Status of Shut down, legal troubles in 2001

Remember ORBS? Short for “Open Relay Behavior Modification System,” it was a blocking list run by Alan Brown from New Zealand. (Mr. Brown ran the second version of ORBS. The first version had been run by Canadian Alan Hodgson.)

People keep asking me about the situation regarding ORBS and its eventual downfall. It happened so long ago, that I don't feel that it would be appropriate to try to fill people in from memory alone. Instead, here's links to a lot of the articles I've found regarding Alan Brown and ORBS. If you have any others, drop me a line and I'll add them to this page.
Please note that I'm not linking to any commentary or conspiracy theories put forth by emotional, anti-blocklisting “how dare you block my guaranteed opt-in email” people. There are many blocklists run correctly and appropriately. There were then, and there are now. The lists themselves weren't the problem, and aren't the problem now. Like with any other field of study, type of product, or process, some manage it well, and others do not.

Status of ALIVE

The DNSBL “” has been revived. Its maintainer, Sabri Berisha, had previously shut it down in November 2005.

This list aims to allow you to allow or block mail from specific countries, or from certain routers (by AS number). For example, if you wish to block all mail from the US, you could configure as a DNSBL to be used for mail blocking in your email server software, and you would then block all mail from the US, as identified by Sabri’s categorization. For more information, see Sabri’s post to the NANOG mailing list, announcing resuscitation of the list, or click here visit the list’s website.

Note that while these lists may be used to block spam, they're not exactly spam-blocking lists. Rejecting all mail from China simply means that you're going to reject all mail from China, spam or non-spam. It's up to you to determine whether or not this is an acceptable compromise. I assume, like with users of, administrators who choose to use this list are fed up with spam from a certain country's servers, and receive little enough legitimate mail from a country that the risk of false positives is considered acceptable.