Mailing List SIMS@mail.stalker.com Message #7197
From: Homes Magazine Webmaster <webmaster@homes-magazine.com>
Subject: Re: unknown loop
Date: Wed, 22 Nov 2000 10:29:40 -0800
To: <SIMS@mail.stalker.com>
X-Mailer: Mailsmith 1.1.6 (Bluto)
On 11/21/00, Chris <mythtech@mac.com> wrote:

> >Creative use of wildcards in the router can go a long way toward
> >obviating any need for using an Unknown account.
>
> Please... do tell!
>
> I THINK I am stuck on using unknown for a two reasons.
>
> 1) We assign email addresses for jobs that we do (Market Research). In
> many cases, these jobs run one or two days, and by the time the paper
> work filters to me, the job is over, so it is too late to put in the
> email addresses. (don't suggest that they reverse the process and come to
> me to GET an email address, I have been trying to get them to do that for
> 2 years now!)

For each person and/or group who run such jobs, set up some predetermined
prefix for any and all e-mail addresses that they might create. The prefix
should be short and simple so that it won't be hard to use, it should not be
specific to any one particular job, and it should not change from job to job.
That way, you don't need to know about specific jobs before the fact. Tell the
market research people that as long as they use their assigned prefix, they
can make the rest of the address anything they want or need. But they _must_
use the same prefix for _any_ address they create for such jobs. Make it clear
to them that mail to addresses without proper prefixes will be lost. Once you
convince your people to use their assigned prefix(es), implementation in SIMS
is simple. If a particular research group has been assigned a prefix, say
'prefix-', all you need in your SIMS router is:

<prefix-*> = collection_account

where 'collection_account' is the account where you want all mail for that
prefix to be delivered. So whoever gets the mail from collection_account will
get all messages sent to any address that starts with 'prefix-'. Note that
this has an advantage over using an 'unknown' account in that, based on the
prefix, you can route messages to more than one destination account.

> 2) revolves around #1, we might assign an email address that is something
> like a drug name. Well, even the doctors and pharmacists screw up the
> spelling or many drugs. Unfortunatly, a lost email response could mean a
> loss of a $200+ billable doctor (we may get paid upwards and beyond $200
> for each doctor we get to do our survey). So for the cost, it isn't worth
> the risk of the doctor misspelling the email address.
>
> By allowing the Unknown, all I have to worry about is they get the domain
> right, and I have even helped that along, by registering multiple simlar
> domains and having them all point to my SIMS server (then using the
> router to map them all together).

The prefix solution outlined above should also cover this. As long as the
prefix is correct, along with the domain being correct, doctors can misspell
drug names to their hearts' content. Again, you want the prefix to be short
and simple to decrease the chance that it is misspelled.

> The only creative way I can see with using wildcards in the router, will
> effectivly duplicate an Unknown account (since what I am trying to catch
> are TRUELY unknown addresses). I can do similar to a Unified POP account,
> but that is really just an unknown account.

Using prefixes with wildcards and getting rid of your 'unknown' account will
allow SIMS to properly bounce messages that really should be bounced for
having unknown recipients. Addresses with proper prefixes will no longer be
'unknown.'

> Alas, this does have the nasty side effect that I have been slammed by
> spam before, there was one weekend (they like hitting in the AM on
> weekends it seems) that we collected close to 3000 unknown emails (they
> started at a@ and walked their way down).
>
> What I think I have to do is read up better on the anti-spam features...
> it would seem to me, that if I got creative with spam-blocking email
> addresses, I should be able to stop floods like that (list a@ or similar
> as a spamtrap).

Not having an unknown account is the best defense against these types of
attack, because it allows SIMS' TempBan mechanism to come into play (assuming
you're using 1.8b8).

                   Christopher Bort | cbort@homes-magazine.com
            Webmaster, Global Homes | webmaster@homes-magazine.com
      <http://www.globalhomes.com/> | PGP public key available on request
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