Fighting SPAM

By now we all know that SPAM is the term for unwanted email. Most of it ends up in your Junk folder but occasionally it makes its way into your mail inbox. Fighting SPAM is a misnomer. I should call it “annoying SPAM senders”. Let me explain.

Every domain registered has a few administrative contacts listed. There is an owner role, an admin role and several others. The most important role is the Abuse contact. For 90% of domains registered, the abuse contact will be “abuse@domainname.com”. To be 100% positive you would need to look them up via the Internet WHOIS service. I typically use WHOIS.COM/WHOIS but there are other companies. Of the junk mail I get, over 90% of it comes from GMAIL addresses. If you perform a WHOIS lookup on the GMAIL domain (Whois gmail.com), you will find the ABUSE POC is abusecomplaints@markmonitor.com. Now back to “fighting” SPAM.

Now that you know how to report SPAM you can start reporting it to domain registrars to get these accounts removed. Here is my normal routine when I’m checking email. After I’m done reading/sending mail I look in my junk folder. I use the preview pane in Outlook. For each email address, I look at the domain it is from (the part after the@ sign), Forward the email to ABUSE@”the offending domain name”. For GMAIL accounts, all SPAM from GMAIL goes to abusecomplaints@markmonitor.com.

At this point you have either stopped reading or asking yourself, “does it help?”. I think it does. A spammer must sign up for an email, then configure their spamming tools to use that email. Once configured, it’s all automated. If the account is reported, then deleted, the spammer must get a new account created, setup his tools, and start over. It takes the spammer longer to fix his “spam machine” than it does me to report it. Does it help? Over 300 billion spam emails are sent per day. It helps me. I’d like to know that on some level I’m making life difficult for one or more spammers. The amount of GMAIL spam I receive daily has gone down in the three months I have been doing this. I’ll let you decide if it’s worth it…