One Delivery Failure Per Minute

rts There are a lot bad people in this world — most of them went bad trying to make a living (or rip you off in the effort to get rich.)  Case in point, and my current pain, are spammers. Right now I’m getting one delivery failure notice per minute for mail I never sent. It really, really makes me want to inconvenience the culprits lifestyle.

I currently have two domains that I actively use — recycledpapyr.us being one.  I was informed by my ISP that they can no longer keep the identity of the domain owners private for the .us domain as per some obscure regulation that is being enforced.  So all my contact information can be accessed by a simple whois command.  That’s fine.. I really don’t have anything to hide. (The stuff that can get me into trouble has already been sealed by the judge…. 😉

At about the same time, I started seeing an increase of mail delivery failures coming from my other domain.  Initially I thought it was because of the new enforcement policy.  I thought I had used the email for my other domain as the primary contact.  It turns out, that I was smarter than I gave myself credit for and had established an email account with a huge ISP, Yahoo! in this case.  Their systems should be able to handle the amount of inbound mail. 

So it looks like that someone has gotten hold of my email address some other way.  In any event, as of today, I’ve been getting delivery failures at about one per minute.

What can I do about this?  Well, to be honest, nothing other than mitigate the experience and hope the spammer picks a different address at some point.  Or I can change all my correspondence to another email address.  Since I’ve been using the address for years, I’m not moving on. 

Fortunately for me, even with all it’s faults, Entourage 2004/2008 have excellent customizable email rules and scheduling capabilities. Given that most ISP tend to send delivery failures in the same format, it was very easy to setup a few rules based on subject and sender to move all mail to a specialized folder.  The reason I sent the information to a folder is that in case I ever sent a real message that couldn’t be delivered, I’d still want to capture that delivery failure email.  In addition, I also mark the email as Read so that it doesn’t increase my unread count in Entourage.

Next I setup a schedule to simply delete all the mail in this folder that is over 3 hours old.  This gives me three hours to verify that an email message was successfully sent. 

While I was at this, I also setup some additional rules based on JUNK mail, etc.  In addition, I went ahead and setup all the rules and new schedules on the other Macs in the house that use the same domain name.

End results is that the entire process for weeding out these delivery failures has been automated.  The only email that ends up in my Inbox now are the delivery failures that fall outside a standard pattern — for instance, emails that are non-English.  Thankfully, there are only a handful of these and can very easily be deleted manually.

Although I’ve mitigated this situation to being a minor annoyance, I still want to seriously inconvenience the people are doing this.  At the end of the day, it’s the end user that pay for hosting providers that pay for the delivery of SPAM – not just the senders.  I don’t mind people advertising their products/services – but don’t make me pay for it – either in whole or part.  That’s why I don’t hate junk mail that I get in the mail.  The advertisers paid for the mail infrastructure to get that ad to me — thus employing thousands of people in the process. 

Hopefully this will give some ideas to people have similar issues.

-JT

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