About every 90 days or so, Microsoft decides that GrownUpGeek.com is a spammer, and totally blacklists our IP. I don’t mean they send our mail into the Hotmail “bulk” folders, I mean they totally “blackHole” all of our email – it just goes nowhere.. This time around they are further insulting me by returning all my mail with the following lovenote: “550 Your e-mail was rejected for policy reasons on this gateway” – and I can’t even send email FROM hotmail TO my domain!Each time this happens I go to the Report Hotmail Email Problem page at Microsoft and file a report, they send me an email to do a bunch of tests, then after two or three days they fix their screwup and email starts being delivered again. Never once have they said they’re seeing spam coming from my server, never have they said there is a problem with my SPF or my SenderID file, they just say “sorry for the inconvenience”.
After this happened the second time I replied and complained a bit, and asked why they continued to blacklist my IP. After going back and forth a few times with a very helpful technician, he sent me an email from his HOME email address and indicated that my IP was blacklisted due to other spammers in the neighborhood. That’s right – other servers in my IP-block were sending out floods of spam, so Microsoft decides to blacklist the entire IP range. This is a bit like arresting everybody in an entire apartment complex because the guy down in apt. 3C is selling crack! So Microsoft’s super-sophisticated anti-spam techniques that they boast so much about boils down to finding a spammer then blocking all IP’s anywhere near it. And, if they find they accidentally blocked an innocent webmaster, they are totally clueless on what to do or how to fix it… I hardly think this is what Bill Gates had in mind, and I’m sure he knows nothing of how stupid his little MSN/Hotmail network appears to be..This time around I again asked what I can do so that they don’t make the same mistake again, and they replied to me with two options:
- Ask all my website members & newsletter subscribers to add grownupgeek.com to their safe-list
- Subscribe to senderscorecertified.com at the low-low price of only $400 to start and $1000/year.
Now, the only problem with #1 is that IT DOES NOT WORK. When Microsoft blackholes your email, or bounces it with “550 Your e-mail was rejected for policy reasons on this gateway.“, no amount of client whitelisting is going to help (I tried it). This leaves me with option #2 – well I say “F-You Microsoft, I’m not paying for YOUR STUPID MISTAKES!”
So I guess now I’m taking off the gloves and playing dirty.
Earlier today I sent the following email to the rocket-scientists over at MSN/Hotmail:
So if i understand this correctly, i must now pay to use senderscrocertified.com because Microsoft’s multi-million dollar anti-spam system is unable to figure out that NOT ONE PIECE OF SPAM HAS EVER BEEN EMITTED FROM MY MAIL SERVER? Am i missing something? Also, I cannot ensure that my customers will receive my email by adding my domain to their whitelist as described by you (below) when all my mail is rejected due to “550 Your e-mail was rejected for policy reasons on this gateway” – Adding my domain to their whitelist also does not do any good when MSN/Live ‘blackholes” my email as has happened several other times this year.
I am not asking for any special treatment, and I am not asking for you to disclose any proprietary information about how your spam filtering system works. I am simply asking that you not block email from my server OR show me evidence that MY server or MY IP has been used for spamming so that I can fix it – i think that if you review the history of my IP/server since I took ownership of it approx one year ago, you will find nothing even remotely spam-related has ever been sent from it. I also am not concerned about other servers or other IP’s in my address-block that may or may not be spam-farms.. They are not of my concern, and surely a company as sophisticated as Microsoft is able to tell the difference between a server at IP address “X” and a server at IP address “Y” – even if X and Y are very close to each other.
At this point I respectfully request that you escalate this issue to whoever it is that would review this type of problem and resolve it permanently. If you have any questions, need any further information, or wish to contact me for any other reason I can be contacted at (xxx) xxx-xxxx virtually any time between 8am and 11pm Pacific Time, 7-Days a week.
Please also note that the promised mitigation has not taken place, and mail is STILL BEING rejected by Microsoft.
Thank you –
After sending this email I made a post at GrownUPGeek.com asking all of our members that use MSN/Hotmail to go to the Hotmail support page and open a ticket complaining that they are not getting email from us.
During my research looking for ways to get this problem fixed I’ve run across several posts in forums from other webmasters with the same problem. After going through all the hoops like I have (SPF, SenderID, MS Smart Network Data Services, etc) the final answer usually ends up being either pay-up or give-up .. Well, I’m not going to pay, and I’m too pissed off now to give up – so it’s me VS. Microsoft.
*EDIT October 1, 2007:
After two promises from Microsoft to temporarily correct THEIR problem, they are STILL rejecting all of our email. It is clear that Microsoft/Hotmail is asleep at the wheel. They also have not responded to my request to have this problem escalated to someone capable of doing something about it.
*EDIT October 2, 2007:
Last night I received this in response to my email pointing out that after two promises of unblocking our IP they still had done nothing:
I do see that you did have a rescue signature in place. These are only temporary and yours may have expired. I will send this to our filtering team to find out. We will contact you as soon as we hear from them
Windows Live Hotmail Domain Support
Does anyone know WTF a “rescue signature” is?
I have posted an update to this post HERE.