Founded in 1998, SpamCop is one of the oldest Domain Name System-based Blackhole Lists (DNSBL) on the web. This spam blocking service allows web administrators to block emails from IP addresses with a history of sending spam content.
What Is SpamCop?
SpamCop is a web-based email service for reporting and blocking spam. Users can file spam complaints with its reporting feature. Its blocking service can then block IP addresses that users have reported.
Marketers and email management teams can regularly check the SpamCop Blocking List (SCBL). They can opt to block IP addresses on the list to prevent spam and other potentially harmful threats. Once blocked, any incoming emails from these IP addresses will no longer reach their inboxes.
What Is the SpamCop Blacklist?
The SpamCop Blocking List (SCBL) contains a list of sites that send spam content. Through automated reports and user submissions, the system can automatically add IP addresses to its blacklist. It can also automatically remove senders from the list once spam reports stop.
Multiple recipients can wrongfully mark legitimate mail as spam. The sender can end up on the blacklist because of misidentification. Thus, instead of blocking mail outright, SpamCop encourages its users to divert and tag email messages. It also encourages users to maintain a list of wanted email senders.
SpamCop will keep IP addresses on the blacklist based on the number and the timing of spam reports. If, after 24 hours, there are no new reports, SpamCop will automatically remove the IP addresses from the blacklist. But if there are new reports, SpamCop will keep the IP addresses on the blacklist.
How Does SpamCop Work?
SpamCop uses two methods to identify IP addresses that are sending spam content: spam traps and spam reports.
- Spam traps
SpamCop utilizes spam traps to gauge the IP reputation of senders. A spam trap is a fraud management tool that allows blacklist providers to identify spammers. It entails the use of non-existent email addresses to identify spam.
If a user sends an email to one of the SpamCop spam trap addresses, SpamCop will add the sender to the blacklist. Since SpamCop never used these email addresses to subscribe to newsletters or order online, SpamCop can determine that the sender harvested the email address for his mailing list.
- User-reported spam
SpamCop takes spam reports from its users. SpamCop forwards the reports to its blocking service, which automatically updates its blacklist.
User-reported spam can cause a sender’s server to end up on the SCBL. Multiple users have to mark an email as spam for the sender to end up on the blacklist. SpamCop will determine the source of the unsolicited email and report it to the appropriate internet service providers.
The system, however, will not check the email to verify if it’s spam or not. It is solely up to the reporting user to determine if it’s spam.
The Pros of SpamCop
SpamCop has two main functions—reporting and blocking spam emails—but it has a few other advantages. Here are some of them:
- Email delivery pre-filter
You can use a SpamCop email as a public email address. It can shield a personal email address from the public and minimize cybersecurity risks. It can also filter spam without blocking wanted emails.
Users can have the ISP forward mails to the SpamCop email, where it filters messages. They can open their mail from SpamCop’s website.
- Notifies internet service providers
SpamCop can alert ISPs, web hosts, and email providers about suspicious accounts, allowing them to act accordingly and prevent spam operations. It can send spam reports to third-party services as well, particularly the ones in the same business of preventing spam.
The Cons of SpamCop
SpamCop has its limitations. Here are some of its disadvantages:
- Open proxy
SpamCop is wary of open proxies because spammers often use them to send spam emails. Even if users have good intentions, SpamCop could still add them to the blacklist if they use such services.
- Shared IP addresses
Organizations that use shared IPs will share the sender reputation with others. If a party sends unsolicited emails and gets reported by users, it affects other parties. Their emails will end up getting blocked too.