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Is abuse.net a blacklist of abusive domains or providers?

Abuse.net is not a blacklist, blocking list, or anything of the sort, and has nothing to do with blocking or rejecting mail. If someone or something told you that abuse.net was blocking your mail, you've been misinformed.

Listing a domain in the abuse.net database does not imply that the domain has ever done anything abusive. The majority of the entries in the abuse.net database of domain contacts were submitted voluntarily by responsible providers and domain managers. You can't conclude anything about the fact that a domain appears in the list other than that we have some idea of who the contact is.

Where do I complain?

Most abusive mail has forged return address information, so the To:, From:, and Reply-To: addresses are not the actual source of the message. You'll need to adjust your mail program to show you the header information on the mail, and look at the first few Received: lines in each message to tell where the message actually came from.

Some analysis and reporting tools can help do that, although there's no substitute for experience in looking at mail.

Supporting abuse.net  arrows
Where to report spam and other abuse
If you want to report abusive behavior, you need to report it to the system where the abuse originated. DO NOT SEND ABUSE REPORTS TO ABUSE.NET. The abuse.net system helps you find the addresses of people who can do something about abusive activity. It's not a blacklist, nor is it a spam analysis service.

It's up to you to determine who should get your complaint.

If you're complaining about junk e-mail, the From: header on spam is almost always forged, so you need to look at other header information to figure out who's responsible. See Where do I complain? on the left.

Use this web page or a lookup tool (see below) to find our suggested contacts for a domain responsible for abusive mail, and send them a spam report. For many domains the contact is postmaster@domain-name, for some it's abuse@domain-name, for some it's something else. Some particularly unpleasant domains ignore all their mail; when we're aware of that we use the address for their next-level-up provider.

When we don't know anything about the domain, by default we suggest postmaster at that domain and all suffixes of that domain, so if you sent mail to a.b.com@abuse.net, we'd suggest postmaster@a.b.com and postmaster@b.com.

Not being omniscient, we don't know about every domain on the net. You can check our current list. If you have contact information for a domain not in the database, see How do I submit contact information for a domain?

Tips for reporting abusive usenet or e-mail messages

  • You can't just remail or bounce the abusive message; anything you send should be from you, with your real return e-mail address. Use your mailer's Forward command, and add a line or two explaining why you find it abusive, e.g. ``This is unsolicited commercial e-mail. Please make your user who is sending it stop.''
  • Include a copy of the entire abusive message, including all of the header lines, particularly the "Received:" lines. (Many mail programs including Outlook Express, Pine and Eudora don't show or send all the headers unless you specifically tell them to.) If the message is very long, you can cut off the message in the middle, so long as you're sure you're sending all the headers.
  • Be polite and to the point. Don't include a lecture on why spam is bad, providers already know and it just wastes time they could spend acting on your complaint.
  • If you get an unsatisfactory response or no response from the responsible party, you can contact (again politely) the party's upstream Internet provider.
  • Don't make any threats unless you intend to carry them out. In particular, don't cite 47 USC 227 unless you plan to file the test case that conclusively proves that the junk fax law doesn't apply to e-mail.

How Can I use the abuse.net database ?

There are two ways to query the database directly. You can use the web look-up page to see what addresses abuse.net would send mail to, the new DNS based service at contacts.abuse.net, or else use the WHOIS server at whois.abuse.net.
(Note: DNS and WHOIS are not web pages or web sites. The only abuse.net web site is this one www.abuse.net.)