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Providers: RE: Emailing
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Providers: RE: Emailing

Let's see if I can type this again without my touchpad pressing back and the no-cache deleting my post.

I'd like to gather providers opinion on the use of port 25. My impression from the various providers I've signed up to is that there isn't much leeway for SMTP usage or 'perceived abuse' (hence the question), with some suspending your account if it appears on a DNSBL list, some flagging you for using SMTP on any kind of scale. This is understandable and a provider will want to protect their IP space and other customers.

Say I work with a number of small-mid-large sized businesses who have a list of email addresses for their customers. Periodically they'll want to 'prune' the list for unreachable addresses. They outsource this task to someone like me.

The traditional method of cleaning is to contact the SMTP server which can tell whether the address exists or not... without sending an actual email, hence no spam. Server gets connected to, and a RCPT is sent with the server giving a response code usually indicating whether the address exists or not. The connection is then closed. It's worth repeating that no email gets sent.

The method has naturally been abused by spammers in the past (who are naturally opportunist), though they tended to forge the from address or send an IP with the HELO greeting rather than a domain. In my case, I'd have reverse DNS configured, and all the appropriate DNS records to show that the originating request is indeed valid.

So my question to providers is, is that an acceptable usage of a VPS in your opinion? Where is the line in the sand for you.

Thanks for your time.


  • jarjar Patron Provider, Top Host, Veteran

    Arguable that I qualify for the position you've asked to respond but I think it's acceptable. It's going to end in temporary blocks from some email services if not rate limited but you know that :)

  • This looks (when used by you, not spammers) like a completely legitimate use of port 25 and the SMTP service, I would be surprised if any VPS provider throws a fit about that

  • AnthonySmithAnthonySmith Member, Patron Provider

    yeah should be fine, it would be polite to drop them a note first though.

  • shovenoseshovenose Member, Host Rep

    I don't see the problem.

  • Thanks, I do plan to message each VPS and judging by the posts here I should get a fairly positive response.

  • I think Everything is ok except "Fake Passport". If you ask the provider honestly and by being honest you just lied to spam that will not be nice. Normally providers do believe their clients. (they should )

  • obakfahad, I don't think that makes much sense to be honest, no one who's spamming is going to ask permission to email, they'll just email and don't care of the consequences.

    My colleague sent a request to all the providers we're signed up with and glad to see that all responses were well considered.

  • raindog308raindog308 Administrator, Veteran

    said: Periodically they'll want to 'prune' the list for unreachable addresses.

    Why doesn't the email list software handle this?

    1. List tries to mail [email protected]
    2. Email bounces (perhaps a RCPT 550)
    3. List removes [email protected] from the list

    Continuing to email bad addresses and then periodically going to a third party and saying "review all our emails to see which are bad" sounds like solving the problem in the wrong place.

  • ricardoricardo Member
    edited February 2014

    The point of this process is to see whether a 550 is received or not. Not sure what you mean by "the email list software".

  • raindog308raindog308 Administrator, Veteran

    You said:

    said: Say I work with a number of small-mid-large sized businesses who have a list of email addresses for their customers. Periodically they'll want to 'prune' the list for unreachable addresses. They outsource this task to someone like me.

    I'm assuming these companies use some kind of automation to conduct their email marketing campaigns, as opposed to opening GMail and typing everyone's email address in the Bcc: line each time. They write up their monthly flyer or whatever and then say "mail automation software, send this to everyone on the list". I don't know the names of the major mail automation software packages but I'm sure there are many.

    Why can't that software remove emails that bounce?

    Alternatively, why does the sender care? Say I send out my monthly promotion to 1,000 people on my subscription list, and your email bounces. Either I'd configure my mailing software to remove your email, or I'd just ignore bounced email. It'd have to be a gargantuan list before I started caring about bounces.

    I guess I don't get what value your service provides...but I guess some businesses do since they pay you for it, so there must be some value.

    None of this is meant to criticize your service...I'm probably just overly curious :-)

  • Yes, you don't get it :o)

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