An Unhelpful Analysis

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There are numerous fundamental flaws in this essay--starting with the title. RBL is the name of a list published by the Mail Abuse Prevention Service (MAPS), and they claim that name as a service mark. The generally accepted name for such a list is DNSBL. Another problem is the essay suggests that open relays are the motivation and purpose for DNSBLs. While that's certainly a part of the spam problem, there is a lot more involved.

The largest problem with this essay is it chooses points of some of the more controversial DNSBLs, takes them out of context and applies them across-the-board to all DNSBLs. This problem becomes apparent if you review the essay's criticisms of DNSBLs and compare them to some of the least-controversial lists, such as the SBL or OPM.

Rather than condemning DNSBLs in broad strokes, we ought to instead look at the aspects of the available DNSBLs and try to understand, "What makes a good DNSBL? What makes a bad DNSBL?" For instance, I've written unfavorably about the way SPEWS is blocking Broadwing. It would be valuable to compare this against the way the SBL recently handled their (effective) block of Verio--which I did support. Unless somebody beats me to it, the comparison could be good fodder for a future blog entry.