Blocklists, delisting and extortion
As I’m sure many of you have heard by now there is a new blocklist called ‘nszones.’ This blocklist is apparently stealing data from a number of other publicly accessible blocklists, combining the data and then charging folks for delisting.
This is a scam attempting to extort money from people. The blocklist has no way to actually remove IPs from the parent zones and I’m pretty sure they won’t even remove IPs from their own zones. In this case, the blocklist is clearly a scam, but there are other lists that are actually used by some mailservers that do charge for removal.
No legitimate blocklist will ever expect a listee to pay for delisting. Ever.
I feel very strongly about this. In fact, one of the major blocklists is run off a domain owned by Word to the Wise. Occasionally, I get contacted by folks looking for help with a listing on that list and I will not take them on as a client. I will provide general advice and make sure that they are correctly contacting the blocklist but nothing more.
This is, to my mind, the only ethical thing to do. I don’t even want a hint of impropriety surrounding either myself or the blocklist. Charging money for delisting only feeds the conspiracy theories.
Charging listees for removal (or listing listees so those charges can be a revenue source) is likely to lead to poor quality data and a blocklist that’s not terribly accurate nor effective. Furthermore, if a list operator is unethical or confrontational in their interactions with listees, they’re probably equally unprofessional in their interactions with potential list users. This results in few recipient domains actually using the list to block mail. Lists that charge are not widely used and being listed on them often does not affect email delivery in any appreciable manner.