Author: M.Prince (8 May 07 3:09am)
It is certainly true that a clever spammer can probably figure out many of the spam trap addresses, it would be tough to figure all of them out. Not to give away all the secrets, but we do several things to make all our mail servers difficult to locate. But, the problem you describe, is one we've thought a lot about.
Here's something interesting: the day after we announced our big lawsuit we had a measurable drop in the amount of spam we receive. Guess we got the spammers' attention. This seems like a bad thing, but really I think it's an opportunity.
We can play the cat-and-mouse game of hiding our mail server IPs -- and we will -- but ultimately the way to hide our spam traps is to have the same mail servers we use for trapped email also handle legitimate email.
Imagine this: what if we offered a service where our members who ran mail servers could simply point their legitimate mail to our servers and see a significant decrease in the amount of spam they receive, without any risk of false positives. The process would be similar to donating an MX entry. Nothing, beyond your DNS MX settings, would need to change. Whatever you're doing now for spam filtering still works, just on a mail message's path to your mail server it runs briefly through ours.
Then there would literally be no way for a spammer to tell a spam trap address from a regular address. While some spammers would just keep sending their messages, some would decide it was easier to just eliminate any addresses that ended up at our mail servers. If we could eliminate 20% of mail hitting your gateway it would make your existing filters more effective and decrease stress on your systems.
Now, of course, there are a lot of challenges we need to address before we can implement something like this. It would dramatically increase our bandwidth usage so we'd need to charge some nominal fee (we're hoping we can do it $20/year or less). But if you could get a bit less spam with no risk of false positives, and you could help us better hide our spam traps, would it be something you'd be interested in??
If so, let us know.