I don’t mean to name and shame, but I will

A few months ago, I made the mistake of signing up for a webcast that opted me in to getting continuous communicates from them about upcoming online seminars.

I was getting tired of all of these invites so I unsubscribed.

I kept getting more invites so I unsubscribed again.

I kept getting even more invites so I unsubscribed a third time!

And then I got more invites!

I got fed up with this sender – I won’t name them out loud but let’s just say that it rhymes with ‘RightTalk’. I finally ended up creating an Exchange Transport Rule (ETR) about two months ago:

PS C:\> Get-TransportRule -Identity "Block RightTalk" | fl Description

Description : If the message:
  sender's address domain portion belongs to any of these domains: 'mail01.righttalk.net'

Take the following actions:
  reject the message and include the explanation 'Stop spamming me I already unsubscribed three times' with the status code: '5.7.1'

As you can see, I am rejecting the message and bouncing it back to them (they send authenticated email so I am not concerned about sending backscatter) and I even tell them why I am doing this. Ever since I created that rule two months ago, I haven’t gotten any messages from them in my inbox.

<Relaxed sigh>

However, yesterday I decided to check whether or not they took the hint and actually unsubscribed me.


PS C:\> Get-MailDetailTransportRuleReport -TransportRule "Block RightTALK"

Date      Subject
1/26/2016 1:31:32 PM Now on Demand: Take Control of Your 2016 Operations Budget with Fleet Management Technology
1/28/2016 7:49:00 PM On Demand: Take Control of Your 2016 Operations Budget with Fleet Management Technology

Even as recent as this past week, they are still sending me email. Neither unsubscribing nor bouncing their email has worked. As a customer of the Exchange Online service, I’m happy to not see these messages getting delivered to me. However, as a citizen of the Internet who fights spam for a living, I’m irritated that this sender does not unsubscribe me, nor do they do any sort of SMTP bounce processing.

Comments (5)
  1. Brian says:

    Do you really think they are ignoring the bounce entirely or treating it as a transient failure?  I've seen senders customize how their MTA treats bounces that contain the word "spam".  They purposefully do not suppress messages to the address when this type of bounce is encountered under the thought that the message was rejected due to its content, and future messages may be wanted and achieve successful delivery.

    I'd be interested to know what would happen if you changed the bounce response to "550 5.1.1 RESOLVER.ADR.RecipNotFound".  This is how I get my address unsubscribed from places that don't honor their opt-out links.    I doubt they have a human reading through their bounce messages, so writing a human oriented bounce response isn't going to do much IMO.

  2. Jeff says:

    Lesson here: never give an smtp adress you care about to a non-human interface. Do what I do with my Eol sub: spawn public facing distribution groups,alias the smtp addresses on the group, then set your Eol tenant to filter by to not from (or outlook)

    When abuse occurrs, kill the alias and all done.

  3. Carol Chisholm says:

    You are not alone, a set of domains which behave like this: business-intelligence-vault.net, cloudcomputing-vault.net, daily-techwire.net,  leadgenerationbuzz.net, marketing-experts-vault.net, techcontent-vault.net, technology-vault.com

  4. Les says:

    If I continue to get email after unsubscribing, I mark it as spam and let my spam filter take care of it. Perhaps my email provider takes note and bumps the this-is-likely-spam counter? Anyway, it is a quick and easy way to get rid of what I now consider spam.

  5. Daniel says:

    I agree with Brian. They probably do have bounce processing, but they are treating your bounce as a "soft bounce".

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