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1 minute reading time (281 words)

The Black Art of Black Lists

Today some email from one of our servers was blocked at a user's site. The logfile said that our IP address was on their blacklist. Odd, I thought, since we don't send out much email and certainly don't send out spam. I consulted a list of blacklists and found we were given the 'all clear' by over 100 such lists, but were blacklisted by two: a no-name I've never heard of, and Barracuda networks. You've heard their ads on the radio for their spam-blocking appliances. Odder still, that they blacklist our machine and 100+ other lists don't. So I went through their appeal process. Barracuda says they use the services of emailreg.org for their blacklist. Ok, so I went to them for the appeal. I filled out the requisite form of domain name, my email address, IP address, phone number, etc. I was then taken to another form that asked for my credit card information! No indication of how much I'd be charged or how often. It was just like "Give us a credit card and your blacklist problem will go away" To me, this smacked of being shady at best, extortion at worst. Why in the world would I give a site I've never been to before my credit card information with no indication about how much they'll be charging me or any terms of service? So why does Barracuda use this service? Who pays who here? Is Barracuda getting a cut of the action for every 'blacklist removal' they send emailreg.org? I have no idea and see very little possibility of ever finding out. My conclusion? Run away! Email blacklisting seems to me to be a very black art.
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