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A Collection of Random Thoughts
Thursday, December 29, 2005
 
RBL's - are they really worth it?
I just added some new feeds to my RSS reader (which happens to be Outlook 12 right now) and I happened to notice a blog on Ant Drewery's blog from a few weeks back which talks about something that I feel strongly about - namely RBL's. For the most part, I despise them. Why? One main reason. Unless you build and maintain your own RBL (which I'd submit is just fine), YOU have no (or very little) control over WHO gets listed or how they (or you) get off. Let's face it - some of the folks that maintain some of the public RBL's that are available just don't care. Others want money in order to de-list you (when you get listed for some off-the-wall insane reason that no one in their right mind would do).

I understand the fight against spam - I really do. I sympathize with companies that are burdened with a lot of spam. It can get very nasty. However, working in the e-mail field, RBL's affect a lot of things negatively, and are very often used indiscriminately by novice admins. You try explaining to your CEO why that 2 milion dollar deal can't be sent to a customer because the customer uses a RBL that has you listed on it...

I am a very strong proponent of anti-spam, but using RBL's isn't a method that I encourage - at least not to BLOCK e-mail. Use RBL's as a way of increasing the spam score of an e-mail, but don't block using them. Use SPF/SenderID as a way of increasing the spam score of an e-mail, but don't block based on missing/incorrect SPF/SenderID records. Use Reverse DNS as a way of increasing the spam score of an e-mail, but don't block based on missing/incorrect PTR records. Now blocking e-mail for invalid e-mail addresses? That's another story. I'm all for doing that. :-)
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