. Mathdelane

    Submitting spam samples do help minimize spam. Spam Assassin at least does its job on my POP3 domain emails but like @Bob Cozzi has mentioned above, web sign-ups do trigger more spam.

  5. Roger Vicker

    Do you use DNSBLs? I’ve seen IPs that I report enough to SPAMCOP eventually show up on them. So even though you don’t get any positive feedback maybe you are improving the tools to fight with.

  6. Scott Eiler

    I use Spam Arrest for my e-mail. Incredibly seldom does a piece of spam make it past their web site approval process. When that happens, *then* I report it.

    I’m still deciding whether it’s worthwhile on Google Groups to click “Report message as spam”. On the one hand, Google is just filtering the Usenet. On the other hand, they can theoretically filter it meaningfully. I’ve seen one abusive thread just disappear from their newsreader.

  7. Bob Cozzi

    Good for you.
    I get some stuff I would call SPAM, but much of what I do get is from sites that I’ve subscribed to.

    The key was realizing that all you need to do is, when posting your email address to web page, obfuscate that email address. I’ve been doing that for at least 5 or 6 years and the amount of new SPAM I get has virtually disappeared.

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