Tag: dns


On Friday I talked a bit about the history behind TXT records, their uses and abuses. But what’s in a TXT record? How is it used? When and where should you use them? Here’s what you get if you query for the TXT records for from a unix or OS X command line with dig […]


A brief history of TXT Records

When the Domain Name System was designed thirty years ago the concept behind it was pretty simple. It’s mostly just a distributed database that lets you map hostname / query-type pairs to values. If you want to know the IP address of, you look up {, A} and get back a couple of IP addresses. […]

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PTR Records

PTR records are easy to over look and they have a significant impact on your ability to deliver mail without them.  Some ISP and mailbox providers will reject mail from IP addresses that do not have a PTR record created. PTR records are a type of DNS record that resolves an IP address to a […]

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4 things spammers do legitimate marketers don’t

I’ve never met a spammer that claims to be a spammer. Most that I’ve met claim to be legitimate marketers (or high volume email deployers). But there are things spammers do that I never expect to see a legitimate marketer doing. I’ve written about these things throughout the blog (tag: TWSD), but it’s probably time […]


Four things to check before your next mailing

Like many bits of technology, email is often set-and-forget. Everything is checked and rechecked during setup, and then no one goes back and looks at it again. But mail programs are not static, and people make changes. These changes don’t really break things, but over time they can create their own set of problems. Setting […]

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I can’t click through if you don’t exist

Recipients can’t click through if you don’t exist A tale of misconfigured DNS wrecking someone’s campaign. I got mail this morning from A Large Computer Supplier, asking me to fill in a survey about them. I had some feedback for them, mostly along the lines of “It’s been two decades since I bought anything other […]


Flush your DNS cache (again)

This time it appears that DNS for major websites, including the NY Times, has been compromised. Attackers put in DNS entries that redirected visitors to a malware site. The compromise has been fixed and the fake DNS entries corrected. However, people may still have the old data in their DNS caches and security experts are […]

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SPF Fail: too many DNS lookups

I’ve had a couple folks come to me recently for help troubleshooting SPF failures. The error messages said the SPF record was invalid, but by all checks it was valid. Eventually, we tracked the issue down to how many include files were in the SPF record. The SPF specification specifically limits the number of lookups […]


The death of IP based reputation

Back in the dark ages of email delivery the only thing that really mattered to get your email into the inbox was having a good IP reputation. If your IP sent good mail most of the time, then that mail got into the inbox and all was well with the world. All that mattered was […]


Weird mail problems today? Clear your DNS cache!

A number of sources are reporting this morning that there was a problem with some domains in the .com zone yesterday. These problems caused the DNS records of these domains to become corrupted. The records are now fixed. Some of the domains, however, had long TTLs. If a recursive resolver pulled the corrupted records, it […]

  • Lost in the mists of time

    Over on the Farsight Security blog Joe St. Sauver talks about some of the early days of online abuse, on usenet. Laura and I were on the periphery of early usenet abuse, mostly as users, but Usenet (and IRC) around then were the places we both started with email abuse.No Comments

  • Ongoing Yahoo delays

    I've been hearing from folks over the last few days that they're seeing an uptick in deferrals from Yahoo! The deferrals are not uniform. ESPs report they're seeing some, but not all, customers affected. Other ESPs aren't seeing any changes. It's not just you. But it would be very worthwhile to dig into engagement and other stats. It's possible this is a new normal at Yahoo! and they're tightening filters to catch mail that doesn't fit their standards but was previously difficult to filter.No Comments

  • AOL starts using Sender Score Certification

    Good news for Sender Score Certified IPs. Return Path recently announced that AOL has joined the list of ISPs offering preferential treatment to certified IPs.  1 Comment