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An introduction to the AntiSPEWS regime

SPEWS, located at maintains a list of IP addresses, names of individuals, and organizations that they claim have supported spam in the past.  E-mail servers can be configured to reject all e-mail from a source listed on SPEWS.  We, however, have found that the list is poorly maintained and contains many IP addresses from which spam has NEVER originated. In fact, over 90% of the IP addresses listed in the SPEWS database are addresses from which spam has never originated.

"Spam" is a term used to refer to unwanted unsolicited bulk e-mail.  Most of us get it everyday in our inboxes. 

Many companies and organizations have come out with solutions to combat spam.  There are tools that you can install on top of your e-mail software (Outlook, Eudora, Pegasus, etc.), to filter out e-mail so that a spam message is deleted after you download it.  If you use a free e-mail service like Yahoo! or Hotmail, spam filtering tools are provided.  These methods of filtering out spam are great, and we support them!

Another method of fighting spam, which has recently taken on more popularity, is using a DNS based blacklist to reject incoming e-mail to an e-mail server.  This method of fighting spam is more technical in nature, and is a method that can only be used by the administrator of a network or e-mail server.  The e-mail server administrator can configure the e-mail server to reject messages if the message comes from a list of known spammers.  The blacklist is a list of IP addresses, and if the e-mail server administrator chooses, he/she can make it so that his mail server rejects any message that comes from a particular IP address.

This type of a list is called a DNS-based blacklist.  There are lots of such lists.  SPEWS provides such a list.  SPEWS is only one of many, but it is the most problematic.  SPEWS, through its own marketing and publicity efforts has gotten a lot of companies and networks to use its list, which it provides for free.  However, the PROBLEM is that the companies that use the SPEWS list don't know how poorly it is maintained.  And as a result, lots of legitimate non-spam e-mail is blocked.  We have lots of evidence of the problems caused by SPEWS.

Our mission is to get companies to stop using SPEWS as a filtering source because using SPEWS blocks legitimate e-mail from being read by its intended recipients.

Spam is bad. SPEWS is worse.
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