Spam control out of control!!

March 8th, 2005

I had this in my inbox this afternoon.

I apologize for this automatic reply to your email.
To control spam, I now allow incoming messages only from senders I have approved beforehand.
If you would like to be added to my list of approved senders, please fill out the short request form (see link below). Once I approve you, I will receive your original message in my inbox. You do not need to resend your message. I apologize for this one-time inconvenience.

This is one of those situations where email spam control has gone overboard.
This is an email that was set to my admin mailbox because someone signed up for one of my bulletin boards with an email address protected by this hairbrained scheme! If an online service that you are registering for, needs to confirm THEIR existence to your email server before they can confirm YOUR existence, you will never, ever, ever, ever finish the sign up process. To add insult to injury, the confirmation asks for all sorts of information from you such as last and first name, a short message to appease the recipient Gods and even a stupid captcha with a derogatory “Visually impaired? Click here” link!

Spam is annoying and I deal with it everyday. However, I draw the line at inconveniencing others. If you are signed up with Earthlink for your email, turn this SpamBlocker junk off. It is annoying, useless and it turns people off from trying to contact you at all.

Get anything from me yet? No? Good!




  1. khaled (1 comments.) says:

    I agree with you completely on this. I had an e-mail from someone asking for help and had to go through that whole rubbish, really pissed me off royaly. I did it that once but I’m NEVER going to do that again. Such a [edited] idea.

  2. Craig C. (2 comments.) says:

    An inherent problem with challenge-response systems. These people ASKED for your email, the burden is upon them to pre-whitelist you. If they don’t know how, then they shouldn’t be using challenge-response, and Earthlink made a bad move when they chose that as their prevention method.

    Yet another illustration of how spammers have destroyed the usefulness of email.

  3. Nanaban says:

    What plugin do you use to add the special “links” section to the end of your posts?

  4. teli (24 comments.) says:

    hehe – maybe they’re trying to deter people from emailing them…aha ;)

  5. Michael Moncur (10 comments.) says:

    I get about 20 of those per day now, and I throw them all away.

    These people signed up for my forum and should expect an email. If they aren’t prepared to receive it, tough luck…

  6. Jeff Licquia (1 comments.) says:

    I use a system similar to this (might even be the same). It’s made E-mail useful for me again.

    I do agree that it’s rude to not auto-whitelist people you send mail to so they can reply. My system does this automatically for me; dunno what’s wrong with this person’s system. I also take explicit pains to try to verify addresses via other means (PGP-signed mail is accepted, SPF-approved relays are accepted, all mail is greylisted, SpamAssassin-rejected mail is silently dropped).

    There’s really no alternative for me. I’ve tried every Bayesian filter, and they didn’t filter enough. I’ve tried SpamAssassin alone, which was even worse. The RBLs worked for a while, but then their admins started freaking out, and the false positive rate went too high. Nothing I’ve seen has worked for any length of time except my whitelist/auto-confirm system.

    As you say, e-mail is being destroyed by the spam problem. Sometimes, a little cooperation is what’s needed to stop it. If cooperating is a problem for you, then I recommend not mailing me. (But yes, if I initiate, I should have the courtesy to not require you to jump through my hoops.)

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