The other day I briefly aluded to how sometimes I stumble upon a website and then I wonder how I got there, something like how you walk into a room and and wonder what you came there for, you know, Age-Activated ADD stuff.
Well, this has nothing to do with that, but it starts out sort of like it…beginning a project and getting side-tracked by the awfulness of what you discover along the way. So to make a long story short, I found out there is this big old nasty “Spam blocker” website out there who seems to blacklist domains, innocent domains, because they somehow fit some “spam” criteria. Now I don’t know what exactly they use to categorize a domain as originating spam, but they have my sites listed as such. Now there are many spam blacklist sites out there, and I was cleared on about 30 of the major ones (I did not run checks on the minor ones) except for this SORBS-SPAM. I poked around the site trying to gather info on how to de-list yourself. One of the criteria was that you cannot be an “internet marketer” whatever that is. Just what is an “internet marketer”? Yes, I sell things on the web. Does that make me an internet marketer? Even though I do not have a mailing list and never email people unless emailed to? Spam people? Never? I then assumed for the sake of getting further with this quest that I wasn’t an internet marketer because I don’t market through email. The site then explained that one could be on the list due to no fault of their own, like being on the same server of someone who is spamming if you have shared hosting, which I do. That’s guilt by association, like people thinking you’re a racist bigot because your uncle is (just an example…I don’t have an uncle). It also said–and I cannot find my way back to the same article–that one could be on their list because at some point someone was able to use their domain or website as an open relay to send spam (technical stuff I cannot translate). Now I don’t know if that ever happened, but I do remember in the mid-2000s I was told it was best not to run some scripts on my sites because hackers could exploit the vulnerabilities (more techspeak I do not understand) and gain access to sending mail through my sites. I remember that’s why I did away with Greymatter (ah, the old days) because it kept mucking up, and I then went on to Blogger. What a mess that all was. I love WordPress now.
Anyway, I thought I’d attempt to get my domains removed from their database, but first I had to register. But when I looked at the registration form, they REQUIRED not just a username, email and password, but street address, city, state, and zipcode, PLUS home, work AND mobile phone numbers! I only have a mobile phone, although anyone with a computer can get FREE PHONE NUMBERS and use those just to make it look authentic. And they want a personal security question and answer. But why all the personal information? I’ve given out less info to businesses when I’ve purchased things online! Why not ask for my social security number while you’re at it? I’m not so sure YOU aren’t going to spam ME, or worse! Needless to say, I did NOT complete the registration.
One of their questions was: “Skill level:” and you had the following choices of answers:
Again, what does that even mean? What is “them?” What skills are they talking about? General computer skills? HTML skills? Hacking skills? Programming skills? A big old WTF? Do I have some skills because I know how to c/p code and put their nifty little drop-down here in my own blog? Or am I absolutely skill-less because I have absolutely no idea what they’re talking about? I don’t play games, SORBS, ok? But it looks like you get into it. Who are you really? Michelle? Or is it Matthew?
Here is an older (2009) article about them. Yes, it’s a website for direct marketing, and I’m not a fan of that myself (I literally receive about a thousand spam emails per day, most of which go directly to JUNK. But here in the USA one is supposedly innocent until proven guilty in our criminal justice system. I am not familiar with Australian law, where SORBS originates, but their blacklisted domains are guilty until proven innocent. Yes, it’s just the interent, and it’s still the Wild Wild Web because there’s no marshall in town. It’s just a bunch of crazy vigilantes with a wee bit of coding time on their punitive hands. I’d rather have spam than have innocent senders be blocked from sending out legitimate email. Better let a guilty man go free…
And according to that article:
…one reason SORBS is controversial is its spam-blacklist delisting policy. In order to get a listing removed, the mailer must pay $50 to a charity for each alleged unsolicited e-mail SORBS has collected from the mailer.
Are you bloody kidding me? That’s extortion! A mega big WTF?
It is unfortunate that two-and-a-half years after that article is written, SORBS-SPAM still exists. Did I say SORBS-SPAM? More like SORBS-SCAM.