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Comcast Blocks Yet Another ISPs E-Mail 401

Posted by kdawson
from the i-can't-heeeeear-youuuu dept.
Nom du Keyboard writes, "Last week Comcast shutdown e-mail forwarding from NameZero entirely. People who have bought private domain names (i.e. yourname@yourdomain.com) and have e-mail forwarding to their current Comcast e-mail account through NameZero aren't receiving it any longer. No warnings — no e-mail. Now, again without warning, they've blocked out The Well, one of the oldest ISPs on the net. And nobody can get through to the Comcast people in charge of this to discuss the issue with them. Not the ISPs being blocked. Not the customers who pay Comcast to deliver e-mail to them. Comcast says they're protecting 10M customers from spam. I am a current Comcast broadband customer and I feel I should have the right to whitelist and receive e-mail from whomever I designate. I don't want as much protection as Comcast is giving me. Is it a basic right to be allowed to receive e-mail from whomever I desire, or does Comcast have the right to censor as they wish?" Last week Comcast was also blocking mail from alum.mit.edu. I (probably among many others) left a complaint on the phone line identified in bounce messages; the block was eventually lifted.
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Comcast Blocks Yet Another ISPs E-Mail

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  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:14PM (#16018064)


    Mr. Anonymous sez:
    I am a current Comcast broadband customer...


    Not to be snarky, but there's your problem right there.

    Hopefully, you have some sort of alternative broadband provider. I humbly suggest you show Comcast what you think of them with your dollars and avail yourself of one of the alternatives.

    I myself put up with Comcast's antics for quite a while (longer than I intended, actually):
    When I first resolved to switch to WOW, I waited all day for the installer, who was a no-show. When I called to complain, I was told that the installer had in fact shown up, and I was the no-show. I knew this was a lie since not only was I in the house the entire day, the installer failed to tag the door as a no-show (you cable installers out there know what I'm talking about). I was so incensed by this that I cancelled my order, and remained with Comcast for another three whole months. But, eventually, I was forced to switch, after Comcast upped its rates yet again, and tried to make me pay for a service call to replace one of their defective converters.

    I'm with WOW now, and I haven't looked back. Service is far superior, and I'm paying $40 less per month. Ditch Comcast...you'll feel better.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FictionPimp (712802)
      I would switch, but I can not find a alternative in my area. I live too far for DSL, and nothing else compares in speed. I guess they own my service.
      • by hodet (620484) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:30PM (#16018190)
        If email is so important to you then why not purchase email service from another provider? I have an account with Simplicato. for $2/month I get IMAP access and 25Mb storage (and ten email forward addresses to my main one). You can purchase more if needed but this is tonnes of space for what I do. I couldn't imagine ever using my ISP email address for anything. Of course you need to register your own domain but big deal.
        • by dolson (634094) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:32PM (#16018217) Homepage Journal
          There's also free services, like gmail, yahoo, hotmail, etc.
          • by AdamWeeden (678591) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:47PM (#16018360) Homepage
            I agree, and would add, that I've NEVER used an email address I've had with an ISP, and would not reccomend it to anyone. I like to keep my options open. Good thing too, because in the past 5 years I've had 3 unique ISPs and 5 different accounts. (Time Warner -> Verizon -> College network -> Verizon -> Time Warner)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by gid13 (620803)
          Heh. I wish there was a "+1 stating the obvious that everyone else seemed to miss".

          Personally I can't come up with a good reason to EVER use an ISP's e-mail address unless you're a total newb or an idiot that requires their tech support to explain how to use e-mail. I can see using their outgoing mail server, but that's a different story altogether. People, wake up: the main reason ISPs provide e-mail addresses is to make it more annoying for you to leave their service.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by GreyPoopon (411036)

          If email is so important to you then why not purchase email service from another provider?

          Word to the wise: Never rely on your ISP for your email. It is so cheap today to own a domain and get e-mail only hosting that this is what you should always do. That way, if you are unhappy with your hosting provider, you can always change. If you are unhappy with your Internet connection, or if you have to move, you don't have to notify everyone about a new email address.

          In this particular case, I think it would

    • In my area, I don't have an alternative broadband provider. Comcast is the only cable company in my county. None of the phone companies in the area will offer DSL to my house since it's too far from the end office. And fiber is being rolled out currently, but my neighborhood is not on the list. My only alternative is HughesNet, which is pretty much a non-option. I wish I could vote with my dollars, but I like my internets too much.
    • by Pontiac (135778) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:27PM (#16018171) Homepage
      Yet another guy here who had the same experence with Comcast installers.
      I saw the comcast guy pull up so I go to the door but he ran upstairs to another apartment..
      I'm thinking ok he'll stop by when he's done up there.

      Nope.. 5 min later the van was gone..
      I called comcast and they said I wasn't home.. ARGH!!
      I finally got them to come back 3 days later and a free install..

      Then to top it off, the install was on my bill the next month then a credit the month after..
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by trogdor8667 (817114)
        At least they credited you back for the install. When the rep came over, he didn't even hook anything up. He dropped the equipment at my door. I got charged for 3 outlet installs (over $100). Then, to top it all off, one of the boxes was DOA. When they came to replace it, they told me my TV was bad. I simply took the box to their office the next week and had it replaced there, and lo and behold, it worked again!

        But as far as the charges, they've charged me 3 times my normal rate every other month since thi
    • I am a current Comcast broadband customer...

      Hopefully, you have some sort of alternative broadband provider. I humbly suggest you show Comcast what you think of them with your dollars and avail yourself of one of the alternatives.

      We don't all have a choice in who we get broadband from. My ISP is Earthlink but it's through Time Warner, now Comcast. I had wanted dsl but I don't think it's available where I live. A few weeks back I got a form letter from Comcast saying about how their looking forewa

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by revery (456516)
      m with WOW now, and I haven't looked back. Service is far superior, and I'm paying $40 less per month. Ditch Comcast...you'll feel better.

      OHMYGOSH!!!! World of Warcraft provides broadband now?!?!?! How do I switch to them? Please, please, please give me the phone number!!!!! If I sign up will they let me into the Burning Crusade Beta? That would be so sweet. I have sent Blizzard like a million emails explaining to them how totally awesome of a PVP'er that I am, and how great of a contribution I would make t
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Not to be snarky, but there's your problem right there.
      Hopefully, you have some sort of alternative broadband provider.

      Dear Mr. Snarky,

      Don't you think if I had a good, other alternative that I would have just gone to them instead of complaining to Slashdot. I don't have a good alternative. My other ISP, AT&T, pulled exactly the same crap a few months ago and that's why I left them. This is the problem with a monopoly. I'm 27,000 feet from the Qwest CO, and until someone magically drops a DSLAM

    • ...then listen to my story. Comcast didn't raise my rates, they put a debt on my credit score when they owed me money.

      I had recently cancelled Comcast, and checking through my bank records I found that I had paid them for an extra month. I called up, gave my old account number, and said that I overpaid and would like a refund. They rattled off some number that was only about half of what I paid, but I didn't want to deal with the hastle of pushing the issue and accepted it. Soon thereafter, I moved, complet
  • Say What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MECC (8478) * on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:16PM (#16018085)
    they're protecting 10M customers from spam

    I'm all for blocking spam, but this doesn't sound like a way to reduce spam - it sounds like runaway stupidity. Spamcop makes a lot more sense. Maybe they do that already, and it wasen't enough.

    They may want to adjust that "10M customers" figure in the near future.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by MECC (8478) *
      I normally wouldn't respond to my own comment, but in the spirit of 'slashback', I just now got spam from comcast, promising to show me how to 'enhance' parts of my life. Off to spamcop they go...

    • by Frymaster (171343)
      I'm all for blocking spam

      who isn't? the real question here, though, is are you all for your isp blocking spam for you... without your consent, approval or even, apparently, notification.

      letting isp's make decisions for their customers' "own good" is a dangerous path to start on.

      • by MECC (8478) *
        letting isp's make decisions for their customers' "own good" is a dangerous path to start on.

        True enough. I do think participating in spamcop blocking lists is good idea though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by gid13 (620803)
        While you are correct, it is also a dangerous path if ISPs DON'T make decisions for their customers' own good. One example that I think most will agree is a very good thing is not being an open relay, requiring customers to authenticate on outgoing mail, and enforcing limits on them. Sure there are legitimate uses that are impaired by this, but overall I'd be upset with ISPs that didn't do this.
      • The 'net users who are experiencing Comcast's silly blocking of email from perfectly mainstream ISPs are getting a taste of what the Internet will be like if Net Neutrality laws are not passed immediately.

        For all we know, Comcast is just fed up with people who are getting their 'net access from a less powerful competitor. They are saying "Sign up with us or this is what happens". Do you know who's the biggest ISP in the area that is served by The Well? Comcast, that's who.

        An Internet without Net Neutrali
    • by arth1 (260657)

      I'm all for blocking spam, but this doesn't sound like a way to reduce spam - it sounds like runaway stupidity. Spamcop makes a lot more sense. Maybe they do that already, and it wasen't enough.

      I have cable through Comcast, and DSL through a different provider. The Comcast maildrop receives plenty more spam than the maildrop at the other provider, despite Comcast blocking so many different things that the service is near unusable. If they run anything like Spamcop or Spamassassin, it must be configured

    • I gather both NameZero and alum.mit.edu are services for redirecting e-mail?

      I've found e-mail redirection to be a huge problem with spam reporting when the users reporting spam don't understand how reporting works. In particular, a lot of people out there using spamcop don't set up any Mailhost configurations [spamcop.net] even when they're forwarding/redirecting mail across domains. This means users end up reporting their own ISPs in cases where that ISP is the last verifiable hop in the Received: headers before the a

    • Re:Say What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amuro98 (461673) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:54PM (#16018416)
      Protecting their customers from spam?

      What about protecting the rest of us from spam being sent through zombie hosts on their network!?

      I read an article about a year ago that said that over 60% of the mail leaving Comcast's network was spam, Comcast knew it, but said the problem was "too expensive" for them to fix.

      I think they need to turn their spam filters around the other way. Block all outgoing mail. That'll fix the spam problem!
    • ...doesn't sound like a way to reduce spam - it sounds like runaway stupidity.

      I don't think they are trying to block spam, I think they are trying to increase their bandwidth by reducing traffic. And, the traffic they are reducing is LIKELY spam but they don't know/care. If someone complains, such as alum.mit, they will unblock.

      The spam spin is for PR purposes.

      I do not have any evidence for this but I still think it the most likely scenario.

    • by frisket (149522)
      Comcast regularly blocks email from my ISP (digiweb.ie) which is a pain as I have a number of contacts with Comcast addresses. On two occasions I got DigiWeb to contact Comcast to get the block unset, but I've given up now and I use another SMTP server for mail to those addresses.

      Maybe there had indeed been spam sent out through DigiWeb (although I'd probably have heard of it from the local net.community -- more likely it was a collateral attack) but Comcast's attitude appears to be hopelessly indiscrimina

  • by creimer (824291) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:17PM (#16018089) Homepage
    Thank God I don't have them anymore. One time it took two weeks to convince them to send a technician out since they told me the problem was on my end and not the street. Turns out that the last technician who worked on the street box installed the part backwards. Go figure.
  • by jkabbe (631234) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:19PM (#16018103)
    Is there some way to find out who a specific ISP is blocking at any given time? I am thinking specifically of Comcast (since it affects me), but if there is a general repository of this information it would be nice to know about also.
    • by dthree (458263)
      I was wondering the same thing. I have comcast for email and I expected blocked emails to show up in the "Screened Mail" folder of their web mail client. But I never see anything in there. I have to assume that a number of emails are being blocked before it even gets to their user level "Spam Filter". Even when I turn it off, I don't see any spam in my inbox, plus there are a couple domains that I can't get email from at all, but I don't know 100% that it is due to comcast's filter. Is the user level "Spam
  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:19PM (#16018105)
    Is it a basic right to be allowed to receive e-mail from whomever I desire --


    No.

    e-mail is not a 'right'.

    You are free to terminate your service contract with Comcast and stop paying them, of course.
    • FYI (Score:5, Interesting)

      by spiritraveller (641174) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:27PM (#16018173)
      A contract is an agreement whereby two parties exchange consideration. One party's consideration might be a promise to pay money now or in the future. The other party's consideration might be a promise to provide a service, such as email.

      When you form a contract with another party, you earn a "right" to receive the consideration from them that you bargained for.

      Amazingly enough, courts will actually enforce this right. I'll be around in case you need any more corrections of your obviously wrong assumptions. Thank you.
      • by jfengel (409917)
        In which case it's up to the contract to determine whether email delivery is guaranteed or not. Betcha it isn't. In fact, I suspect that the contract promises just about squat with respect to delivery of email, and probably has a specific exception for stuff that they think is spam.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by XenoPhage (242134)
        A contract is an agreement whereby two parties exchange consideration. One party's consideration might be a promise to pay money now or in the future. The other party's consideration might be a promise to provide a service, such as email.

        Unfortunately, most contracts with an ISP are merely to provide you with access to the ISP's systems. They own the systems, they decide what happens. On top of the "contract" (which is usually just a verbal agreement rather than a written document), they also require that
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Fastolfe (1470)
        You do not have the "right" to receive whatever performance the contract requires of the other parties you have contracted with. All parties of a contract have the right to breach that contract at any time for any reason.

        Of course, if you suffered harm (economic or otherwise) because they breached the contract, you can sue them for those damages, because you relied on their contracted promise, and they breached that contract, but if your only harm was not getting an e-mail from your grandma, the judge is g
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by poot_rootbeer (188613)
        When you form a contract with another party, you earn a "right" to receive the consideration from them that you bargained for.

        You typically earn the right to receive that consideration for a fixed period of time, not indefinitely.

        If one party becomes unable or unwilling to provide that consideration, the resolution is usually to free both parties from the contract as per its dissolution terms. It is rare for a party to be FORCED to continue providing consideration unwillingly, beyond the contractual term (
    • Is it spelled out in the contract that they will block some traffic addressed to you?
  • on basic rights (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nuzak (959558)
    Is it a basic right to be allowed to receive e-mail from whomever I desire

    No. Next question?
  • by Ambush Commander (871525) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:21PM (#16018125)
    I have a feeling [dreamhoststatus.com] that it's a lot more than just two ISPs.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:21PM (#16018127) Homepage
    Ever since spam became a major nuisance, every of the ISP's I've used have instituted spam-blocking... and the nature of the block will vary from time to time, and they never tell you exactly what they're doing or what's being blocked or what you should do about it. Most of the time it's fairly reasonable, but I've suffered numerous multi-day "outages" during which overzealous spam filtering blocked messages from friends. Since the chances of learning about a blocked message is very small unless it's someone you're in regular non-email contact with, I'll bet that there have been a hundred valid messages blocked for every one that I know about.

    What I don't understand is why ISP's can't send me an email every few days listing the subject lines and senders of everything they've blocked, with a link to click on to retrieve the blocked messages.
    • They can't send you a list of "blocked" messages, because they probably don't HAVE the messages in the first place.

      Most of the really effective anti-spam systems rely on "blackhole" lists (like Spamhaus), and greylisting. Both of which simply drop the message before it is even delivered to your inbox.

      I work for an ISP, and the spam problem is so bad that if you have to block a non-trivial amount of legitimate mail in order to block a HUGE amount of spam, then that's a more than fair trade-off. There is simp
      • by Angostura (703910) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @04:06PM (#16018528)
        I work for an ISP, and the spam problem is so bad that if you have to block a non-trivial amount of legitimate mail in order to block a HUGE amount of spam, then that's a more than fair trade-off.


        I am absolutely sure that a large proportion of your customers would vehemently disagree with you. Recieving junk mail is an annoyance. Not receiving non-trivial amounts of potential important legitimate mail is a show-stopper.

        I take it you give your customers the ability to opt in and out of your shonky anti-spam system?
    • by Vellmont (569020) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:33PM (#16018230)

      What I don't understand is why ISP's can't send me an email every few days listing the subject lines and senders of everything they've blocked, with a link to click on to retrieve the blocked messages


      Because ISPs don't block IP blocks because they're trying to protect you from spam. They block IP blocks because they're trying to reduce the load on their incoming mail server (and save costs). Implementing a system that tags spam and sends you subject lines would cost money.

      The real problem is that email is seen as a loss leader. Everyone expects an ISP to provide email, but they can't charge really anything for it as it's become a commodity. Thus many ISPs try to chince out and provide the bare minimum service. Basically if you want good email service sign up with a service that only does email. I run my own mail server, but I've had good luck with fastmail.fm. Let the ISP provide internet connectivity only and let someone that knows how to do email provide email service.
    • Sometimes, this happens simply because ISPs are making use of automated blacklists downloaded nightly (or at least regularly) from the net.

      The blacklists are good, but not perfect - and it can be really difficult to get your domain removed from one once it's mistakenly put there.

      For example, my workplace started having problems with customers reporting their emails to us were getting bounced back as undeliverable. It turned out it was because the consulting firm that sells us our T1 line and spam filtering
    • by Babbster (107076)
      The real question to me is why this kind of domain filtering happens at the ISP level. It's one thing to have good contextual filters but filtering domains, especially ones that are by in large legitimate, seems draconian. My ISP uses SpamAssassin to identify spam, tags e-mails as such, and sends a message through to me which tells me what has been filtered (and why), offering me a chance to view the message anyway if I so choose. It's not perfect, of course, but I don't think any spam filter can be perf
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by naelurec (552384)
      ISP's attempt to block spam before the spam arrives in their network. If they can block it (ie a specific mail server is a known spam source, so block the IP via a realtime blacklist) this reduces the bandwidth to receive the message, the cpu cycles to do a spam/virus scan and the resources to store the message.

      For my private company mail servers, they end up averaging about 60%-80% of all incoming mail is SPAM. I'd expect with larger ISPs, such as AOL and Comcast, this ratio is even worse -- perhaps 4 spam
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tsm_sf (545316)
      There's an incredibly simple solution to this, and it seems to me that smaller shops (the type where the sysadmins call the sysadmin shots) are heading in this direction:

      Email is never blocked, but simply cleaned and labeled.

      - If it contains some sort of known malware, that file is quarantined before sending on the email.
      - If it's "obviously" spam, then *******SPAM******* is prepended to the subject.
      - If an html link appears to be a phishing attempt (tagged url doesn't match href url
    • They're a forwarding service rather than an ISP, and they have an enlightened spam block system that tells you what it's blocked and lets you allow things through. They're been outstandingly reliable about delivery, as well.
  • COMCast (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stormcoder (564750) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:22PM (#16018136) Homepage Journal
    I am a comcast subscriber (get over it. It's my only choice.) and as with all my past ISP's I've found their email service to be poor so I do the intelligent thing and use an email service that doesn't suck. That is why there are so many out there, lots of competition makes for good service. Go out and choose one.
  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:24PM (#16018148)
    Is says that Comcast has blocked FORWARDING from the Well.

    Williams said The WELL applies spam filters to e-mail that its members receive at their accounts on The WELL. But the organization doesn't see its role as sifting through e-mails that are merely transiting the site, in part because of the risk of deleting e-mail that a member may want to receive.
    • My ISP SBC/Yahoo's spam filtering sucks so utterly that I would find it pointless to forward mail FROM somewhere to my SBC/Yahoo account. No email sent to my SBC/Yahoo account is ever read. Apparently Comcast's spam filtering is run by morons too, so why bother to forward TO your ISP?

      My mail gets forwarded via Godaddy to Gmail. Godaddy does a halfway decent job filtering out most of the junk and Gmail handles the rest. The idea being to forward TO the agent with the most effective spam filtering.

      The Well ha
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by kirun (658684)
        Currently, my Yahoo Mail inbox, an account on every spam-list in the known universe (being old enough to go to school), has 23 junk messages, versus 2,218 caught and put in the junk folder. I'd call a 1% failure rate on a bulk filter pretty good. I suspect they must be using a weaker filter for accounts where there isn't a bulk folder to collect the odd false positive.
  • by dieman (4814)
    Find someone else to run your e-mail. pobox.com, for example, is fairly cheap. I run my own mail on a colo box and choose my own spam 'rules'.
    • I use webmail.us since they let me host domains elsewhere, http elsewhere and just forward the MX details on to their servers. Not had any problems yet but only been using them for 3 months. They have all the standard smtp/pop/imap/web access too.
  • Dreamhost (my hosting provider) is having the same problem. Check out the excellent summary of the situation in this blog entry [dreamhoststatus.com].
  • I've been slowly blocking out Comcast's virus-infected customers using iptables. I receive spam, analyze it to find the IP address of where it came from, whois that IP address, and then simply block the CIDR address covering that range of users. Lately most of the spam I've been receiving is from Comcast IPs along with other large cable companies (RoadRunner, Adelphia, Cogent, Sprint, etc), and I'm very happy with the resulting reduced load on that machine.

    Thanks spammers! You've helped me build a very e
  • Completely uninformed guess based on absolutely no fact: that epicenter of smugness known as The WELL is too cybercool to block some moldy "netizen"'s Information Wants To Be Free open SMTP server.

    (Speaking of smugness, could one of you irritating grammar dorks tell me whether the possesive apostrophe in ""netizen"'s" goes inside or outside the closing scare quote?)

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by TheGreek (2403)
      (Speaking of smugness, could one of you irritating grammar dorks tell me whether the possesive apostrophe in ""netizen"'s" goes inside or outside the closing scare quote?)
      It goes inside, along with the S.
      • by Otter (3800)
        I think you're right.

        As with putting the closing quotation mark outside all other punctuation, the correct convention seems illogical when you're used to math or source code.

        • >the correct convention seems illogical when you're used to math or source code.

          Or if you want to be consistent with the principle of not changing the content of direct quotes. Adding punctuation can change meaning. There's a school of thought you can find in British style manuals that allows doing things the honest and correct way.
    • by smbarbour (893880)
      The quotes would surround the entire word (since adding "'s" to a word forms the possessive form of the word except with "its")

      Therefore the correct sentence would be:
      Completely uninformed guess based on absolutely no fact: that epicenter of smugness known as The WELL is too cybercool to block some moldy "netizen's" Information Wants To Be Free open SMTP server.

      Happy to oblige (even though they say, "Don't feed the trolls").
  • Your Rights (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brunes69 (86786) <slashdot&keirstead,org> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:32PM (#16018211) Homepage

    Is it a basic right to be allowed to receive e-mail from whomever I desire, or does Comcast have the right to censor as they wish?"

    Comcast has the right to do whatever the fuck they want with their own network, as long as it is within the TOS contract you signed (which it probably was since it likely said they can change it at will with little to no notice). Also, you as a consumer have the right to ditch Comcast for any other ISP you want (assuming again you weren't locked into a TOS contract). Welcome to capitalism.

    What you say? You have no other options for high speed in your area, or you have to keep your @comcast.com email address since it is not portable? Welcome to monopolies.

    • by geekoid (135745)
      No TOS is binding until a court says it is.

      They may not have the right to do that any more then power companies have the right to disallow other power companies from using 'there' grid.

    • >Comcast has the right to do whatever the fuck they want with their own network

      A. Business interference is a tort.
      B. Comcast charges money for delivering email. Charging for a service and not providing it is a tort.
      C. Comcast's "right" was not at issue.
      D. Discussion doesn't end if you establish a "right". I may have a right to promote cigarette consumption but it would still be a contemptible action.
      E. Refusing to answer questions from customers is an act worthy of public discussion.
      F. This affects peopl
  • by apl73 (306355) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:32PM (#16018219)
    I live out in the woods, too far for DSL, and comcast has the only wires capable of broadband (unless I want to get a T1 from Verizon).

    But, Earthlink (which doesn't suck mostly :-) will provide your ISP services in place of comcast. So, my email isn't being filtered by comcast. BTW, since I only have broadband service, I'm paying something like $42/month (I own my own cable modem). The billing is all handled by comcast; but I have an earthlink IP address and name service.

    The only problem's I've encountered were when Comcast "forgot" and (I assume) caused the DHCP server to give me a comcast IP address instead of a Earthlink one. Then, I couldn't connect to the earthlink email server...

    BTW, I also have an alum.mit.edu email address that is set to forward to my
    earthlink address; AFAIK, there were no bounces or glitches.
  • Comcast black listed IEEE accounts [ieee.org] as well for a while. Morons.
  • Like others, I'm on Comcast cable, and I don't really have a choice for another broadband provider.

    My question is this:

    What geek (or even normal user) actually uses the email address that the ISP gives them? If I have to change providers and then change my email address, too, that's a ton of work. Why not just have separate entities for Internet access and email service? This really doesn't affect me, since I use Gmail.

    • Geeks, about 1%. Normal users--99%.

      My father-in-law has a small DSL provider in another state and I literally got a domain name and setup a site for him so he could receive email like this: his_first_name@his_last_name.com. I totally scored on getting the domain name to be his last name. However, he uses his grke1956@heme.net as his email address. Can't get him to change even though I offered to set everything up. Normal users just have the mindset: I need to use the email they give me.
      • Okay, in a forum about spam, you post the email address of a guy who doesn't know much about computers.

        Was that so he would get flooded with spam and give up the account? Or is that "email addresses have been changed to protect the innocent"?

        You're right about the normal users though. Hard to deal with.
  • This is just another blacklisting implementing the flavor of the day. This "flavor of the day" is now blacklisting not the origin of the spam but the last server/ISP/hop of the spam to the recipients.

    Spamcop starting doing this a while back in their list. They, now, ban you not if you sent the spam but if the spam was forwarded from you or was the result of an autoresponder (spamcop therefore has said you should not use any autoresponders at all--"you should have a co-worker answer your email when you are
  • While critism of comcast's current antics are certainly warrented, as an ISP they have provided the most reliable and high bandwidth service in my area, out doing AT&T's t1s as far as reliability ( with a sample of 2 years ).

    Sure, they are also damned expensive ( at 50-60 bucks a month ), but there is no reasonable alternative otherwise. AT&T/sbc/mabell doesn't count as reasonable.
  • by cephyn (461066) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:47PM (#16018366) Homepage
    My dad just got his first email address (i know, i know) with yahoo mail, and excitedly emailed his brother, a comcast member. Bounce.
    Comcast is blocking a whole range of yahoo IP addresses. I've emailed them three times asking them to open up the whole block, but they won't do it, they'll only open up each IP i send them individually.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:47PM (#16018367) Homepage
    and with net neutrality issues. If they are not blocking it for a bonafide technical problem like DDoS or spam, they lose their common carrier status until everything is resolved to perfect legality. Then, let the lawsuits and prosecutions of the ISP commence in the mean time.

    That will teach them to play king maker.
  • by fretlessjazz (975926) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:49PM (#16018379)
    As the sysadmin of an outfit who provides email news letters for sports teams and leagues, the blockheaded nature of "spam control" major ISPs implement these days is quite frustrating. On a daily basis, we deal with Subscriber Subset A who decide they no longer like their hometown's minor league baseball team and click the "This is Spam" button in their pretty little ISP-GUI inboxes (AOL, *cough*). This, in turn, causes ISPs to freak and rate limit us until the cows come home. Meanwhile, Subscriber Subset B missed last nights game and is irate that they did not receive the Game Notes and Box Score. While we are dealing with our clients complaints, the ISP has already contacted our upstream provider who is now threatening to unplug not only our SMTP box, but our entire WWW pool.

    And, hell if I'm going to pay GoodMail for beans. Sigh...
  • I run a small web host and one of our users complained about their mail no longer forwarding last week. I contacted comcast at the address provided in the bounces and got a response within half an hour.

    From: abuse-noreply@comcast.net
    Date: August 22, 2006 12:10:25 PM EDT
    Subject: Comcast.net Blacklist Removal Response

    Please do not reply to this message.

    This is to notify you that your request for removal from the
    comcast.net blocklist has been received.

    The following IPs were found within your request. Below eac
  • by Crashmarik (635988) on Thursday August 31, 2006 @03:58PM (#16018443)
    I used to be a comcast subscriber.

    They have a unique way of dealing with their customers.

    One day after I got home from work and wanted to check the news I found my internet was down. This was upsetting as my phones were going through the cable modem and I had recently gotten vongo. I didn't think it too out of the ordinary their reliability wasn't great. I got out the cell phone and started calling customer support. Half an hour later I managed to get that there was positively no technical problems in my area. 20 Minutes and 2 supervisors later I found out my account was blocked. In order to do anything to fix my account I had to call the abuse dept. Aptly named that it was, the abuse dept abuses you. Calling them got me a tape recording telling me to leave a message and they would get back to me in one to 3 days. A day later I get a call from them. The abuse people, tell me I have been using the service too much. This was based on the average use in my area. No mention was made of this when I had it installed, nor in the advertising when I bought their "Always on service". Anyway I was told my account would be back in half an hour and I should curb my usage. Oddly enough my account didn't come back.

    The following is not moral or ethical but it was immensely enjoyable. I called direct tv and had them install a system with a tivo at the earliest. I let comcast run up their bill to the max and when the direct tv was installed I took comcasts equipment down to the recycling center.

    Comcast treats its customers like crap. They do so because they have a monopoly. If you can attend a Public service meeting town council or whatever your municipality uses to call them to task.
  • Anyone else start getting a banner ad at the bottom of their channel guide with Comcast digital cable? As of Tuesday night, I now have lost about a fifth of the screen, an entire channel row, to a big ugly ad. It's even better that the ad changes every time I page up or page down.....gahhhhh.
  • A Precedent Solution (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DynaSoar (714234) * on Thursday August 31, 2006 @04:07PM (#16018545) Journal
    Google up what you can find on the old Usenet Death Penalty.
    Get the affected ISP's admins, and who ever is sympathetic to their cause, and black hole * from Comcast.
    Don't just do it, tell them you're doing it, and tell the press. When the press gets word that an ISP is being shunned as a bad neighbor, they climb all over it.

    It took a dozen people issuing cancels for all messages originating from UUNet, and 3 people talking to the press about it, 4 days to force Worldcom to change their corporate policy with regards to their downstream customers' behavior. I'll always treasure the 10 minute fabulously obscene rant I got from John Sidgemore over it. Nor will I forget his VP and cheif scientist literally crying on the phone asking us to lift it. Sidgemore must have been a bitch to work for.

    That was a 4.5 G$ US company. They live on their profit and loss statements, and how those affect their stock prices. Those stock prices are extremely sensitive to loud blasts of bad news.
  • The issue with The Well has already been taken care of [seclists.org].
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by omega9 (138280)
      By the way, the referenced story was written yesterday, but the actuall event happened three years ago .

      Fucking editors.
  • On comcast - no one at home uses their email anyway. Its surprising that they blocked alum.mit.edu even for a while. Any ideas on why?

    I'm surprised this is so much of a problem - how many people are going to be affected by this. At home all of us use the university email. I don't even use the comcast smtp since our department offers it. I've got Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail and rediffmail. All of the above let you see what they've marked as spam atleast and you can whitelist it. They really ought to give you that
  • by John the Kiwi (653757) <(moc.iwikehtnhoj) (ta) (iwik)> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @04:16PM (#16018656) Homepage
    Browsing through the comments I'm thinking people are missing the bigger picture here.

    I know that Roadrunner blocks email from all of the static IP addresses from my local cable provider without even sending anyone a message, poof - the email just disappears into the ether without so much as a by your leave.

    Maybe Comcast has crappy service and/or incompetant technicians but what they are doing amounts to the regulation of free speech. If we all just accept this then how can we trust that we are getting all of the email that is destined for our mailboxes? If we can't trust that all email sent to us through our ISP is getting to us then how can anyone depend on email at all? We might as well go back to using the telephone or physically meeting with people. And I hate dealing with people.

    Is it possible that Comcast could be limiting our freedom to associate with whomever we want? I mean, I trust my phone company, I know they wouldn't limit my ability to call other people or give away all of my calling details to say the government despite it being a federal offense or expressly against my wishes. Maybe someone has asked Comcast to just stop emails from certain domains, like nytimes.com or truthout.org, iraq.com or nasa.com. Would we really know?

    Can anyone here really tell me that an email they didn't know they were getting didn't get to their inbox? Maybe this has been happening for a while now? Maybe I'm a crazy conspiracy theorist, but if someone was censoring what email gets to people's inboxes wouldn't you think this was how it would start?

    Yeah, I'm sure it's Comcast's incompetence and not a freedom of speech thing. Anyone seen where I left my shiny new hat?

    JtK
  • If you think blocking providers without any notification is bad, check this [gmane.org] out.

    Here's a brief rundown of the story:

    • Guy notices his phones aren't working
    • Guy calls in Comcast to get phones fixed
    • Comcast line tech digs up a buried cable
    • Comcast line tech chops the aforementioned cable into little tiny bits
    • Comcast line tech marches into the house and hurls abuse at the guy's wife

    I have to admit, destroying someone's property, then screaming at his wife.. that's a good one. Obviously the tech was too mu

  • Like others, I run my own mail server and have never used my comcast email account. Frack, I don't even know what my "username" is since I use them solely for connectivity... a situation that can cause interesting problems when I need to make a service call.

    Besides unannounced blacklists, there are several other reasons to use third-party mail hosting, if not running your own mail server.

    1) ISPs can change headers at will. Specifically, they could replace your outgoing "myname@mydomain.com" with "mycomcas
  • I have a couple of clients forwarding their incoming email to their GoDaddy hosted domains, because of them doing this our server constantly gets listed in their "Attacking Hosts" blacklist. I've finally given up dealing with GoDaddy after at least 6 attempts to get it lifted, having it lifted and then being right back on in a couple of days. Now I just recommend the clients not use GoDaddy to forward email to as I cannot guarantee email arrives there and won't waste my resources continually asking GoDaddy
  • It's COMCASTIC! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maggard (5579) <michael@michaelmaggard.com> on Thursday August 31, 2006 @04:30PM (#16018825) Homepage Journal

    The problem isn't what Comcast does, it's what they don't do: Provide humans.

    Every try reaching someone with any authority at Comcast? It's impossible.

    Not difficult: Impossible.

    I'm beginning to suspect Comcast some sort of outsourced Vogon corporation and their offices are full of large green lumbering creatures, and anyone human is simply a hired shill, I mean, lobbyist.

    Want to test? Try calling and asking a support monkey for the address of their ntp server(s). Not "nntp" (they have that in their keyword scripts), not usenet news, rather ntp as in time. It's a whose-on-first comedy routine trying to convince them that ntp != nntp and when you do, they escalate it, say someone will call you back, and nobody does. Ever.

    That's a trivial geeky example but emblematic.

    Every aspect of Comcast: Front line without power, whose only recourse is to ditch and run, and no second level. Nobody accountable, nobody responsable, just useless monkeys.

    Heck, for two years after Comcast bought out ATT BI my net address from Comcast resolved to "maggard.ne.attbi.net". Who to call to get this updated? Nobody knew. Ever. Utter clulessness, absolute uselessness. Eventually my vanity setting went away entirely with nobody to talk to about reinstating it under comcast.net (so much for an easy VPN address!)

    Email routing problems: Nobody to report to. False spam blocking: No recourse. Wonky DNS servers: Tough luck.

    If anyone ever does get a phone number of a bipedal hominid at Comcast, with some degree of authority, please post it!

    In the meantime the next time Comcasts license comes up in this town I'll be there recounting my stories with them, the outtages, blocked ports, the service people who never show up, the email problems, their own spam, etc. Oh, and 2 weeks ago Verizon ran fiber to my property line. At least I'll have a choice of scoundrels now - who it worse, the cable company or the phone company?

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