SORBS - anyone else think this is extortion ?

We were recently added to SORBS blocklist, by some company we've never heard of.
According to SORBS it was a manual submission, and our spam count is "1".

After going through their site, it appears the easy way to get delisted is to "donate" to Joey McNicol Legal Defense Fund.

This fund was setup to defend against people filing lasuits on SORBS or it's affiliates for unwarranted blacklisting of email domains.  It seems this "trust" which was settled for $2.00, is basically a funnel of money for SORBS and it's affiliates LAWYERS !

The more they get sued, the more money they are able to tap from this fund !

It seems like a no brainer that they would allow people to manually sumit anyone they choose, increasing the chances of more's a nice racket they got going on.

We are not on any other blocklist, and i've found hundreds of forums where others have the same exact problem with SORBS.

I've instructed all of our business units and partners not to use SORBS, or they will not be able to send or recieve e-mail to our company.  If I pay the $50 bucks, what's to say it won't just happen again and again and again !???

Our company has nothing to do with e-mail, and we don't do "mass mailings" or commercial email of any sort.

We refuse to be extorted.

I realize this is mostly a "rant", however I felt I should ask this question to bring awareness to the way that one of the most popular spam block services operates.

If you agree that this is extortion then don't use SORBS....because it could happen to you too whether you use it or not.
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Ron MalmsteadInformation Services ManagerAsked:
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
I agrre that having to pay is extortion - but are you sure the only reason is that a single company complained about you?
Can you have a read through my Blacklist FAQ and check your house is in order: 

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Ron MalmsteadInformation Services ManagerAuthor Commented:
YES,, i'm positive because SORBS admins sent me an e-mail stating this.

See below....
The subject they listed, isn't even found anywhere on my server logs !
I think THEY listed me, in order to get me to pay money.

Spam has been sent to a SORBS spamtrap which is located at .

The spam count is 1. Removal Instructions at Headers below...

- Manual Submission -
Received: from [] (
      by with esmtp (Exim 4.69)
      (envelope-from <spamtrap>)
      id 1LJloE-0005I9-7H
      for spamtrap; Mon, 05 Jan 2009 09:31:42 +0000
To: <spamtrap>
Subject: Everybody is talking about this

My Firewall is even tighter !

My house is definitely in order.

Check this out....
Ron MalmsteadInformation Services ManagerAuthor Commented:
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Ron MalmsteadInformation Services ManagerAuthor Commented:
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Sure seems to be a liitle underhand.
Can you please email me directly your IP Address (details at the bottom of my profile), so that I can take a look for myself at your problem and see if I can come up with some other answer other than pay up.
I fully appeciate you may not want to do this, but I guarantee you that I will keep the IP private.
My reaction was similar to yours when one of my clients was listed by SORBS and reading their blurb.  You can however get delisted from SORBS by simply filling out a form (regardless of what they say to the contrary), and that is all I did to get delisted - apart from fixing the underlying problem which in my client's case was a Reverse DNS issue.  

Your case looks different: sending to a Spamtrap.  

On your Router, have you blocked ALL outgoing activity on Port 25 except from the mail server?  (I note that point was listed in alanhardisty's link),

All SMTP traffic can positively be attributed to your mail server?  (which rules out an SMTP engine hidden on the mail server as a generator)

The IP address that maps to the offending org address is not found in your mail server logs? (ruling out any relaying which has somehow slipped through the mail server's authentication processes).  

Then there is the NDR problem.  Some spammer sends an email to you with the Spamtrap address as the From field.  Would your mail server ignore that?  Would it test the address for validity (which may trigger the SORBS detection)?
Ron MalmsteadInformation Services ManagerAuthor Commented:
My server is secure,...i'm not a noob guys.  Reverse dns is good...and only my exchange server can send mail, no relays internal or external allowed, I have no viruses, I dont' even allow clients to use the internet except for a handful of sites.

Like I said... I was manually sumitted by some company i've never heard of...(per Joey in Western Australia - SORBS), and my spam count is 1.... so for this i'm blacklisted ?!!!

Joey in Western Australia emailed me back and arrogantly posted the link to the "removal instructions"... that proclaims I owe a fine of 50 dollars.  So how am I supposed to take that ?

btw- the form doesn't even work for some reason.  On the front page it proclaims they are having "minor issues".  Everytime I try it, it says the e-mail is invalid.

-SORBS has moved between data centers, unfortunately there were some minor issues with the new datacentre, and the legacy configuration of SORBS equipment. As such the outage lasted more than 48 hours. The routing and firewall issues are now resolved and most of the SORBS central services have been restored.

An announcement will be made regarding the purchase of SORBS in the near future. Please be patient.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Michelle Sullivan -
Its pure extortion. They are doing the same thing to us and we are not getting any response from them. SORBS are a disgrace to the internet community.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
You don't have to pay to get de-listed - you can wait a week and automatically get de-listed.

After all, it is not their fault you were sending out spam.  They just report the fact and after a suitable amount of time when no more receipts are made, they clear you off the list and all returns to normal.

What would be extortion is to charge you to get de-listed fullstop.  The fact that it happens automatically after 7 days is just to allow time for the problem to be cleared up and resolved.
Ron MalmsteadInformation Services ManagerAuthor Commented:
alanhardisty: ....maybe you have no problem with your email's not working for 7 days, but I have a business to run here.

"After all, it is not their fault you were sending out spam" - that's about a jack@.s.s comment if I ever heard one...  READ THE THREAD before you post...

Ron MalmsteadInformation Services ManagerAuthor Commented:
...wish I could take back your points just for that comment.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
I have been the victim of authenticated attacks and it is not pretty but they are just trying to help the world reduce the amount of spam.
Yes it can be a problem, but if you can't send out mail directly because of blacklisting, then you can always create a new SMTP connector and send via your ISP which should help ease the problem.
Sorry - forgot that you were reported for spamming, not actually sending spam : (
Ron MalmsteadInformation Services ManagerAuthor Commented:
My beef with SORBS is that they allow manual submissions without verification.

Whose doing the submission ?...probably an affiliate of SORBS !...

It's like owning a tire shop, and tossing nails on the highway.....
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Not sure about the manual submissions.  Never come across that before.
You could be right, but then you could easily have a user who you email that decided to report you for spamming rather than unsubscribing.
After 1 week we received this response from SORBS

"it appears that your IP may have been listed in error, due to a small and brief bug in the system. I am going to de-list this IP immediately"

We had to take 1 SMTP connector offline for 1 week which impacted business due to this error. Some of us have better things to do than go through emergency change control procedures to create workarounds due to "Brief Bugs"
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Oh - that's a lovely kick in the teeth!  At least you know you were not reported, which is small consolation I suppose.
Ron MalmsteadInformation Services ManagerAuthor Commented:
"it appears that your IP may have been listed in error"...

Sounds like BS to me...

Probably their new policy now... to just list people at random, and see who is dumb enough to pay money to get delisted, and if someone complains then they just say..."it appears that your IP may have been listed in error".

SORBS is a scam company...period.
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