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We all hate 3 things on the internet. SPAM, Viruses, and hackers. Each of these elements are responsible for turning a very useful tool into something that terrifies even those of us whom work to embrace and expand the use of technologies on a daily basis.
Over the years there has been a lot of criticism of companies that work to help secure us from these threats. Companies such as Symantec provide "solutions" to help remove or reduce the risk of getting a virus (or worm), an inbox filled with SPAM, or hackers breaking into your computer. The industry that these massive companies are targeting is not small, it's billions of dollars per year of our dollars being shovelled into their coffers. We all know that companies like to protect their investments, so one has to wonder if these big companies are really out to fix the problem, or if they're purposely keeping the problem alive to stay in business?
Well, it's almost ridiculous to suggest they'll ever do anything to actually stop viruses, hackers, and spam from being rampant. If anyone in these big companies has come up with a solution to these problems, you can bet they've been nicely silenced. If the world was paying you millions of dollars each year to provide a service, and you realized a way to prevent the world from needing your service -- would you tell?
Some very interesting information about a specific company (Symantec) I'm having some difficulty with has emerged. First and foremost, as I am trying to work with some ISP's that use their "Brightmail" anti-spam software, I have come to realize that there appears to be absolutely no information listed anywhere on Symantec's website(s) about how companies affected by their blacklists can contact them to be removed. There's no contact information, there's no instructions, there's not lists of criteria, no information about how they put you on their lists, nothing at all. The only information you can find is the heavy marketing and user/administrator documentation.
I've spent dozens of hours searching their website, newsgroups and the internet, and talking to ISP's and have had no success in getting any information on how to work with them about being removed from their list. Further, there does not seem to be any way for us to actually look and see if we are on their blacklists and if so, why?
The most interesting tidbit of information came through today. If you are a company that uses Symantec Brightmail to filter email on your network (as in a paying customer), if you happen to be falsely listed in their blacklist, you have a recourse to be removed from the blacklist. Even the ISP contacts have no contact information or documentation that they can forward onto companies that contact them about being blocked. Simply stated, if you're not putting money in their pockets, they don't seem to care if you are affected by their actions.
I was put onto an interesting article that makes an interesting point about Symantec's angle:
Another site explains the battle with ISP's very well here:
While any small webhosting or ISP business owner can appreciate how difficult it is to keep up with all the technologies in use on the internet today, one of the biggest problems is dealing with these big companies that have no interest in working with the little guys. They make their big dollars with big companies buying big quantities of their big software. The big companies that buy their big software don't care any more than Symantec about the little companies that might get falsely blocked and have no recourse. When selecting an anti-spam solution, it seems no one is asking if the supplier is workin in an open and responsible way. They just want good stats that they can show to their bosses, so they can use the good stats in their marketing campaigns.
Yet again, I find myself wishing for a revolution in email. I firmly believe that there is a way to eliminate 99% of the junk mail from ever being sent, thus eliminating the need for anti-spam solutions. The problem is the same as always. Who's going to pay to develop the new generation of email server software, and who's going to get the big players on board?