SORBS: An anti-spam service worse than spam?


SORBS is a Realtime spam BlackList (RBL) that is far from helping the spam problem. I am not alone in thinking that rather than being professionally run and attempting to target real spammers SORBS solution to the spam problem is just to add half the Internet (figurately speaking) to a blacklist. Case in point yesterday I got a call from a friend who mysteriously could not send email to certain people on the Linux server I had setup a few years ago. I checked on the server and found nothing wrong yet still some mail just was not going through. He rang up his ISP (TelstraClear in this case) only to be told that his entire subnet (about 500-odd TelstraClear users) had been added to the SORBS blacklist two days ago. On the blacklist there is no reason given as to why this subnet is banned nor is there any attempt made by SORBS to contact effected parties. The only clue for the ban is that SORBS considers the ip range dynamically distributed even though TelstraClear issues static addresses to their business customers on this ip range.

Trying to get off the list is hard, bordering on the impossible. We have both submitted support requests to have the ip removed but at the moment my request is number 2050 in line and it is not moving. RBL's are a good idea in practice but they have to be targeted and professional enough to get incorrect ip addresses removed quickly. Whilst some could blame mail server administrators for subscribing to SORBS poor blocking service I don't think you can blame a doctor for giving medicine to his patients. My guess is these guys at SORBS are raking in a lot of money from Google AdSense adverts on their website as thousands of people hit it every day trying to get their innocent IP addresses off their crudely constructed list.