RBL Working Group Ben Black
INTERNET DRAFT Layer 8 Networks
Expires May 1999
Best Practices for Being Permanently Added to the RBL
Status of this memo
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The Realtime Blackhole List (RBL) service from the Mail Abuse
Protection System (MAPS) is a completely free and voluntary system
for creating intentional network outages to limit the propogation
of unwanted, unsolicited, mass e-mail (SPAM). Many purveyors of
SPAM and SPAM-related services have had little trouble in getting
themselves added to the MAPS RBL, but certain providers of web
hosting services whose customers engage in SPAMMING have expressed
concern that at some point in the future they may be removed from
the MAPS RBL, exposing millions of innocent e-mail users to a
barrage of SPAM. This document offers a description of the best
current practices for guaranteeing that your company stays on the
Throughout this document, the words that are used to define the
significance of particular requirements are capitalized. These words
This word or the adjective "REQUIRED" means that the item is an
absolute requirement of this specification.
- "MUST NOT"
This phrase means that the item is an absolute prohibition of
This word or the adjective "RECOMMENDED" means that there may
exist valid reasons in particular circumstances to ignore this
item, but the full implications should be understood and the
case carefully weighed before choosing a different course.
- "SHOULD NOT"
This phrase means that there may exist valid reasons in
particular circumstances when the listed behavior is acceptable
or even useful, but the full implications should be understood
and the case carefully weighed before implementing any behavior
described with this label.
This word or the adjective "OPTIONAL" means that this item is
truly optional. One vendor may choose to include the item
because a particular marketplace requires it or because it
enhances the product, for example; another vendor may omit the
2. Best Practices
Although there are many successful methods for achieving a lifetime
membership in the RBL, the following have proven the simplest and most
2.1 Verbally Harassing the Maintainers of the RBL
The maintainers of the MAPS RBL are all volunteers with an interest in
making the Internet less of a haven for nefarious SPAM merchants.
This is a fundamental technique which SHOULD be attempted by ALL service
providers wishing to burn all possible bridges.
2.2 Sending SPAM Demanding Removal from the RBL
Nothing says "Blackhole me!" like sending an unwanted mass mailing to
potential subscribers of the MAPS RBL service. Service providers
in the market for a new line of work unrelated to the Internet MUST
SPAM as MANY other service providers as possible to maximize their
chances at a coveted RBL Blackhole Lifetime Membership.
2.3 Threatening Lawsuits
Even the most stalwart RBL maintainer may later have mercy later if
only the suggestions in Sections 2.1 and 2.2 are followed. To avoid
this eventuality, service providers SHOULD threaten to sue not only
the RBL maintainers, but also all RBL subscribers.
When responding to queries regarding the upcoming legal action,
providers MUST NOT resort to the use of logic and common sense. Hard
work definitely pays off in this area.
2.4 Proper CAPITALIZATION
One of the keys to a successful SPAM demand or threat is proper
capitalization. Unlike normal English usage, providers MUST randomly
capitalize ENTIRE words for no APPARENT REASON. E-mail which
follows this rule is certain to have a major impact on all readers.
3. Example of Advanced Techniques
This outstanding example illustrates a complete mastery of all the
tecniques listed above. The sender of this message is obviously
highly motivated in his quest to remain on the RBL until the end of
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