Apologies for the long absence

We’ve been active, but Atro has mostly been posting on LinkedIn. It’s somewhat easier than using the blog platform. But since we keep hearing it from you that new employees at ESPs are frequently advised to keep an eye on this blog by their more experienced colleagues, let’s try to make an effort here and justify that advice.

First third of 2021 in Spamtraps: ESPs

Once again, a trendline post. The percentages of ESP mail from all spam the traps saw was more or less 6.6% across the entire period, with slight variations.

Figure 1. ESP spam in Koli-Lõks OÜ spamtraps, January to April 2021
Figure 1. ESP spam in Koli-Lõks OÜ spamtraps, January to April 2021

The top contenders continue to remain all alone in their heights. Any interesting movements are occurring in the #5 to #15 slots.

Mailgun showed absolute growth in numbers across the entire period and finally surpassed OMC in April. From February on, this is due to a collections agency in the UK, it seems.

Epsilon’s trend is also consistently upward. DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc. is responsible for half of what they send to us.

Finally, Mailjet took a huge leap in April compared to the rest of the observation period. Interestingly enough, their worst customer is the same as that of Mailgun – a collection agency in the United Kingdom. Not only the same kind of, but actually the same domain names.

December 2020 in Spamtraps: ESPs

ESP Top Ten chart, December 2020
Figure 1. ESP spam in spamtraps, December 2020

Okay, so here’s the last post of 2020, a day or two late.

It really seems as if the SendGrid flood that there was during the autumn is over. There’s still a lot of mail, and some of it is still stuff that no ESP customer should be sending, but the numbers are more or less back to normal, which is nice.

0All others33.9%259 ESPs identified
1Salesforce Marketing Cloud15.6%Marcus & Millichap (3.5%)
2SendGrid13.8%Uber (7.0%)
3Mailchimp8.7%Spamtrap bias showingAkcióbazár (<1%)
4Amazon SES6.3%Netflix (4.9%)
5Oracle Marketing Cloud4.2%harborfreight.com (3.7%)
6Adobe Campaign3.9%Pandora (49%)
7SendinBlue3.0%sneakyaffiliate.com (10%)
8Epsilon>2.9%DICK’S Sporting Goods (40%)
9CheetahMail<2.9%Talbots (7.7%)
10Mailgun2.7%Vumedi.com (3.3%)
Table 1. Top 10 ESPs in our spamtraps, December 2020,
with their shares of the total and most prominent customers

We’ve done something strange, or spammers have done something strange, I don’t know. The proportion of ESP spam to all spam we’ve seen keeps growing. The numbers remain more or less the same, while the total goes down, so I guess either the botnets are spewing less, or we’re ignoring them better. The percentage of ESP spam to all was a whopping 8.1% this month.

Then there’s the relative badness.

ESP badness, December 2020
Figure 2. Relative badness of ESPs in our spamtraps, December 2020

As always, the “relative badness” figure is obtained by dividing the total number of messages sent to us by an ESP by the apparent number of its customers participating in it.

The biggest customers in the badness chart are DICK’S Sporting Goods for Epsilon (almost 40% of Epsilon’s total catch in our traps); the Republican party (over 70% of what Pulsepoint sent); Costco (over a third of what we got from WhatCounts) and Pandora, which amounted to almost half of the Adobe contribution.

That’s all, folks! Happy New Year, may it be less interesting in the Chinese sense than the one we just left behind.

June 2020 in Spamtraps: ESPs

Figure 1. Top 10 ESPs in our spamtraps, June 2020
Read more…

2019-11 to 2020-04 in Spamtraps: ESPs

ESP stats in our spamtraps over the past half year
Read more…


Unfortunately we’re not going to be able to attend the #emailexpert Inbox Expo in London in the upcoming March ourselves, but that won’t stop us from giving the summit and its chief protagonist Andrew Bonar some free advertising here on Mainsleaze. We’ve collaborated with him at least since his times at Emailvision and have watched the progress from email service provider abuse desk to deliverability expert to all-around email industry icon with great pleasure and we’re delighted to be able to help spread the word about this event.

  • Wed Mar 18 to Thu Mar 19, 2020
  • London, United Kingdom
  • Science Gallery, London Bridge
  • Tickets £890 (fees included)

I’ll happily wear a tee but I would do this for you, Andrew, even without one 😉 Cheers, Atro

Q4/2018+1 in Spamtraps: ESPs

October 2018 to January 2019

Another case of “didn’t get a round tuit for some time”

ESP spam seen in spamtraps, October 2018 to January 2019

Another couple of months have passed by so quickly and I only just found I had even completed the October report but forgotten to release it…

The percentages of ESP spam in the traps were, respectively, 3.0%, 3.4%, 3.0% and 2.8% during this period.

Ediware disappeared back into the void it had come from after the Oct 24 disaster. All other operations on the list are household names.

Salesforce keep increasing their lead over the competition.

I am pleased to see that SendGrid made Advisor Perspectives disappear after the very beginning of November. Nobody could guess what explains the simultaneous rise in Zeta Interactive’s spam output, from relative obscurity (#28 in October) to #11 in November and the Top Ten in December-January.

Looking forward to seeing you all in San Francisco in a few weeks!

On The Forensic Capabilities of LeadForensics

The study of forensics refers to scientific tests or techniques used in connection with the detection of crime. It is an odd choice of name for what I think is a data seller, especially one whose targeting seems poor enough to be spamming me. They claim to want to help me generate more leads for my website, but my website doesn’t sell anything. I do not really need any leads.

They are sending from IP address, which appears to be an email platform called Message Focus or Adestra.

From what I can tell, the only forensic capability this entity has shown me is that they seem to buy B2B spam leads, which is very disappointing.

The Four Horsemen of Finnish Spam

If you sent Finnish B2B spam recently…

  • Your spam is illegal if it does not identify the sender (Section 15 of the Business Information Act, 244/2001).
  • Your spam is illegal if it does not identify the spam list (Section 25 of the Personal Data Act, 523/1999).
  • Your spam list is illegal because it contains outdated and erroneous personal information (Section 9 of the Personal Data Act). If you bought a list, you can’t avoid this.
  • Your spamming is illegal because you hit natural persons with no business context (Section 200 of the Information Society Code, 917/2014). If you bought a list, it contains outdated and erroneous personal information and you can’t avoid this.

Bonus item:

  • If you own a product or a service and bought a spam campaign from somebody else, you are responsible for failures regarding the above even if you’ve never seen the materials.

Marriage made in Hell: Emaileri and Suomen Asiakastieto

It was reported in Finnish news about a week ago that Suomen Asiakastieto Oyj has purchased Emaileri. Apparently this is important enough to be reported elsewhere, such as in Financial Times.

Read more…

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