Cox Decides Your Outbound Mail Is Spam, Doesn't Tell You

from the oops dept

ISPs that have overactive spam filters where they don’t allow users a chance to get around them are nothing new. Remember two years ago when Verizon was blocking almost all European inbound mail? When people complained, Verizon told them that if they really wanted to communicate with people, they should use the phone. That didn’t go over that well, and Verizon ended up having to pay up in a class action suit. However, the latest reports suggest that cable broadband provider Cox may have gone a step further. Rather than blocking inbound email as spam, they’re now blocking outbound email as spam. Actually, not blocking… deleting. And, even better, not informing you that the emails you sent are gone, never to be delivered. And (yes, it gets better), Cox refuses to admit they’ve done anything. Trying to protect you from inbound spam is one thing, but having your own provider deleting your own outbound emails as spam without even letting you know or giving you a way around it is going way too far. As you might imagine, Cox customers are not amused.

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Comments on “Cox Decides Your Outbound Mail Is Spam, Doesn't Tell You”

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Eric says:

RE: There is merit.

Are you kidding me?

Spammers aren’t likely to be using a Cox account to begin with, even if they modify the From line to appear as so.

Regardless, the people affected are paying customers who pay for a variety of services, email being one. For Cox to disallow its own paying customers from sending outbound emails is ludicrous and has NO merit, period.

If someone is indeed spamming, then Cox can take issue with THAT customer and oh, I don’t know, terminate his cotract under the User Agreement he signed saying he wouldn’t use email services for spam. Brilliant!

PT says:

Re: Re: LOL

A non-profit ogranization is still a business, no matter how small it is. That ogranization needs to have its own account setup with, for example, Cox and its volunteers would use that account’s email to send out notices to its members, not from a volunteer’s own peronal email account. If little ma and pop local non-profit organizations need to send out lots of emails out to their members, its their responsiblity to setup an account where sending out a lot emails will not send up a red flag. Honestly, how is an ISP to know that it isn’t spam being sent out in a burst like that, unless you let them know ahead of time.

I know that that a business account costs a lot more than a residential one. I’m not sure if any ISPs have a service in place where non-profit organizations of a certain size get a discount. But that should be a gesture offered by the ISPs anyway. It just makes them look good.

My opinion, of course.

Ex Cox Employee says:

Re: They are blocking all data on port 25

They block it to where you have to use their smtp server even if you have your own domain name and use your own mail server. One way around this is to have your domain hosting company to run a copy of their email server on any other port than 25 – I run mine on 26 and then I just have to change it in outlook to use port 26 instead of 25 and no more cox smtp. Hope this helps

William says:

I used to work for COX

They block several ports for residential customers and I don’t blame them. If you want to run a mail server you really shouldn’t be using a cable modem to do it. And I really have seen a LOT of there customers have a HUGE problem with SPAM. I’ve seen people with there in-boxes filled with 20,000 SPAM emails and i mean a lot of of people. But that said they should warn there customers if they are going to block something. I feel like they really take there customers for grated; they are a monopoly for hi speed Internet in a lot of the markets they are in and if a customer has an issue there usual response might as well be “I don’t care about you F-you”. I bet they still have some customers in New Orleans that are down from Katrina.

BTW Gmail rocks I use it too

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I used to work for COX

“If you want to run a mail server you really shouldn’t be using a cable modem to do it.”

WHAT??? If you used to work for cox then you would know they actively sell HFC connections to their business customers. That includes for email purposes.

Why would it be okay to sell the connection to businesses, but not non-commercial usage? Are you trying to say only businesses should be afforded the right to email?

And don’t even pretend this (act of blocking port 25) has anything to do with limiting spam. It wouldn’t even come close to working, ESPECIALLY NOT ON ZOMBIE NETS. Someone who owns a zombie network can easily send their net insturctions to use serverX on port y to send out the flood.

William says:

Re: Re: I used to work for COX

Yes but there response to residential customers who want to run mail servers is it is not allowed per the terms of your service contract. And if you want to do it you should pay for the business account. Try suing them for blocking 25 they’ll cancel your service and have your case thrown out so fast It’ll make your head spin. Hope you like dial up buddy.


Jim says:

Re: Re: I used to work for COX

“Why would it be okay to sell the connection to businesses, but not non-commercial usage? Are you trying to say only businesses should be afforded the right to email?”

He is saying Cox does not sell residential customers an internet connection that has servers running on it. That is their rule, that is in their contract. They offer a residential consumer service for a set amount. Buy it from them, or don’t.

“And don’t even pretend this (act of blocking port 25) has anything to do with limiting spam. It wouldn’t even come close to working, ESPECIALLY NOT ON ZOMBIE NETS. Someone who owns a zombie network can easily send their net insturctions to use serverX on port y to send out the flood.”

You are not thinking your scenerio through. Sooner or later to deliver the spam it has to go TO the target on port 25. From the zombie net TO the target on port 25. So of course blocking outbond port 25 does stop spam, a ton of it.

Now if you mean inbound port 25 blocking..see my comment above. Cox does not provide internet service to residential cutomers that supports servers.

ISP Choice says:

ISP Choices

This is why the lack of competition in cable providers is so shitty. You have a problem with COX, tough! You MIGHT have another choice, if you are near a bordering community or city, but most of the time you are screwed. Can’t wait to see the class action lawsuit. There will be one, if not spawned by a pissed off customer (as I would be), then by a greedy lawyer.

Vlodnak says:


Cox @ Home blocks you from using other SMTP servers in many cases.

I have clients who have their own domain, and can send mail just fine EXCEPT when they are at home on their Cox@Home connection. Apparently COX will NOT allow you to send via an outside (at least in many cases) SMTP server, and you MUST route through their SMTP in order to send.

Avatar28 (user link) says:

Nothing new about blocking port 25

I run into this frequently doing OEM computer support. Almost ALL ISPs block port 25 except for going to their own mail servers. Comcast does it, Road Runner does, Verizon, SBC, et al all do it. It’s ostensibly to cut down on spam. Don’t know it really works all that well though.

The solution, as previously stated, is going to simply be to use an alternate port to reach your mail server. That’s why gmail uses port 400 something for instance.

craig says:

You are a disabled person. You scrape by on 800 bucks a month and due to your disability, and you have high speed internet even though the cost is a burden because, with your limited mobility and inability to get out and socialize more, can’t drive, can’t afford to go out even if you could physically… and so the net is your connection to the outside world.
You have a choice between sitting alone in your room staring at the wall or watching Montel Williams until you’re suicidal, or sacrificing some of your few precious dollars to get the net access – some semblance of a life, at least for you. A life others joke about (het addict!) but for you better than nothing.

In addition, it allows you to connect with others who are also disabled and there you find emotional support, health recommendations and understanding that you can’t find locally. You actually start to feel as though you have “friends” of a sort.

As the relationship builds, you start to email each other regularly. Because of your friendly personality, people seem to trust you, like you. Because there is still a stigma attached to disability, some people aren’t really comfortable giving too much detail on public message boards, and so the more intimate conversations take place through email.

You feel like you’ve found something, some thing in this life that has been rough to you. More than that – you’ve feel useless and ashamed for so long – you were brought up with a strong work ethic and the feeling of being useless, of contributing nothing to society was worse than the actual physical pains of your disability. But now you can be useful.
You set up a private, invitation-only email newsletter/listserv or whatever for this support group that is springing up. You CAN be useful, and you CAN have friends. You can have a reason to BE.

um, nope. You can’t. Sorry. Unless you’re a business with a business account, you have no business sending out “mass” emails. Tough luck, buddy. Go watch Montel.

Or perhaps you’re just a bored housewife who is one of many bored housewives who scrapbook as a hobby and you all mass email each other with your latest updates on your progress. Nope, sorry. You have no business doing that.

Jim says:

Re: Re:


“You are a disabled person. You scrape by on 800 bucks a month and due to your disability, and you have high speed internet even though the cost is a burden because, with your limited mobility and inability to get out and socialize more, can’t drive, can’t afford to go out even if you could physically… and so the net is your connection to the outside world.”

How cute, a nice little made up sob story.

Lets see, your made up person is broke. So they go out and buy a server and listserve software instead of using egroups or Yahoo groups for free.

Nice try, but you failed miserably.

Donald Duck says:

Come on post 37 get a life!

Haven’t you I’ve notice modern sidewalks in town these day’s? Buses have these things that lift wheel chairs and other things into the bus.

The buses goes all over the city. The doors at the mall are automatic all ya got to do is hit a button with the “Wheel Chair” pic on it? I know that sounds hard.

The tv’s they make over in asia has these neat gigits that turn channels. They call it the remote control, so if Jerry Springer bums you out all you have to do is turn the channels on your Cox cable line up?

Or you could get DSS with internet package. You be Liven Large then…….

Hell if a disable person was making $800 bucks per month you can afford DSS.

I”m not even going to talk about how cheap those ho’s are on the corner.

The chair store people must have made some advertisers multi millionaires several times over. Their ad’s say that they’ll get you a chair and MAKE THE GOVERNMENT PAY FOR IT IF YOU CAN’T.

Let me find some tissues, dude there are people out there that have it a lot worse then you not emailing 300 people every five minutes.

Number one I seriously doubt that all the cox spammers are a bunch of disabled living off the dole poor people. More likely it is probably drug phens living off the net driving Vipers.

They are probably disabling young males with their live webcams and their fake chinese viagra drugs. Painted drywall pieces sold as Viagra thats your spammers.

My god if your that disable and you know 300 people and you email them every five minutes then something is just not right.

Have you ever heard of Skype or Voip? Yahoo, Windows Live, Gmail instant messengers? AIM can host a a business meeting for hundreds of people and you can do some wicked stuff with that technology like write something down share it with the group.

But when it comes to email hundreds of people YOU KNOW or is in YOUR GROUP…… How about you use a group feature when you email your GROUPS?

You name a group like TECHDIRT GROUPIES every email in that list gets a email saying from Donald Duck in the send to listing all you see is : TECHDIRT GROUPIES
but there could be thousands of email names in that list, so you don’t have to keep typing in their unique email address in your headers.

When I was in yahoo groups I hated stupid people putting in those thousand email names in the send list when all they had to do is use our group list. It was retarded and the monitor ordered all users to just use the list because it took so long for the webtv to load it.

Spam is a real SERIOUS problem. I get spam every freaking day… dont you? These ….Cox…. users trying to sell me fake viagra made in china and every thing else under the sun. Hooda something, enough stuff to mutate your Cox for good.

I would love to click in those and find out how many Cox users are sending me these GD emails. If cox was blocking those peoples computer from sending out emails then good for them. Or at least it’s more room for the sever that they save all our stuff in so they can sell it to a marketing company and let the gov people look through it?

Now should Cox tell you that they do this before you sign up. Yes they should, I would guess though most people are not sending 300 emails every five minutes or what ever the rate is that they are blocking. I believe the story was that it was blocking real emails from like family and friends and we are talking about a few emails not in the hundreds. From some of your postings I guess they have thought up another way to make you pay for more service usage/bandwith usage which should be legal.

I would imagine that you can use Cox Cable for spam you send it to a email company that can mask your real ISP and your real ISP provider I seen them before some where?

In fact I remember back in the day with the webtv we had IRC’s that sent 100’s of emails to people just to plug up their inboxes with nothing but a evil message.

You have to block that person from sending the email. Some of those people then makes up like 100 different names and keep on doing it because it’s a bot it’s a program.

I guess Cox would have block that from reaching you in the first place.

I guess you can say the application can be good and bad and they are going to have to work something out. They could get sued for sending out spam the government makes it illegal now day’s.

Jason Dragon (user link) says:

Are you crazy

If you are a serious internet user then all your mail should be going through your own domain or an account like gmail. Only an idiot would use cox as their email account. What if you wanted to change ISPs…..If you use Gmail, or GoDaddy email you are set.

Yes it is wrong for them to do this, but again only crazy people would do business using a domain name from their ISP.

Cenzo says:

Cox Spam

We are trying to send out an email to our customers who have requested we send them class schedules, etc. Now, Cox has decided that they won’t let us send out mass mail. It would have been better if they had first notified us of this change and then to give people a chance to overide their blocks.

They say that do, if you send the proposed email as an attachment to their site for review. I’ve been waiting 5 days so far and haven’t gotten a response. Even after contact their support department (need I say more) they had no solution.

This is really pissin me off. We went through a lot of trouble to prepare for an upcoming workshop and now we can’t let anyone know about it.

scaffolding (user link) says:

To Hike Oar Not to Hike

The weather may have took a turn for the worse the day the girls and I signed up for molded plastic parts an overnight combo hiking-kayaking trip through Abel Tasman National Park (what’s the point of hiking if you can’t make out the scenery through the fog?), but we saw the bright side the very next day as the sun peaked out printing through the clouds.

Kenneth Malcolm Happel (profile) says:

1st Amendment Infringment

I am the leader of a tea party group in Vista, CA. I send emails to our members who have given me their email addresses at our meetings for the express purpose of receiving these emails. These emails are time critical.

Cox decided that these updates were spam and has blocked them. The reason given was that the number of emails sent in one block, about 80-120, was too great.

I asked for a copy of their email to their security department. They said no its an internal

Cora Gregory says:

Outgoing email now labeled as spam!

I’ve been a COX customer for over 45 years! I’ve been sending a daily devotion to several friends for about 10 years. This morning (50-14) my devotion was blocked and labeled as "potential spam" by COX! This isn’t the first time. I ended up a few weeks ago separating my Group into 4 smaller ones and that’s worked so far. I’m on the verge of leaving COX if this "service" continues. How dare you make this sort of decision so arbitrarily?

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