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sychen

Serious Problem With My Email

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I don't have any success with the Tech Support, so this seems to be the last place to ask for help.

 

I have email problem with one of my customers fot a long time. The first time happened about few months back. People of the company suddenly could not send/receive any email to/from me. After checking, Tech Support told me that, when receiving email, my server will send a call back or something to the sender. Because this sender had a different IP for its sending and responding source, so the email was blocked.

 

However from my understanding this was kind of common for many organization/institute/goverment agent. This is a very big company and one of my important customers, so I just can not ask them to chanage their IT practice. The IT on both sides insisted that they are right. I almost lost that customer.

 

Finally someone suggested me to change a server, and I did. And the problem was resolved.

 

And then, suddenly again, few days again, my customer could not send email to me. The tech support of TCH said my cilent's server did not accept blank call back, and that is the problem. And again, tech support insists they won't change the practice.

 

Is there a way I can get around with this ? This is a very very big company, and I believe they deals with millions of emails everyday. From my understanding I am the only one has this problem with their email. With both sides insisting on their practice, it's like forcing me to change my hosting company.

 

I have been with TCH for quite a few years, and I really liked it. I even recommend to my friends. But I am really very frustrated now.

 

Anyone knows what I should do ?

 

Regards

S-Y. Chen

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Hi sychen,

 

Let me try and explain what's going on.

 

When our servers receive an email, they will check the senders email address and send a callback to the sending server to check and see if the users email address actually exists. The reason we do this is to help cut down on spam. In this case the senders email server was not verifying the email address actually exists and so the email was being rejected. In some cases the sending server does not wait long enough for the check to complete. Most of the time this is an issue with the sending servers configuration. It is not RFC compliant. Hence why we suggested that you talk to your clients IT admin folk, and simply request that they change their servers to be compliant. They will find many other email systems do exactly the same checks and so you will not be the only person who can not receive their email.

 

We used to accept all email, whatever the source, on our server. However with the growth in spam we can no longer do that. Originally we did move you to a server which did not do any checks - hence it was OK for a while. With the steady increase in spam though, we do need to put some checks in place, hence the tech was correct, it's not a practice we are going to change.

 

If it's only one domain name, it should be possible to whitelist that domain name (and hence stop the checks for that domain name, for your server). That is the only other alternative I can suggest.

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If this is a silly question just say so and move on. Wouldn't it be easier on the servers to just accept the emails than to send a call-back, check the reply, validate or invalidate the email, (bounce a message?) ? It seems that you are placing a great strain on the servers to eliminate a few emails. Does this method work if they spam from a legit email address? I suspect that's why they are using all our email domains as the froms and why we get the "You spammed me" messages... but again, I could be totally off on this.

 

As for how to solve this, I'd recommend using a hosted email service, like Gmail, which will accept emails to your domain name and send out emails from your domain name but instead of being on the server here at TCH it is Gmail's server and their rules. Many companies are starting to use it. For something like 25 emails you can get a free account... but they also have a pay version for more serious uses.

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Hi Deverill,

 

If this is a silly question just say so and move on. Wouldn't it be easier on the servers to just accept the emails than to send a call-back, check the reply, validate or invalidate the email, (bounce a message?) ?

 

It's not a silly question at all.

 

We aren't placing strain on the servers by doing this, because both SMTP and DNS maintain caches to avoid redundant queries, and the overhead of a relatively simple check is not as bad as an inbound spam attack. It has the real advantage that it reduces the amount of spam that we all get of course (and hence less mail for spam assassin to read through, and decide if it's spam or not).

 

Does this method work if they spam from a legit email address?

 

The callback check would not block the email if it was from a legitimate email address, no.

 

I suspect that's why they are using all our email domains as the froms and why we get the "You spammed me" messages... but again, I could be totally off on this.

They prefer to use valid addresses - but often use random ones, which is another very good reason to set your default for unrouted email to :fail:

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Since this new system has started, I have noticed a major decrease in the amount of spam I receive. What used to be up-wards of 100 a day is now down to around 20 or so maybe less.

 

I had to delete my main email address I used and use another one because of the amount of spam I got, up-wards of several hundred a day if not up to 500 at times. Really started to annoy me.

 

But this seems to work.

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I really want to accept anything that can resolve my problem. For example, let me set up my own white list. However, where can I do that ? I remeber last time I suggested that too but all I got all the way was "no". I escaluated my problem several times to some managers or something, and I always felt I was hitting the wall.

 

When I say this is a big company, this is really big. This is one of my major customers, which provides 30% of my revenue this year. Confronting their IT to change their practice, is just like calling up GE's IT department, and ask them to solve your email problem -- I believe you get the point now. But, I still did that -- confronting their IT and trying to resolve the problem. As usually, they say, no, that's your problem.

 

I have done my part and I hope TCH can do something too.

 

 

Last time I know one university in US and one university in Japan had the same problem with this company too. But, both schools just had to change their practice.

 

So, I think there is still no solution now. Maybe someone can kindly tell me how can I make a "white list" out of this chaos ?

 

Regards

S-Y. Chen

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You will need to open a ticket at the help desk, and give us the domain name, and ask us to whitelist it for callback.

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