Spamcop annoyances

At work I often have to deal with SpamCop reports. While I recognize that SpamCop provides a useful service for people who can’t be bothered to learn how to read mail headers, the way they handle these reports is so annoying that I’m often tempted to ignore them altogether. My main problem with them is that they insist on editing the headers of the mail that’s reported before sending it to us. Now logically, you’d think that SpamCop, being in this business and all, would understand that ISPs would prefer seeing the entire, unmunged header. But no.

In e-mail reports, they replace the e-mail address in the To: field with a single “x”. Any other occurrences of that address elsewhere in the headers or body of the e-mail are also replaced. So if the sender uses their own address in the To: field while putting everyone else in BCC: (a very common practice), their From: address is removed as well. This information is not vital to investigating the spam report, but it is often useful to know, especially when you want to sort or search reports by From: address.

That’s annoying, but tolerable. What I can’t stand is their handling of Usenet spam reports. There is no To: header on these of course, so instead they strip out the From: address of the post. And as if that isn’t enough, they replace a section of the Message-ID: with a string of underscores (eg, Message-ID: <>). At the very least, this causes me to have to take an extra step when starting to investigate the report, or in the worst cases, prevents my taking any action on it at all. There is no legitimate reason for this. None. Even digging around their web site for an explanation (which is no small task) yields no results.

SpamCop also maintains their own mail server blacklist where they list any server that spam is delivered through. These servers are automatically listed in this blacklist and they offer system administrators no way to remove themselves from this list.

From their FAQ:
If you have stopped the spam, you will be delisted automatically within one week. Please do not write asking to be delisted sooner unless you believe there is some error in SpamCop’s logic.

(insert obligatory joke about SpamCop’s logic here)

If people report your site as a source of spam, it will be listed. If people stop reporting your site as a source of spam, it will be de-listed after one week. The only way you can be removed from this list is to avoid users reporting your site as a source of spam
On the bright side, I’m sure no one actually uses this blacklist of theirs, especially since they want people to pay for it. People who want to block lots of legitimate mail can always use the SPEWS blacklist for free.