Catch-alls are important for some of us


#21

You know what irks me about this? I got the notification of this sweeping change to how I use my domain email at 9:40 on a Friday night and was told the change was going into effect on Monday. Lucky for me (in this instance anyway) that I happened to be doing a lot of work this weekend and saw this email.

Had I missed it, I would have started bouncing emails on Monday. This is simply shortsighted and poor service by Dreamhost. I can understand their need to make this change, but the lead time on it was just not acceptable.

Now, to the issue at hand. Like the OP I use catch-alls in lieu of giving out my real address. I forward to GMail because their webmail service is vastly superior than anything dreamhost offers or any fat client. I used to create aliases every time I needed to create one, but that was a giant hassle as I use a new address for EVERY site I visit.

Dreamhost MUST support “auto-aliases” as described by some posters above. Allow each user to specify a special email prefix (e.g. “supersecret-”) which will be the “key” to the catch all. For instance, “Yahoo@mydomain” would bounce unless I had that alias setup, but "supersecret-yahoo@mydomain.com" would forward. This is impletemented by many other hosts…

Again, I’d like to re-itterate that I am disappointed in the way Dreamhost has handled this issue. I replied to their email letting them know this, but I imagining they also broke another email customer service rule by having all replies to their messages routed to dev/null, as I haven’t received a reply.


#22

There’s a suggestion listed in the panel for the “plus” aliases:

“Allow support for “plus”-style email addresses: user anything@domain.com goes to user@domain.com.”

There is also this one (which I think is better because it allows the user to specify the prefix):

Allow “semi-catch-all” emails like “sales-*@domain.com”.

I’ve thrown my support behind it as I think it’s a good compromise (despite not helping me sort out my current difficulites – it would be useful moving forward).


#23

[quote]> Catch-all prevents any verification of valid email addresses.

It does not. All legal email addresses at the domain are valid.[/quote]
Are you intentionally trying to ignore what I’m getting at?

Having a catch-all prevents this email address, "jfkje09w@domain.com", from getting flagged as “non-existant.”

Why are you not seeing this? You have to be intentionally ignoring my whole point.

And YES, there are emails like that. As I said above, before I turned off my catch-all a year ago, I was getting bounced messages sent back to yfiehfw@mydomain.com. Some spammer was using MY domain and the server’s inability to varify valid email addresses to spam people. THAT is why catch-alls are bad.

When you enable the catch-all, an SMTP server cannot goto your mail server and say “is jfioeh@yourdomain.com a valid email address?” Because the SMTP server will always say “yes.” To stop spammers, you need the SMTP server to say “no.”


yerba# rm -rf /etc
yerba#


#24

I use to do that. But after like 2 years I found out my spam never came from my custom emails. So I setup all the aliases I could recall and killed my catch-all. Now I just use one email address. It’s the same one I had for 6 years, so it gets a fair amount of spam (~50-70 a day) but everything goes to gmail and Gmail is actually very good at filtering all that out for me. So, now I just use my default email address.


yerba# rm -rf /etc
yerba#


#25

Again, I’d like to re-itterate that I am disappointed in the way Dreamhost has handled this issue.

Oh, so we can all hang out in the blacklisting limbo while you get around to fixing your broken setup?

Catch-alls were created back in the day when spam didn’t outnumber real live email traffic. It was meant that if you had a difficult email address to spell or remember - it wouldn’t be lost or bounced when your customers attempted to contact you.

Fast forward to 2006. Spam out numbers email 100:1… time to change the way you deal with things. And now that you’re on a shared hosting - sometimes YOU are forced to do things for the better of all.

YOU are not the most important thing on the server… neither am I. All of US are. And if your catch all blacklists US one more time - it’s going to pi## all of US off again.

I applaud Dreamhost for taking this step quickly to make life run smoother.


#26

—Again, I’d like to re-itterate that I am disappointed in the way Dreamhost has handled this issue.—

Oh, so we can all hang out in the blacklisting limbo while you get around to fixing your broken setup?

Catch-alls were created back in the day when spam didn’t outnumber real live email traffic. It was meant that if you had a difficult email address to spell or remember - it wouldn’t be lost or bounced when your customers attempted to contact you.

Fast forward to 2006. Spam out numbers email 100:1… time to change the way you deal with things. And now that you’re on a shared hosting - sometimes YOU are forced to do things for the better of all.

YOU are not the most important thing on the server… neither am I. All of US are. And if your catch all blacklists US one more time - it’s going to pi## all of US off again.

I applaud Dreamhost for taking this step quickly to make life run smoother.


#27

That is exactly why I am so against catch-alls as well. I used to run several domains locally on my server and then the mail bombs started where I was getting bounces from everywhere addressed to thousands of combinations of letters in front of my domains. Of course these spammers were using my domains as bogus from addresses, and because of the catch-all situation the addresses could be confirmed as existing and would be accepted by their recipients. My domains (at least the IP block) were then being placed on spamlists. So my catch-alls had to go.

I do not miss them. If I want to use a unique email address for some reason then I just create it first and then use it. As I have mentioned before (somewhere) having the catch-all turned off means that the remote server trying to get an email sent to one of your millions of catch-alls is going to be rejected at the port connection stage without a need to use all the resource intensive palaver of being accepted and then a bounce sent (if a catch-all address has been added to the bounce list.)

That said about my opposition to catch-alls I can understand peoples frustration by having them turned off ‘overnight’ as it were. Many hosting companies are removing the catch-all facility and indeed one of my previous hosts for cPanel did just that overnight and did not tell any of their customers. I noticed it when a regular email or two did not arrive.

So maybe a re-think is needed and perhaps DreamHost could rollback a little and give a notification cut-off of two weeks adding in a well targeted informatory email to all their customers.

Lave leng ind prisper.
I nood neew bitteries fur moo kaybodd!!


Norm

Opinions are my own views and not the views of DreamHost. :open_mouth:
Any advice offered by me should be acted upon at your own risk.


#28

[quote]Having a catch-all prevents this email address,
"jfkje09w@domain.com", from getting flagged as “non-existant.”

[/quote]

Of course. And so it should do. Because with a catch-all in place, jfkje09w@domain.com is a valid address.

[quote]When you enable the catch-all, an SMTP server cannot
goto your mail server and say “is jfioeh@yourdomain.com
a valid email address?”

[/quote]

Yes it can, and it does.

[quote]Because the SMTP server will always say “yes.”

[/quote]

“Yes” is the correct answer.


#29

–I like to use a new email address everytime I have to sign up with something. If I start receiving email on that address from anybody but the entity I signed up with I can call them on it. It allows me to create some accountability with whom I deal.–

Well, thats an excuse I guess, but it falls into my category of “curiosity” which really serves no purpose, most professional companies will state what they do with the email, the less professional ones (ie forums, blogs, porn, whatever) are hardly likely to be of any interest apart from curiosity. In that case use squirellmail and you will see lots of spam and where it originates.

Setting up a forwarding alias takes <1 minute. The only problem is the delay dreamhost has in getting it in the system, if they can fix that then you can use all sorts of addresses and it will only be a minor inconvenience.


#30

[quote]> Because the SMTP server will always say “yes.”

“Yes” is the correct answer.[/quote]
Wrong, “No” should be the correct answer. Why? Because spammers rely on "iruiew@domain.com" to work so their spam actually gets delivered.


yerba# rm -rf /etc
yerba#


#31

You may not like the truth, but the truth is that if a server asks your question “is jfioeh@yourdomain.com a valid email address?” then with a catch-all the correct answer IS “Yes”. The proof being that if the server sends to that address, the message will be accepted.

[quote]“No” should be the correct answer.

[/quote]

Well sorry, whatever it “should” be, it is not. It an incorrect answer.

Perhaps you would like the server to give the incorrect answer “No” just to spam? Well, that would be fine by me and that is exactly what many ISP that have appropriately integrated spam defences do. But unfortunately DH do not have such spam defences. And until they do, give the incorrect “No” answer to everyone would lose tons of legit mail. Which I am sure is why DH do not do it.


#32

Okay, this is where things are getting confused. “The answer should be No” is my argument AGAINST catch-alls.

THAT is what i was getting at. You did totally miss my original argument…


yerba# rm -rf /etc
yerba#


#33

Nen-

You’re wrong.

I’ve personally experienced BIG companies like airlines and national mobile phone providers having problems with keeping their internal email list inhouse. Privacy policies don’t mean anything when you’ve got an employee who walks out with the list on a flash drive. In an age of ID theft, I really like knowing who I can trust and who needs to work on their sh*t.


#34

[quote]“The answer should be No” is my argument AGAINST catch-alls.

[/quote]

Then you need to come up with a better argument. Because DH provide catchalls because people want catchalls. DH are not going to remove all catch-alls because some of them get lots of spam and some of those forward it and some of those destinations then block DH.

What DH should be doing is addressing the problem at the actual point of the cause. And that point is not the spammer sending spam. That point is DH sending spam - by forwarding it.

Shame they didn’t think through their Junk Filter plan properly before diving in. As it is, it is going to take them quite a while to get on the right course, I fear.


#35

Really? That’s news to me. Last I checked, I’m paying Dreamhost for their service. In my mind, I am their most important customer. Just as in your mind, you should be their most important customer. I expect that dreamhost makes me feel like their most important customer whenever they deal with me. I expect this from all companies I deal with. Usually, dreamhost does this in spades.

Part of that service should be that they don’t make major changes to the validity of email addresses over a weekend with a ZERO business day notification. If the US Postal service changed the mailing address of your business with such notification, how would you feel about it? But… but it was foor the greater good!

Give me a break.


#36

Just FYI, for those who haven’t seen it yet:

http://www.dreamhoststatus.com

To summarize:

-Catch-all forward disabling has been postponed until Monday, June 19th.
-GMail forwards are exempted, since a lot of people do this, and GMail isn’t blocking us anyway.
-Dedicateds are also exempted.


#37

As another catch-all@ --> gmail user I just wanted to chime in with a “me too!”

I already wrote dreamhost expressing my opinion and came here to check to see if I was the only one put out by this sudden change.

And to add insult to injury Dreamhost did not give us reasonable notice. Sending out a last minute email late Friday evening announcing a change on Monday to critical service such as email is not professional.


#38

[quote]Wrong, “No” should be the correct answer. Why? Because spammers rely on "iruiew@domain.com" to work so their spam actually gets delivered.

[/quote]

Spammers don’t care if the from-address works. They can spoof your domain (or individual email address) regardless of whether you have a catch-all or not.


#39

You missed my previous posts. SMTP servers can be set to make sure the from email address is valid. This is where spammers DO care what the from address is set to.

Just like they can no longer use false domains. Soon, it’ll get to the point where they can’t use false emails.

Catch-alls prevent the ability to use this check. That’s my whole point.


yerba# rm -rf /etc
yerba#


#40

seems the dreamhost team has listened and come up with a compromise.

http://www.dreamhoststatus.com/2006/06/12/69/