Customers getting lots of spam

Discussion in 'Email Support' started by kujo2123, Apr 9, 2013.

  1. BorderWeb

    BorderWeb Guppy

    I have found that folks in my own family, and even some hosting customers, who are not particularly tech savy, are the most likely to be taken advantage of, through spam. They will click on it, become infected with a malware spammer, and the work-load and headaches increase for all of us. Security is compromised. More spam is generated. TOS is violated. And the problem gets worse.

    The current work around I am using requires the end user to submit the address they wish to whitelist. I then take it and add it to their smtp layer whitelist. It translates into added labor for me, so I have to charge more for it...... If this step could be eliminated, so the end user could add to their smtp layer whitelist themselves, we might have a very marketable, and desirable configuration availble, that increases security, reduces spam and the associated traffic, and is not offered elsewhere.

    Obviously the submittal form would have to be secured... Perhaps something along the lines of the password changing form.... I don't know...

    Thanks for taking me seriously on this, Stephen. :)
    nzkiwi likes this.
  2. bro

    bro Perch

    I haven't seen any false positives since, so hopefully that has done the trick.

    I understand that spotting some spam, or 'bacn', is hard. I appreciate the efforts you take.
    Whitelisting is a good idea for some people, but it's certainly not for everyone. Businesses depend on getting mail from people who have never contacted them before. If i buy something online I have no idea where the confirmation mail will come from, and i can't whitelist emails that i don't get. I get email from random people I've never heard from before all the time; my business depends on it. If you just want to get mail from people you already know, use Facebook...
  3. Stephen

    Stephen US Operations Staff Member

    Oh whitelisting isn't for everyone at ALL!.

    BTW the new spam tweaks are working, and all the dating spams are marking well now I've noticed. I had been mostly getting 'dating' spam/scam mails in last days. 4-6 a day not terrible, but now marked and filtered :)
  4. bro

    bro Perch

    The dating spams are annoying. The biggest nuisance right now is all the rejection notices one of my clients is getting; dozens per day. Clearly, they're not being sent by them as the sending IPs are from all over the world; the spammer is just using their address in the From line, but Yahoo (especially) likes to resend the entire spam mail to the faked sender along with the rejection. It seems pretty incompetent to me to identify an obvious and very common spam mail, and then resend it to someone you know wasn't the real sender.
  5. Stephen

    Stephen US Operations Staff Member

    Have you done an SPF record on that? It won't help on those that don't check spf so you will still get some bounces, but it should reduce.

    I am shocked Y! includes the original message, this is an old way called backscatter and there are blocklists that block specifically for that, in fact at one point hsphere mail servers did that and we modified that, but that was oh...2007 or before!
  6. bro

    bro Perch

    Some of the Yahoo messages actually explain and apologise for backscatter, but mostly they just send the full thing back in the body of the email. Bizarre. I can't use a full fail SPF as the client uses their own various SMTPs for a number of addresses for the domain, and even if i knew them all they don't use SPF on those servers so apparently that wouldn't work. The address concerned isn't even an outgoing mailbox on hsphere. I added a softfail anyhow, but it doesn't seem to have helped. It might have done, of course; there's no telling how many mails are not returned.
  7. BorderWeb

    BorderWeb Guppy

    I would imagine that exposing your address in such a way causes you to get alot of spam. You may be better off directing new contacts to a contact form instead of an email address.

    Those who pay the most money for my whitelisting service are businesses. I've encouraged them to use their web address on printed marketing materials, not their email address. So far, human behavior patterns seem to adapt to this method of initial contact fairly easily.

    What I've noticed is people who use email to market their businesses are usually against whitelisting.

    Before I order online I find out who the sender will be, and whitelist them.

    Whitelisting an email before you get it is easy. Just open the whitelist and type in the address. It's impossible, of course, if you must recieve an email in order to know the address.

    I don't use facebook. Thanks for the recomendation anyway.
  8. BorderWeb

    BorderWeb Guppy

    Here's something interesting. I'd opened a ticket regarding excessive spam on a domain. (My customer asked if I could look into the problem.)
    The ticket reply told us what we all already know, so I told the customer we were working on it. He asked about the whitelist option, I gave him a price. He wrote me a check, and gave me a csv containing his contacts.

    I configured the email accounts as I have in the past, but the blacklist entry *@*.* no longer rejects all mail on that hosting account..... odd...

    I'm not seeing this problem on other hosting accounts that use whitelisting. Just the account I opened the ticket for.
  9. BorderWeb

    BorderWeb Guppy

    THIS IS FIXED... it was just database maintenance... no doubt part of Jodo's ongoing fight against spam....
    I think I was a little anxious since I already took the money and made the promise............. Thanks Jodohost !

    Anyway.... $$CHA-CHING$$ ! Another check, another happy customer, and two more email accounts out of the reach of spammers!

    These two accounts were getting 400 to 600 a day and white-listing stopped it cold.... Business people in town are talking about it. Jodo hosted domains are not the only ones seeing increased spam.... I have a couple of Clients - Real Estate Agents - are taking a look at it.

    They have a web form for cold contacts.
    It was suggested that directing cold contacts to their website was a far better marketing strategy than an email address on a business card.
  10. bro

    bro Perch

    My business works by personal referrals, not by advertising my address(es) on the net. People give my address to other contacts, and they mail me. They simply wouldn't go to the trouble of telling everyone to use a contact form to get in touch with me, and I can't imagine they would tell me every time that some stranger might be emailing me from any number of addresses that they might not know. Many people use 2 or 3 addresses to send mail (Gmail, home address, work address...), or might send one from their phone address that no-one was previously aware of. Eventually, my address gets out because someone along the way will have an infected PC or have their mail account hacked, and the emails in their address book go on the lists. Payal addresses get hit, too. I use mine only for Paypal and it got no spam for years, until they passed it on to a seller in China. Now I need to try to change it (not easy the last time I tried.) Your model might work well for some; I just can't imagine many of my own clients could use it effectively without missing a fair amount of mail.

    I always liked the 'challenge' email idea, where the system will ask a first-time sender to confirm before the mail is delivered, but it doesn't seem to have caught on, possibly because it doesn't work well with legitimate automated senders.
  11. Stephen

    Stephen US Operations Staff Member

    Boxtrapper, earthlinks system etc more didn't catch on because it caused excess backscatter and other problems as well. while concept was decent at a glass it became universally hated as well.
  12. BorderWeb

    BorderWeb Guppy

    Today this is NOT fixed.... Customer is threatening to walk.

    I should not have opened a ticket about spam on this domain last week. The spam has gotten worse, and white-listing - black-listing stopped working.

    Customer is giving me till close of business today or wants refund on all hosting services.

    I should never have opened a ticket on it... it's been a disaster ever since.

    I am actually in the mailboxes manually deleting the flood of spam, attempting to save the client while waiting for the help desk to resolve the issue.
  13. BorderWeb

    BorderWeb Guppy

    Lost the customer
  14. Stephen

    Stephen US Operations Staff Member

    why not put them behind a filter like spamhero or something? You can do that independent of anything here, and they are pretty cheap. Just another option, we've been looking at it as well.

    you can do it free for 30 days, it works well. It is a bit like the old postini with an interface is there is any false positives, but mostly the user won't even have to know.

    we are tweaking rules, but each time we do they change, we are increasing the entwrok based checks as well. Some of them we haven't rolled systemwide yet.
  15. BorderWeb

    BorderWeb Guppy

    If I could simply have a white-list, black-list option, I can take care of it myself, and make money in the process.

    My perspective is this:
    My way, I make money and have happy customers... I've taken checks to the bank, and customers rave about my white-list scheme.

    The current situation at Jodo has me giving refunds and losing customers.

    This is the reality.

    I know you want to beat spammers at their own game......and I appreciate that struggle..... we are all smarter than they are......
    But from a business standpoint, I just want satisfied customers and money....
  16. abhishek

    abhishek Administrator Staff Member

    We have fixed white-list, black-list option.
  17. BorderWeb

    BorderWeb Guppy

    Thank you, Abhishek

    I have a meeting with the (former) customer this morning - to apologize, and refund their money.

    This (former) customer is a church. They are not too happy about receiving penis enlargement spams.. among others. A little prudish perhaps, but
    they were a perfect candidate for whitelisting. And their money spends the same as anyone else's money.
    I have several other (current) clients (business owners) who attend this same church.
    The pressure was on, and the potential for lots of "non-traditional revenue" was very high.....

    Please try and open your minds to whitelisting. I know it doesn't fit every business model, but it has more potential than you might think.
  18. Stephen

    Stephen US Operations Staff Member


    I work closely with several churches, never seen one so unreasonable. I understand your side here really, but that is more than 'prudish', it is a lack of understanding of technology in any form. I am sorry the whitelist option stopped working, I wasn't aware of this being the case.
    Every place, and person is different, but in the past with churches I've done local gateways that handle this, and make a lot better money in service than hosting side. So especially if these are local I have another optional suggestion to you to possibly study up on and offer for them outside the realm of hosting, but could be bundled as a value add service package.

    The ClearOS is a good project, and product:

    I used to bundle services like this using small custom built, and realtively cheap miniitx motherboards with multiple nics to make them onsite universal threat management services. These filtered websites, emails, etc. These days you can even get them that have built in wifi systems so you can have main and guest wifi hotspot services as well. So you load this up, and help them management it monthly, provide the back end email and site services, the base free one works quite well these days, it isn't the platform I used to use (I used ipcop and some customized addons way back), but one addon to highly consider would be the $100 year content filtering updates.

    Not sure you'd be up for this, but just something maybe to consider!
  19. BorderWeb

    BorderWeb Guppy

    As embarrassing as it was, the meeting went well....
    I refunded their money, and offered them 30 days free hosting
    to give them time to make the transition to a new hosting service.
    I asked them to let me prove I could stop all of their spam, while they shopped for a new host.

    Hopefully I can get them to reconsider dropping me.....

    Many thanks to all the folks at JodoHost for your efforts.
  20. BorderWeb

    BorderWeb Guppy

    Thank you Stephen
    I appreciate that very much and will look into it.

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