Complaining about spamIt's important to know both how to complain effectively and where a complaint should be addressed.
It is increasingly true that spammers forge header information. If you complain, do make sure that you direct your complaint appropriately.
The best address to send complaints to is firstname.lastname@example.org. Every responsible site will have that address. Be aware, however, that many sites (especially the larger ones, such as Netcom and Earthlink) have set up a specific abuse address (i.e. email@example.com) for handling complaints about spam. Many people send a copy of the complaint to the offender as well.
First and foremost, BE POLITE. It is not (usually!) the postmaster's fault. Include full headers from the message, and describe why you think it came from the site in question. Point out that you did not request this email, and make it clear you don't want any more of it. And above all, DO NOT MAILBOMB. That is grounds for your own account to be yanked, and it will not help your complaint.
Second, do as much as you can to ensure that you're sending your complaint to the right place. Spammers often forge header information into the mail they send out, and a lot of innocent third parties- victims of the spammer at least as much as the spam recipients are-- get the complaints. Figuring out where the spam came from means looking at the headers, not just the return address in the From: line.
If you do not receive a response, or you get a canned response and the spam keeps coming, it may be that the spammer is his own provider! Don't despair, there is still recourse...
The fundamental principle in fighting spam is to cut the connectivity. Ordinarily, this means contacting the spammer's ISP. If the spammer is the ISP, the next step is to contact the company who provides a connection to the ISP itself. The tools for this are whois and traceroute.
As an example, take bbbiiizzz.com, a site of recent UCE:
$ traceroute bbbiiizzz.com traceroute to bbbiiizzz.com (220.127.116.11), 30 hops max, 40 byte packets 1 xenyn-eid-E0-1.nyc.access.net (18.104.22.168) 2 ms 8 ms 4 ms 2 sl-dc-12-S3/2-T1.sprintlink.net (22.214.171.124) 11 ms 23 ms 22 ms 3 * * * 4 sl-mae-e-H2/0-T3.sprintlink.net (126.96.36.199) 76 ms 102 ms 29 ms 5 br2.tco1.alter.net (188.8.131.52) 15 ms 20 ms 13 ms 6 Hssi1-0.CR2.DCA1.Alter.Net (184.108.40.206) 21 ms 29 ms 12 ms 7 * * 101.Hssi5-0.CR2.SCL1.Alter.Net (220.127.116.11) 156 ms 8 Fddi0-0.GW1.SCL1.Alter.Net (18.104.22.168) 119 ms 119 ms 139 ms 9 uunet-gw-ds3.mv.best.net (22.214.171.124) 127 ms 124 ms 124 ms 10 tlg-ds3.best.net (126.96.36.199) 102 ms 191 ms 203 ms 11 gw2-sf-tlg.tlg.net (188.8.131.52) 148 ms 108 ms 107 ms 12 tlg-cust-link.tlg.net (184.108.40.206) 103 ms 128 ms 104 ms 13 rno-ms4.greatbasin.net (220.127.116.11) 113 ms 127 ms 114 ms 14 big.bbbiiizzz.com (18.104.22.168) 119 ms 108 ms 141 ms
If firstname.lastname@example.org is unsympathetic (as has proved the case), the next step is to complain to email@example.com, and so on up the chain.
Checking the InterNIC's database reveals one interesting point, however:
$ whois bbbiiizzz.com Big Biz World (BBBIIIZZZ-DOM) 1541 S. Beretania Street, Suite 208 Honolulu, HI 96826 US Domain Name: BBBIIIZZZ.COM Administrative Contact, Technical Contact, Zone Contact, Billing Contact: Huntington, Ralph J (RH332) dns@ZRS.NET 808-686-3855 Record last updated on 09-Jul-96. Record created on 08-Mar-95. Domain servers in listed order: BIG.BBBIIIZZZ.COM 22.214.171.124 NS1.GREATBASIN.NET 126.96.36.199 NS2.GREATBASIN.NET 188.8.131.52
Ordinarily, the NIC contact for a site will have an email address either within the site or at the site immediately upstream. The fact that the contact for bbbiiizzz.com is at a third location suggests that you may wish to drop a line to zrs.net (and perhaps its provider) as well.
Still, if response to your complaint is not immediately forthcoming, be patient. Especially in the cases of large-scale spams, the postmaster may be buried under a mountain of displeased email (not to mention mailbombs and other antisocial responses).
Last Modified:Wednesday, 30-Jan-2013 12:14:13 EST
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