Analysis of the Spamcop Blocking List

Our users have reported many problems with the SpamCop Blocking List (SpamCop BL) over the last year. I decided to analyse this system, and discovered many flaws. I have released a paper, Why the SpamCop Blocking List is harmful, which has also been posted at Declan McCullagh’s Politech.

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Advanced addressing features

We have added two new features for virtual domain and alias users:

  1. Own-domain users can put a ‘*’ in the alias target; this is replaced with the username the message was originally sent to
  2. You can set an alias target to ‘user+something@domain’. Then if you get sent an email to ‘alias+foo@domain’, the final recipient will be ‘’. That is, the two ‘plus parts’ are combined to allowing delivery to a subfolder

These advanced features are documented in the FAQ, and discussed on the forum.

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Spamcop block

Spamcop were blocking our emails – we don’t really know why, since they did not email us any complaints, and their issue database doesn’t show any recent reports. Anyway, we’re routing mail through a different server so the problem is now resolved. Further details about Spamcop in this earlier post .

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Session cookies temporarily disabled

Due to some issues that have been raised over the last couple of days with session cookies, they’ve temporarily been disabled and we’ve gone back to always putting the session id in the URL.

We now know the cause of most of the problems, and will implement some fixes over the next couple of days, and install a new implementation on the weekend that should fix these problems.

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If you logged into the web using Secure Login in the last 24 hours, you would have noticed that your browser redirected to ‘’. This is the name of the secure server that we now use – it is just a change of name, and does not have any impact on the service. However, we have now adjusted the system to show ‘’ as the server name as occured previous, following feedback from users that the change of name was somewhat disconcerting.

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Scheduled outage today

There will be a scheduled outage today at 22:30 EST. You can see this time in your local time zone by clicking here and finding your nearest city.

This outage will be for half an hour, and is required for a software upgrade. Mail will queued during this time and will be delivered as soon the upgrade is complete.

Update by jeremy: This maintenance has been completed successfully.

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