... Or, Why was my email blocked? ...

Spam and Kempt.net

You may be visiting this page because you received a bounce message indicating that your mail had been refused. If that's the case, see the section How do I get myself unblocked?, below.

If you have come here looking for information about the Kempt.net DNSBL, then you should look at the Kempt.net DNSBL page.

The Kempt.net Spam policy

Spam is not tolerated at Kempt.net. We're using the term Spam to refer to unsolicited email of a commercial nature or any mail with forged headers. It's that simple.

Kempt.net users may not send spam using Kempt.net systems. Fortunately, this has never been a problem, since the type of users who use Kempt.net are not the type who would ever send spam.

Any site that sends spam to any Kempt.net user or machine will be immediately blocked. This includes originators of spam as well as open relays that forward spam from other sites. If you send a spam message to a Kempt.net user, you will not be able to send a spam message to us again for some time. You will also find your site blocked by other mail systems, as well.

Note that the Kempt.net network services a number of domains, and users within these domains are considered Kempt.net users in this document.

Why is spam bad?

In case there's any doubt, please read this description of some of the many problems with spam.

The Kempt.net black list

As a result, Kempt.net employs several methods to detect incoming spam and block the sending site. The rationale here is that the sending site is either an originator of spam or a spam zombie, and we want to have no further contact with them, or the site is an open mail relay, in which case the administrators of the site need to correct the problem in order to comply with the long-standing practices of Internet mail systems. Open relays are sites that can be (and are) hijacked by spammers to do the work of sending spam messages to unlimited numbers of recipient sites, shielding the spammer in the process. Spam zombies are increasingly the transmitters of spam on the Internet, and generally work the same way. The difference is that the spam zombies are just someone's home or work computers, generally running Windows, that the spammers have compromised, taking control and installing their own malware (malicious software) that sends the spam. This is done without any knowledge on the part of the legitimate owner of the compromised computer.

Our spam detection system relies on the way in which the messages are sent, rather than on the content of the mail messages, so we do not run as much risk of misidentifying a legitimate message as spam. The spammers, open relays, and zombies that we detect this are added to a DNS Black List. If you are interested in using the Kempt.net black list, please see the Kempt.net DNSBL page.

How do I get myself unblocked?

First, we should point out that the Kempt.net DNSBL is simply a black list; it does not block anything. It merely lists hosts that have been sources of spam. Mail administrators at a number of sites (including Kempt.net) use this list to help make decisions about what messages to reject, tag, or deliver. That said, you won't want to be listed in the black list.

If you are a normal Internet mail user and you have received a bounce message informing you that your mail was blocked and referring you to this page, then you should contact your Internet Service Provider. The cause is almost certainly that their mail server is misconfigured or infected by spam malware, or that you or another one of their customers have a compromised computer that has become a spam zombie. You will likely want to provide your ISP the bounce message you received, or at least give them the URL of this web page.

If you are a site administrator, and a mail server under your control appears in this black list, then you should examine your mail server to make sure it hasn't been infected by malware. (This appears to be the most common cause for hosts to appear on our list: they are running Windows and end up becoming spam zombies.) If it has not, verify that it is not an open relay. (This is not so common today, but it's a relatively easy thing to check.) If it is not, then one of your users has sent spam through your mail server. We should be able to locate the messages that triggered the listing to help you correct the problem.

If your host was misconfigured and you have fixed it, or if you have taken measures to prevent spam from being originated at your site, then your host will be automatically removed from the list. Do not ask us to remove your host from the list without taking any action. Even if removed, your host would simply end up listed again very shortly, anyway, and for a longer period.

If you wish to discuss the problem, you should send email to bl-remove@kempt.net. Include the IP address of the host listed in the bounce message and the times and sender email addresses (envelope From return path) of any messages you know to have been blocked.

Please note that a message that includes neither an explanation of what you have done to prevent future spam from being sent by your server nor a request for more information on your server's appearance on this list will almost certainly be ignored. In particular, "We are not spammers" is insufficient grounds to for immediate removal; determining why you appear on the list is required. In general, if your server appears on this list, then you have a problem that needs to be fixed.