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AT&T Sending Issues


Monday, March 2nd, 2020 - General

Over the past month or so, we’ve had a few users on a few different servers. Our attempts to resolve these issues with AT&T have fallen on deaf ears and we unfortunately appear to have reached an impasse.

What is happening?
AT&T’s mail server are blocking messages from a couple of our servers. In that block message we are advised to write to them at abuse_rbl@abuse-att.net but the issue is – nobody is responding to messages sent to abuse_rbl@abuse-att.net – which means there’s no resolution happening.

We have attempted to contact AT&T through other means and they all direct us back to abuse_rbl@abuse-att.net for resolution on this. Which again, just kind of puts us going through a circle.

One contact we had with AT&T said that the IP addresses were not blocked by AT&T. When we showed the evidence to the contrary, again they directed us to abuse_rbl@abuse-att.net.

Why is AT&T not responding?
This is really a question that you’d have to ask AT&T. The general idea is that AT&T is such a large company that they believe they do not have to adhere to all of the governance that controls the Internet. They believe that they don’t have to have a reason to block an IP address. They believe that they don’t have to respond to every request for delisting. They assume that they are large enough that there’s really nothing we or other small business hosting companies can do to make them comply.

To be fair to AT&T one of the issues probably has to do with just how large the AT&T company is. Having never worked at AT&T I really can’t speak for how they do things internally, but I would suspect that they have a list of IPs that are suppose to be blocked and they hand that list out to their techs. But the issue is that the list of IPs that their mail server is actually blocking and the IPs on the list that is being distributed out to their techs are two different things. Something has gotten out of synch with their system. The techs that are doing the talking and communicating don’t actually have access to see what the mail server is blocking, they can only go with the information they have in their list. The frustrating part, however, is that its seemingly impossible to open a dialog with someone at AT&T that can actually review the list that the actual mail servers are blocking.

Is the AMS server sending spam?
Again, this would ultimately require information from AT&T to prove that the server is sending out spam. But you should know that we have several measures in place to monitor all of our servers for spam activities. In the particular cases of IP being blocked by AT&T, these same IPs are not listed on any public facing realtime blacklist. If a server is sending out rampant spam, in all of my time of doing this, then those IPs wind up on public facing realtime spam blacklists. That does not appear to be the case here.

What can I do if I’m affected by this?
The best thing you can do is have your friends or contacts that use AT&T for email contact AT&T themselves and ask about this. Have them ask why nobody is responding to messages sent to abuse_rbl@abuse-att.net. Have them ask AT&T for another email address we can use to contact AT&T regarding this issue. We’ll gladly work with AT&T to get this issue resolved, but we’re going to need an email address with someone at AT&T that will be willing to look into this issue.

We are sorry for the inconvenience this may cause. But we really do not believe we have done anything wrong. We don’t believe the IPs are sending out spam and when AT&T is unwilling to communicate with us regarding these issues, that essentially ties our hands.

If you know of users that use AT&T for their own email, I would probably encourage those individuals to consider using a different email service provider for their email service. Right now it just does not appear that AT&T holds their email users in a high regard.


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