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My ISP (Verizon FIOS) has been assigning me IP addresses that are on blacklists from a variety of third-party spam blacklisting services.

I discovered this when I was unable to create a new account at a number of different email services. Tech support at one of them advised me that using a blacklisted IP address was a common cause of the issue and gave me a couple of web addresses that check your IP address against the different blacklisting services (e.g., https://www.whatismyip.com/blacklist-check/?, and https://www.whatismyip.net/tools/ip-blacklist-check.php). Sure enough, my IP address was on nine different blacklists.

Verizon tried assigning me new IP addresses from three different ranges and blocks of available addresses. Every one was on the same blacklists. Then for weeks, they claimed they were fixing the issue, or that it was fixed, but nothing changed.

Finally, one of their support people advised me that blacklisting goes hand-in-hand with dynamic IP addresses and Verizon doesn't bother doing anything about it. However, if I wanted to pay more and get a business account, they would give me a static IP address, and that would be clean.

I'm aware that years ago, there were problems like ISPs with open relays that caused all of their IP addresses to be blacklisted. Also years ago, I ran into issues with spammers using blocks of IP addresses, which got the addresses blacklisted. Then one of those IP addresses would be assigned to me and I would need to work through the ISP to get it off the blacklists.

Blacklisted IP addresses are apparently still an issue, but ISPs not fixing the problem can't be the standard, or nobody would be able to get online accounts. So I'm trying to get a better handle on the issue and what can be done to fix it.

  • Is there anything I can do, myself, to deal with the blacklisting services, collectively, to get my address removed from the lists each time I'm assigned a new one (it doesn't look like the blacklist services are set up for that)?
  • Is it reasonable to expect my ISP to be able to get their IP addresses removed from the blacklists (i.e., is it just a case of Verizon having a monopoly in my area so they have no incentive to expend even a penny of resources to address a fixable problem, or is spamming associated with dynamic IP addresses an intractable problem and ISPs no longer deal with it)?
  • Is the blacklisting and its removal regulated by any entity that might be a source of leverage to get the issue fixed?
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Is there anything I can do, myself, to deal with the blacklisting services...

Yes, you can work with each blacklist by following their instructions for removing the IP address from their list. Most of them have a published process for this. However there are actually a few blacklist providers that refuse to de-list blocked IP addresses and will only remove them when whatever datasource they rely upon indicates they're clean again.

This is a labor-intensive process and can take quite some time as each blacklist provider process is your request. I would not recommend it for a dynamic IP address. you might not even get the IP address delisted before being assigned a new address.

Is it reasonable to expect my ISP to be able to get their IP addresses removed from the blacklists...?

This entirely depends on the provider. My two cents is that they aren't properly motivated to do this for their dynamic addresses given the fact they have "clean" static IPs to sell. To make matters worse, most blacklist providers aren't interested in hearing from the ISP but rather the end customer using the IP address, as they're the ones in control of the potentially compromised systems spewing spam on to the Internet.

Is the blacklisting and its removal regulated by any entity that might be a source of leverage to get the issue fixed?

Nope. Blacklist providers are autonomous projects. Nobody says anyone has to respect any particular blacklist making the relationship between the providers and those that rely on them completely voluntary.


In your situation two solutions come to mind:

  1. Give in and purchase the static IP address from your ISP. If you do ever end up on a blacklist your efforts to get delisted will benefit you as the ongoing user of that IP address.

  2. Use a third party email relay service and send all your outbound email through them. For example, Symantec offers the Email Protect.Cloud platform which will send email to the Internet on your behalf after filtering it for viruses and spam. Each provider has their own requirements for using their service so YMMV.

  • Good answer. I want to point out that it is not really your ISPs responsibility to deal with blacklisted addresses. Depending on DHCP pool sizes, timeouts, etc, a single dynamic IP could be assigned to hundreds of users in a year. If they were to deal with it, it could simply be blacklisted again by the next user. Its too much work for an ISP to deal with, especially when the problem wasnt theirs to begin with. – Keltari May 4 at 0:54
  • Reality sucks. :-) – fixer1234 May 4 at 4:08

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