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Spam Communications

Memo to Users: SpamCop Winding Down Webmail Service 44

Posted by timothy
from the not-the-whole-company-mind-you dept.
LuserOnFire (175383) writes with word that on Saturday SpamCop users received an email that says in part: "For over 12 years, Corporate Email Services has been partnering with SpamCop to provide webmail service with spam filtering via the SpamCop Email System for our users. Back then, spam filtering was rare. We heard story after story about how our service rescued people from unfiltered email. Nowadays, webmail service with spam filtering has become the norm in the general public. As such, the need for the webmail service with SpamCop filtered email has decreased. Due to these reasons, we have decided to retire the SpamCop Email System and its webmail service; while SpamCop will continue to focus on providing the World's best spam reporting platform and blacklist for the community. As of September 30, 2014 (Tuesday) 6pm ET, the current SpamCop Email service will be converted to email forwarding-only with spam filtered by SpamCop for all existing SpamCop Email users."
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Memo to Users: SpamCop Winding Down Webmail Service

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  • by vilain (127070) on Monday August 11, 2014 @02:27AM (#47645283)
    I've been using their paid email service for years and they cancel it three months after I paid for my next year of service. I'm owed a refund, IMO, for only three months of that service. I still haven't heard back yet...
    • by vilain (127070)
      As a follow up, Slashdot got back to me. "we're not offering refunds." It's only $23 but that sucks. Anyone else out there burned by this decision? Care to join forces and maybe find an attorney who'll rub their hands avariciously at going after these guys. They're owned by DICE who've got deeper pockets than just a bunch of guys in a garage.
  • by rsmith-mac (639075) on Monday August 11, 2014 @05:00AM (#47645517)

    It's a shame to see the service go, but I can't say I'm surprised.

    When it was introduced the SpamCop email service was cutting edge for its time, offering extremely reliable spam filtering at a time when most other email services were capable of no more than a token effort. With the ability to utilize RBLs and even select which RBLs to use, and later features like greylisting, it was far more effective of a server side solution than anything else. Heck, some spammers wouldn't even hit spamcop addresses due to the fact that it just increased their odds of being quickly reported and added to the SpamCop RBL.

    However it's generally outgrown its usefulness, which is reflected in the fact that the service has so few users and now is shutting down. Most email services are utilizing RBLs these days in some form - if only through SpamAssassin - and the largest services such as Google and Hotmail see so much email that they are second-to-none in their ability to identify spam based on heuristics alone. This means the SpamCop email service no longer has the large advantage in spam prevention it once held, and in some ways it may as well be worse since it can't rival Google's heuristics.

    Plus the service has generally grown stale. The Horde webmail interface is functional, but badly out of date and lacking the functionality of Google & co's webmail interfaces. And the service itself has grown into disrepair; there have been repeated hardware failures and CESmail (the company that actually provides the service) has been slow in repairing them and responding to user support tickets.

    Anyhow, the SpamCop email service lived a good life, but as is the case for many Internet services it has failed to adapt with the times and is now justifiably on its deathbed. The good news is that the SpamCop RBL itself is unaffected (it has been owned and operated by Cisco for several years now), so naming confusion aside the all-important RBL will continue offering spam protection for users world-wide.

  • They need to stop encouraging filtering. Filtering email will never resolve the spam epidemic. Filtering only encourages spammers to craft ever-more-obfuscated spam to drive down the signal-to-noise ratio and improve the chances of their spam getting through.

    Spamcop and others, if they actually want to perform a valuable service, need to put their profits elsewhere. Namely, they need to start working on disrupting the flow of money to the spammers themselves. Spam is an economic problem. Treating it otherwise is just stupid. Spammers don't do what they do to piss you off (regardless of how some may feel otherwise), they do it to make money. You also cannot solve the problem by exposing, jailing, or murdering spammers (regardless of whether or not it makes you feel better) as it does not resolve the profit motive.

    There are demonstrated avenues where one can disrupt the flow of (often illegal) money. If Spammers don't get paid, they don't send spam.
    • by davecb (6526)
      Yes: it's a problem that needs to be attacked from several directions at once, including psycological: what drives people to read and buy products from spammers?
    • by naff89 (716141)

      I agree, but the problem with spam is that it is just so goddamn cheap to send.

      It's not an economic problem like drugs are, because it doesn't require the massive resources a successful drug empire does: it can be one guy, a huge botnet, and virtually cost-free spam messages. Add to that the difficulty in tracing a message back to an individual computer (let alone a computer running a botnet), and it's almost impossible to keep these guys down.

      • I agree, but the problem with spam is that it is just so goddamn cheap to send.

        That is part of it...

        It's not an economic problem like drugs are

        I will argue that at the root they actually are the same. A spammer and a drug dealer have in common the motivation to make money. A spammer cares no more - or less - about the condition of the customer than does a drug dealer. For that matter, plenty of spammers effectively are drug dealers, spamvertising for sites that sell (often counterfeit) drugs online.

        because it doesn't require the massive resources a successful drug empire does

        While spam does not require much for resources, it does require an economic motivator. Spammers very rarely are webmasters

        • by tlhIngan (30335)

          I will argue that at the root they actually are the same. A spammer and a drug dealer have in common the motivation to make money. A spammer cares no more - or less - about the condition of the customer than does a drug dealer. For that matter, plenty of spammers effectively are drug dealers, spamvertising for sites that sell (often counterfeit) drugs online.

          Actually, that's less likely the case these days.

          More likely is the three actor scenario - you have the spammer, the customer, and the victim. The cust

    • You also cannot solve the problem by exposing, jailing, or murdering spammers (regardless of whether or not it makes you feel better) as it does not resolve the profit motive.

      Increasing the expected cost reduces the expected profit.

      Filtering only encourages spammers to craft ever-more-obfuscated spam to drive down the signal-to-noise ratio and improve the chances of their spam getting through.

      Which takes resources, thus increasing costs, thus reducing the expected profit.

      Spamcop and others, if they actually want to perform a valuable service, need to put their profits elsewhere. Namely, they need to start working on disrupting the flow of money to the spammers themselves.

      While we're discussing profit as the be all and end all, I'm curious how Spamcop is supposed to monetize this? And does preventing people from seeing spam not "disrupt the flow of money"?

      It's great to say there are other ways to go about fighting spam, but anything which makes the spammers' efforts a little bit more difficult or a little bit less effective contributes to

      • You also cannot solve the problem by exposing, jailing, or murdering spammers (regardless of whether or not it makes you feel better) as it does not resolve the profit motive.

        Increasing the expected cost reduces the expected profit.

        And which of those actually increase the expected cost to the spammers? Most spammers are in second and third world countries that have no enforced laws against this anyways. In the highly unlikely event that one is actually jailed or killed, there are plenty more in the same country who aspire to follow in that person's footsteps.

        Filtering only encourages spammers to craft ever-more-obfuscated spam to drive down the signal-to-noise ratio and improve the chances of their spam getting through.

        Which takes resources, thus increasing costs, thus reducing the expected profit.

        The investment for the spammer is trivial.

        And does preventing people from seeing spam not "disrupt the flow of money"?

        In many cases, no. Spammers are often paid for the number of messages they send out, regardless of how many turn into sales or are

  • Yup, I received that e-mail also, we are going to stop but the mail filtering remains. So you can still use www.spamcop.net and submit the mail that you don't like, but you have to find another mail provider. Google is actually a nice provider, gives 15 Gb of space, has a reasonable imap interface that works well with apple mail and thunderbird.

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