A Most Ineffective Spam Technique - monday 2006-02-27 1046 last modified 2006-02-27 1046
Categories: Nerdy, Daily Grind
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I've gotten two emails recently from previously unknown people asking for my help with code I've written which, upon reply, had automated scripts telling me I needed to go verify that I was a real person via the web to help keep their mailbox free of spam.

One seemed to be a home grown solution while the other was provided by the "highest protection" scheme from Earthlink's spamBlocker (note the edgy capitalization).

This scheme requires whitelists and additional efforts on the senders' part. Neither is a good idea. I played nice twice; from now on, I'm not going to play along at all. Email may be a broken medium, but it's not going to get fixed this way. If you contact me and have this scheme in place, you should use your whitelist to clear my entire domain and use my SPF record to keep down joe jobs. I'm not doing the work for you. If you miss my reply - well, you missed it, tough on us both.

Somebody should start a list of caveats for free webmail and ISPs. Like, if contacting strangers is going to be important to you, you might want to avoid Earthlink, etc.

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