What to do if you are listed on APEWS

If you are listed on the APEWS blacklist, as confirmed by checking their website, here's how I would recommend that you handle the situation. (Who the heck am I?) 

Note: This isn’t guidance on how to avoid a blacklisting or sidestep anti-spam groups. If you have a spam issue, fix it. Don't spam, ever, for any reason. This is information is regarding how to address an issue with a blacklist that is very aggressive at listing non-abusing IP addresses and networks, with no published, attainable path to resolution.

  • Don't despair. Be calm.

  • Do NOT post to a USENET newsgroup or to Google Groups, asking for assistance. Any replies you get will be from people who do NOT work for or with APEWS, and most of those replies will be unhelpful.

  • I can't stress this point strongly enough: Posting requests for help on the Internet will not get you any assistance. The APEWS FAQ directs people to post questions, but the only thing that happens is that discussion groups are overrun with questions, and the only people who answer those questions are (a) not involved with APEWS and (b) rarely polite or helpful.

  • APEWS ability to be used as a spam filter has been greatly reduced and restricted due to perceived malfeasance on the part of the APEWS maintainer(s). UCEPROTECT and SORBS, blacklist groups who used to publish the APEWS data, are no longer doing so as of August 13, 2007. This means that the two main channels available to administrators to use APEWS as a spam filter have been revoked. This means that if your mail bounced due to an APEWS listing before or on August 13, 2007, you might want to try to send your mail again – it would likely get through, as the list is even LESS widely used than it was up until August 13, 2007.

  • APEWS is very aggressive (meaning its use as a spam filter drives a lot of false positive blocking) and as measured by me on August 11, 2007, lists approximately 42% of the Internet. (By “the Internet” I mean IP4 address space.) In other words, they list nearly half the Earth, suggesting that anybody who actually wants to receive mail probably cannot use APEWS as a spam filter. This strongly suggests that very few people are going to block your mail because of the APEWS listing.

  • Anyone using APEWS as a spam filter is going against the advice of a multitude of other anti-spam advocates and email professionals. See my news and commentary roundup for more information and links to feedback from others in the anti-spam arena.

  • Since APEWS is not widely used, your next step should be a review of your bounce data. Have you received any bounces that reference an APEWS block?

  • If not, don’t worry about it. You just determined that you’re not having blocking issues that you can trace back to APEWS. It’s annoying that you’re listed on the website, but there’s little easy recourse available to you to address that.

  • If yes, you have received a bounce message that references APEWS, contact the site that blocked your mail. Call them on the phone or email them from a different email account (Hotmail, Gmail, etc.) Show them that APEWS is problematic and not widely used. Explain to them that you do not spam, and that APEWS has listed you even though you do not spam. Provide them links to this page on DNSBL.com with more information about APEWS.
If you want to learn more about APEWS, I've collected everything I know about this “anonymous” blacklist here on DNSBL.com.

I hope you find this information helpful. Please feel free to contact me with your comments or feedback. But, please note that I'm unable to consult with you regarding your specific situation -- I've already got a full time day job, and I'm not looking for consulting clients.