I have some important follow-up to my last post about the GoDaddy issue.

Back on Friday, July 17, I posted to the blog here the lack of responsiveness that we got regarding what seemed to be pretty clearly a configuration issue on GoDaddy’s mail servers.  I’m including my written email to their support below, as well as the eventual written response that I got from their Office of the President as well.

Late Friday afternoon I received a call from a very well-spoken and pleasant individual at GoDaddy named Daniel Butler.  In that conversation he listened to my concerns, and explained how he felt that they were doing the best thing in the interests of GoDaddy by applying the Spamhaus PBL database the way that they did.  GoDaddy also agreed to ‘whitelist’ our specific IP address.   The bottom line is that GoDaddy knows that the PBL is a combination of policy blocks and straight up dynamic IP’s, and knows that using this list will give them false positives.  They’re trying to convince Spamhaus to break these lists out so that they could use one or the other instead of being forced to use both, but in the meantime will continue to use the PBL list to block any incoming messages that reference IP’s there.  Mr. Butler said that the number of people being affected by these false positives is vanishingly small, far less than 1% of their total webmail user population.  Their solution to customers adversely affected by this is for them to contact Spamhaus or GoDaddy directly and get the IP’s whitelisted or removed from the PBL entirely.

I’m not 100% convinced that this would be satisfactory to everyone affected, but since they whitelisted us WRLR hasn’t had the issue anymore.

Of course, if our IP changes – which, as a hosted dynamic IP it almost certainly will – then I’ll have to ride the finger-pointing merry-go-round again, won’t I?

7-22-2009 10-43-50 AM

Our Office of the President has responded to your request, details of which are described below:

Discussion Notes
Office of the President Response
Dear Mr. Kastler,
Your email correspondence has been directed to the Office of the President
for further review.
As we understand, you are receiving bounceback errors when attempting to
send email to addresses in Go Daddy’s system based on the current SPAM and virus
filters. Per your discussion of the included information with Mr. Butler, we would like to forward these details for your record.
It appears, per your correspondence that the issue is due to the emails
that contain a link to ftp://wrlr[DOT]dyndns[DOT]org. Based on researching this link
and to confirm, we can see that it resolves to the IP address of 98.193.107.150,
which, is currently listed in Spamhaus.org‘s PBL. We do appreciate your concerns regarding
Go Daddy’s use of the PBL and your desire to obtain the appropriate details
about this matter.
Please understand that due to the fact that spammers are now using virus
infected personal computers to host sites as well as send spam, blocking sites
hosted on dynamic pools is very useful, and stops a large amount of spam with
very few false positives. While the Spamhaus PBL is currently a “policy”
blocklist, listing any system that should not send mail, it began life as a
“pool” blocklist, and in fact was started when the dynamic pool blocklist we
previously used was given to Spamhaus. We simply continued to use it the way we
had previously used it. Unfortunately, Spamhaus has now allowed non-pool
addresses to be voluntarily included in the PBL (the “policy” block list), and
no longer offers a list that is purely dynamic pool IPs. However, the vast
majority are still dynamic pool IPs, and the PBL remains the only dynamic pool
list at this time. Unfortunately, as these two very different concepts are
combined into the one PBL, results from both the “policy” block list as well as
the “pool” block list are returned for filtering at this time. Please note that
we have been in contact with Spmahaus regarding this matter in hopes of
splitting these two block lists up.
Spamhaus will remove IPs listed in the “policy” block list on request, and
we recommend removing any legitimate web hosts from the PBL. If a server should
not be sending mail, this is easily enforced at the router or firewall level.
Blacklists are, and always have been, a last-resort measure for dealing with
irresponsible ISPs who cannot or will not control their network through other
means. It should not be necessary for a responsible provider to voluntarily list
their own IPs in any external blacklist. Although there may not be a perfect
method to perform the spam protection which is necessary in today’s internet
environment, we do believe we have the best method available. If this current
condition creates an inconvenience for you, we sincerely apologize. Please know
we are constantly researching ways to improve the service we provide, and if
better methods become available in the future, we will adjust our techniques to
accommodate them.
We would like to point out that we do employ various methods to help combat
spam and Go Daddy does take a very active role to do so. These methods and
means, however, are not to block legitimate messages or senders. Rather, these
means are in place to protect Go Daddy’s customers and their own contacts as new
viruses, malware, and other such infectious applications are so easily spread
without any knowledge these days.
We do hope this information has been helpful to you and again apologize for
any inconvenience this may cause. Based on your conversation with Mr. Butler, it appears this matter has been resolved amicably at this time. Additionally, should there be any other questions or
concerns with which our office may assist; please do not hesitate to contact us
directly.

Kindest Regards,

Jeff Olsen

Customer Inquiry
Thank you for your response.

As a journalist, I want to make sure I get my information correct. I plan
on airing this story this coming Saturday July 18th on local Chicago radio
airwaves (WRLR 98.3 FM), so it’s important that I don’t present incorrect
info. Can you please direct this to the management team you reviewed it
with originally?

Here is my takeaway information that i will use to create my lead for this
Saturday’s broadcast:
* – godaddy is using spamhaus’s SBL, XBL, and PBL database to filter and
block emails (short description of spam blacklist databases, spamhaus and
PBL).
*- Filtering based on email content and using info derived from PBL
database records is an incorrect usage of the spamhaus database and service,
and results in inappropriately and consistently blocking legitimate emails
that reference hosts with dynamic dns or based with major internet service
providers such as comcast.
* – upon being alerted of the incorrect settings, sources from godaddy
management responded with the following:
=- GoDaddy is aware of the issues, and of the incorrect settings
=- GoDaddy is not currently nor are they willing to take steps to
correct the situation
*- although this may only affect a small percentage of godaddy webmail
users, many may not be aware of this problem as the intended recipient will
not receive any notice that this is occurring. While the sender (listener’s
potential customer!) may get an error message back, are they going to bother
trying to get hold of you?
*- Bottom line: Godaddy customers are not receiving the legitimate and
important emails that they rely on – and pay – the godaddy webmail service
for.

If I have any of the information above incorrect, please let me know prior
to the 18th. Corrections after that date may be placed on the techtalk
blog, but will most likely not be reviewed on-air.

I would also be pleased to interview a representative from godaddy about
this issue, either on or off air. We broadcast live on saturdays, so an
on-air interview would need to fall between the times of 10:15 and 10:45
saturday mornings. If you are interested please contact me at
techtalk@wrlr.fm. If your email is blocked due to the PBL issue, you may
contact me at my personal address of michael@kastler.net.

Thank you,

*Michael Kastler*
Host/Producer “TechTalk”
* WRLR 98.3 FM*

Of course, if our IP change