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.

About Ann

Painter, jewelry-maker, graphic designer, dingbat font creator, imagineer, progressive, liberal, Wisconsinite by birth and later by choice, dog and cat mom, sushi-lover and foodie.

7 thoughts on “SORBS-SPAM SUCKS

  1. OK, I did some internet sleuthing, and it didn’t exactly take a Holmes and Watson to discover that the original brains behind SORBS is a transsexual. Matthew became Michelle. Right around the time the company was supposedly “calling it quits” but instead ended up being bought for $500K. Hmmm…I wonder how much a sex change costs? The whole thing smells fishy.

    Just find/goodle Michelle Sullivan’s MySpace page, and you’ll see that s/he still has a whole bunch of photos on the domain. So s/he sold the company, and the new owners let her keep her stuff there? WTF?

  2. Wow this is a little beyond my comprehension level, but let me get this straight (strange choice of words, considering). These companies block spam but instead end up blocking you from sending legitimate email?

    That does suck.

  3. Yeah, I guess they create lists and ISPs can subscribe to these lists in order to set their servers to block the spam. Something like that, yeah. I can’t begin to describe the specifics as it’s beyond my comprehension level too!

  4. I never send emails out anymore to customers letting them know I’ve got their order, because sometimes they write back with a wtf answer to my email. Most of the time if they write back it’s to say thank you.

    So how would they know how may former customers didn’t want me to email them? My customers contacted me first by purchasing anyway.

    These people sound like they are Spam themselves. What a bunch of pirates.

    They are taking advantage of other peoples problems. Like some highway robber who robs you so the guy up the road can’t do it to you later. Blocking innocent people on the web, what a bunch of self serving criminals calling themselves in the right.

  5. “So how would they know how may former customers didn’t want me to email them? My customers contacted me first by purchasing anyway.” Yeah, I don’t know. No idea. It’s just so messed up. The fact that I checked my domains against 31 of these SPAM blocker websites, and 30 of them do not have my sites listed as a spammer and 1 does (SORBS) oughta tell you something about SORBS. Like…they can’t be trusted? That an actual company bought the original site from Matthew/Michelle and is continuing on with their fascistic approach to spam identification…WTF? And the fact that some ISPs continue to use their outdated technology or whatever algorithm they’re using…WTF?

    Anyway, I’m going w/gmail now instead of using my domain names for contacting customers. How utterly counter-intuitive. This is just wrong. People GOT domains so they COULD have uniquely identifying emails and websites. Now everything’s going to “social media” and gmail. Websites are becoming…a thing of the past? I made a joke about this back in the 90s, when people in the future will say laughingly, “Remember websites?” Like the way we laugh at manual typewriters or something.

  6. No, because the google social thing is going nowhere if that were the case, like some google conspiracy.

    I think it’s just a process of dumbing down the web. I could write more, but I won’t.

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