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Sun, Apr 23, 2006 8:40 pm

Report of SORBS listing to EarthLink

I filed a trouble report with EarthLink regarding email from an EarthLink email server being rejected, because the EarthLink server, [], is on the Spam and Open Relay Blocking System (SORBS) spam blacklist. Within minutes I received a response. However, just like the response I received from AOL regarding a similar problem report regarding two AOL email servers on the SORBS blacklist, the response was totally irrelevant to the actual problem. Instead it was a bolierplate reponse on how one can deal with a situation where EarthLink filters are blocking email from another server.

The SORBS entry for the EarthLink server is shown below:

Record Created: Fri Mar 10 09:30:02 2006 GMT
Record Updated: Fri Mar 10 09:30:02 2006 GMT
Additional Information: Received: from ( []) by (Postfix) with ESMTP id 52E7111471 for <[email]>; Fri, 10 Mar 2006 19:06:10 +1000 (EST)

My Problem Report

I provide PC and network support to small businesses in my area and am trying to resolve an email problem for a client who has not been able to receive email from his daughter, who uses EarthLink as her ISP. Her email is being blocked on the server handling his incoming email because it is coming through an EarthLink email server with the IP address (, which is on the Spam and Open Relay Blocking System (SORBS) blocklist (see Will EarthLink contact SORBS about removing the address from the SORBS list?

EarthLink's Response

Thank you for contacting us.

We understand that one of the EarthLink client in your area is unable to receive email from his daughter who uses EarthLink as his ISP.

In addressing the issue we would like to inform you that the issues you're having will require active troubleshooting that can only be accomplished by working with someone in real time. In order to help you efficiently as possible, we recommend that you contact Open Relay department at: "openrelay @"

Open relay is a term used to describe an email server that is not secured against unauthorized access in order to send email. Spam is often generated from such servers, either knowingly or unknowingly.

EarthLink blocks open relay servers from delivering mail to EarthLink. This prevents a great deal of spam from arriving in our customer's email boxes. If someone is trying to send you email, and are being denied for this reason, they will have to speak to the administrator of their email server.

The administrator can choose to secure the server, or contact our Abuse department and prove that their server is in fact secured. If the administrator has secured the server, they need to email and provide the server's IP address or name. Once verified that the relay is closed, the server will be removed from the block list, and EarthLink will begin to accept mail from them.

Please be advised that not all matters may be resolved via email for security reasons or due to the complexity of the issue.

We appreciate your understanding in this regard.

I sent a reply to that message. I'm curious as to whether I can get a relevant response from either ISP within two messages or even at all. I also wonder how many others may have reported the same issues to AOL and EarthLink and gotten the same canned non-germane responses. It is no wonder why an email server may stay on a blocklist for a long time, if one has to get someone at the ISP of the offending server to request a delisting.

[/network/email/spam] permanent link

Sun, Apr 23, 2006 7:37 pm

SORBS Blocking AOL and EarthLink Servers

A user reported today that his daughter had sent email to him today which had been rejected. I obtained her email address from him and then searced the maillog file for that address. I found that her email was rejected because it was coming from an EarthLink email server, [] whose IP address,, is on the Spam and Open Relay Blocking System (SORBS) spam blacklist. I submitted a report of the problem to EarthLink's technical support group. Hopefully, the response I get will be better than the response I got from AOL when I reported the presence of two of their servers on the SORBS list recently.

A few weeks ago I found that email from AOL users was being blocked by the SORBS list, because two AOL servers were on the list. Those AOL servers are listed below:



I reported the problem to AOL then, using an AOL account I keep just for assisting AOL users, and received a response on April 3. However, the response was irrelevant to the problem I reported. I've included my message and AOL's response below:

My Problem Report

User comments = Two AOL email servers are in the Spam and Open Relay Blocking System (SORBS) blocklist (see www. Their IP addresses are and

Because those IP addresses are in the SORBS blocklist, whenever email is sent through those AOL servers, it is rejected by other email servers which use the SORBS blocklist.

I am hoping AOL will address the issue with SORBS.

AOL's Response

From: SPIncomingMail
To: <snipped>
Sent: Mon, 3 Apr 2006 11:24:32 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Subject: Re: I have a problem sending or receiving email in AOL

Dear Jim,

Hi! My name isácille from America Online. I would like to thank you for writing and making us aware of your concern.

I understand that you have questions with AOL blocking e-mail coming from Sorbs domain.

I apologize for the inconvenience this has caused you, Jim.

AOL has developed Solicited Bulk Mailing Guidelines to both aid 'netizens' with their online marketing campaigns and to protect our member base from e-mail abuse.

To learn about AOL's Unsolicited Bulk Mail Policy, please visit

If you believe that Sorbs organization's e-mail provider can adhere to AOL guidelines provided at, please ask their e-mail provider to call our Postmaster Hotline at 703-265-4670 or 1-888-212-5537 and the Postmaster group will evaluate your mailing patterns and resolve any outstanding issues with their server or domain.

AOL has developed a site for Internet users who are experiencing problems sending e-mail to AOL or for people who have questions about AOL's e-mail and junk e-mail policies at

If they would like to test their e-mail server against our database, enter the IP address at

I hope that I have sufficiently provided you with useful information about your inquiry.

If you have other concerns or questions regarding AOL, please do not hesitate to contact us in the future.

You can chat online with a technical support specialist by going to AOL Keyword:
Live Help. My colleagues there are available 24 hours a day to assist you in a secure, one-on-one session.

If you prefer to be assisted via phone, you may call us at our toll-free number:
1-800-827-6364. Calling early in the day usually reduces the waiting time to speak to a consultant.

We are always ready to answer questions and do whatever we can to make your online experience even more enjoyable.

Again, thank you for your patience and understanding on this matter.

AOL Customer Care Consultant

I replied to the AOL message today, since I found the two AOL servers are still on the SORBS list, requesting AOL address the issue with SORBS. The address appears to have been on the list since December 15, 2005. And for the other address I see the following:

Record Created: Sun Apr 25 22:36:02 2004 GMT 
Record Updated: Thu Feb 23 04:29:58 2006 GMT 
Additional Information: Received: from ( []) by server (8.10.2/8.10.2) with ESMTP id k1N2Krh14751 for ; Wed, 22 Feb 2006 20:20:53 -0600 

I would not be surprised if I get a similar non-germane response again, though. There was a time when I recommended America Online (AOL) - I think Ads Online would be a more appropriate name - to novice computer users, but now I wouldn't recommend it to anyone and reports that its membership has been significantly declining don't surprise me.

[/network/email/spam] permanent link

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