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Constant Contact used by spammers, blacklisted by many

Posted on Aug 6, 2009 by Paul White

Constant Contact for years has been used by small business owners to do their bulk emails.  They provide affordable List Server plans, for people who are less than knowledgeable about running a mail server. 

A few days ago I was going through the SMTP logs on my mail server.  This server handles the email for about 10 domains.  One of these domains has been around for a while, and gets huge amounts of spam.  However using grey listing and a few RBLs stops most all spam.  However my server still has to deal with the requests.  So I took at look at my SMTP logs, to find a few servers attempting a dictionary attack on the mail server.  Another email that doesn't even exist seemed to be getting the most attention.  So I checked this IP and found that it was not just a single IP, but 100s of IPs from one Class C IP. I looked up this IP and it went back to contstant contact.  So I decided that enough was enough, and added their entire IP range to my blacklist. 

Today I got a call from a client who was having problems with their bulk emails.  They have a website managed with another developer, that decided to use constant contact.  They are not getting any response from the people they send the messages to.  Now keep in mind that this client and their domains, and the people they are sending emails to, are not part of my mail server.  This tells me that many other mail servers have blacklisted Constant Contact. 

I made a suggestion that their web master should check to make sure an SPF record has been setup to include the constant contact IP range.  As mail server admins, we use every trick in the book to stop spam.

If you want it done right you have to do it yourself.  When you share IPs, mail servers, web servers, with other people.  You are putting yourself at risk.  Its like being a member of the army stationed in IRAQ.  And one guy from your unit, goes crazy and starts shooting civilians.  Of course the locals don't care if you didn't do it.  You belong to the same unit, and therefore are responsibile  The war on Spam has taken a similar direction.  And there have been plenty of casualties, that were not doing anything wrong, yet get caught up in blacklists, because their neighbor is trying to drive traffic to his online pharmacy.

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