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Bizarro World
Old 09-05-2005, 09:12 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Just a heads up for everyone with a personal website. Three days ago I noticed that I wasn't getting my normal helping of spam, on further review I wasn't getting any new email! What with Katrina and the fact that my ISP is Bell South I didn't really think much about it, but when nothing new had arrived by mid day I started to get more concerned. I sent my self several test messages, one to my real email address (through my ISP, jfishe6@bellsouth.net) and one through my websites ( john@couturemiami.com and john@johnfisher.com). The one sent to jfishe6 came through, the others never arrived.

<CENTER>Look, I know this is boring so I'm going to spice it up occasionally with some new shots of Erin, the Glam-Chic!
</CENTER>

I also didn't get an "undeliverable email" message, so I waited. By Saturday morning I got nervous so I contacted my website host (Pair.Com) and the reply I got is prompting this post. Pair told me that over 130 emails were being held in my email queue because Bell South was blocking their servers. I'm going to back up now to explain how many of us get our email when we have our own dot com address. When email is sent to me through johnfisher.com or couturemiami.com it is actually automatically relayed from the company that hosts my site (in this case, Pair in Pittsburgh) to a "blind" email address that I use to receive email (until yesterday, jfishe6@bellsouth.net). The advantage of this arrangement (other than it's much easier for people to remember john@johnfisher.com than jfishe6@bellsouth.net) is that when I change ISP's (as I have several times in the last eight years) I don't have to send everyone a new email address, I just change the forwarding command at johnfisher.com to what ever new email address my new ISP has assigned me.

<CENTER>Boring, boring.....But fortunately Erin is not!
</CENTER>

Soooooooooo, what is the problem? Basically this is it, a major ISP (Bell South) has arbitrarily identified four of the seven email servers of a large web host provider (Pair.com) as a source of spam and so has completely blocked all email from those servers. They did this without warning and the technical support at Bell South (an oxymoron, but you knew that) was not even aware that it had happened, nor could they correct the problem. The folks at Pair are not much better, they didn't contact me about my email backing up, I had to ask them. And the email in that queue? It couldn't be diverted to a working address (I immediately set up a hotmail address to accept the forwarded email), so it is going to be returned to the senders as "undeliverable". By the way, in a real "Bizarro World" response, technical support at Pair explained to me that "this is a good thing, now people will know their email didn't go through!" Ya gotta wonder what tech support smokes on a holiday weekend.

<CENTER>More Erin (and more Erin is very good thing!)
</CENTER>

"Gee, Fish, sounds like YOU have a problem!" Ah, yes, but so may you. The problem is that as spam blockers have become a major selling point for ISP's, so has the crudeness of the club they are using to accomplish this task. I first noticed this two years ago when suddenly I couldn't send or receive email from several of my overseas contacts (notably the agencies in Milan and model contacts in Eastern Europe). The new Bell South spam software simply locked out all overseas ISP's. That was repaired, but now they are going after US ISP's. It's not specific email addresses, but entire servers which are being forced off the air. I don't know what the solution is at this point, I've thought of changing my host company from Pair to someone else, but who knows how long they would be able to send email. Even changing my ISP from Bell South to someone else (which is very tempting) may not help in the long run unless we can identify how to prevent anti spam software from freezing out entire servers.

<CENTER>As you can imagine, Erin drew a bit of a crowd while we were shooting.
</CENTER>

This is a warning for anyone currently using Pair as the host for their website, but also a cautionary tale for everyone who relies on the internet and email as an important part of their business model (and these days, who doesn't?). Spam is a real problem, spam blockers (particularly automatic blocking software) may be the next big issue.

Fish

PS: I am now getting all my email. If you have sent me something recently and it was returned, please resend the email. As I work through this problem with Pair and Bell South I will report back with the final resolution of the problem.
--
John Fisher
Couture Model Management
900 West Avenue, Suite 423
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
305 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com
http://www.couturemiami.com
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Re: Bizarro World
Old 09-05-2005, 09:30 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Way to go Erin and Fish, these are truly beautiful.

DeAnn
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Re: Bizarro World
Old 09-05-2005, 09:57 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I would have read the whole post, but I hit picture #1 and my eyes exploded! [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/laugh.gif[/img]

I've often wondered about the impact on a host by weather, natural and unnatural disasters, spam mongers, etc.. You make assumptions that an ISP is properly "backed up" so that info isn't lost or communications disrupted, but your story sheds a new light on the subject. This is one of the reasons I download the entire content of the FTP of my site monthly after updates, just as a precaution. Glad to know now that wasn't just a practice of paranoia.

Most women can be MADE to look beautiful, ALL of them have a certain beauty IMO, but women like Erin just gush with a pure natural beauty that is quite enviable. Inspirational work, sir!
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Re: Bizarro World
Old 09-05-2005, 10:05 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I was too busy looking at the girl, what did you say?
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Re: Bizarro World
Old 09-05-2005, 10:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I have often wondered about the low rate of email replies sent to internet models. I didn't think that it was due to the model's ignoring the reply, after all, it is a reply. I figured that many of the replies were getting caught in spam blockers that the models were not aware of. I was not able to send an email to myself at my yahoo.com address without it being considered spam by yahoo until I added my email address to my yahoo address book. I now consider my yahoo mail account to be the most secure account since virus protection is automatic. My yahoo mail account is not free, by the way. I don't use any spam blockers on my other account, I'm just more careful about using that account as a public address. I have often wondered if there was more going on behind the scenes as far as spam blocking, but have no way of knowing. I don't know of any good way to be certain that email will get through and it may very well be that, before too long, email will cease to be a reliable communication tool.

Bill
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Re: Bizarro World
Old 09-05-2005, 12:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
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John,

First off, beautiful images of Erin. She looks really good up on the rocks in that billowing skirt. Tres cool!

What gets me most about what you're talking about is that even if you do identify a problem (someone's ISP arbitrarily blocking email from your server for some reason) you can never find the person who is able to make that problem go away.

There's a member (has a cable-TV ISP) of our photographer's group here in Fort Worth that can not receive email directly from my ISP: photogserver.com. It's blocked due to excessive spam. There's no one, at least that I can find, at the cable-TV or their contractor that can say why, when, or what kind of criteria was used to block my ISP. Your only choice is to accept the reality and use other means to communicate. That sucks!
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Re: Bizarro World
Old 09-05-2005, 12:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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All the hosts I use, give me access to their mail servers, so I can check them from home or on the web. Now, I do have a few servers of my own, so I guess that is why I can do it, maybe those of you who are on a shared server, may have that problem. I have no clue.

I do still have to use bellsouth for OUTGOING mail though. John, have u thought of forwarding your email to yahoo or hotmail instead of bellsouth?
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Done deal
Old 09-05-2005, 01:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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<CENTER> </CENTER>

Yeah, Dax, when I figured out what the problem was I changed the global forwarding on my JohnFisher.com and CoutureMiami.com to a hotmail address. It's a pain because I don't want to respond from hotmail (as you have figured out), so I have to flip over to my regular email package to send replies.

As Wayne mentioned below, I have no idea who sent me an email which got blocked, hopefully it didn't cost me too much business. And that's really the issue, someone who has never written to me before and gets a "returned email" message may simply move on. Here's another turn on this thing, it happened at the beginning of a holiday weekend, a number of businesses are likely to be returning to work on Tuesday and then find out they have lost three or four days of incoming email.

The tech at Pair said they could flip me over to one of three servers (out of seven, apparently) which were still working relative to Bell South, but they were afraid that would shut those servers down! Great. I'm hoping that when the senior people at Bell South and Pair get back to work on Tuesday, someone will be able to solve this problem. While tech support is an oxymoron (I'm sorry, but it's pretty clear that when I call Bell South Fast Access support, English is a second or third language at the call center), it really sinks to the bottom on a long holiday weekend. I spent most of the time explaining that the problem wasn't sending email, I didn't need to reboot my computer, that the settings in my control panel weren't the problem, and that my account was current (I spent at least 30 minutes convincing a supervisor that the billing department in accounting wouldn't be able to resolve the issue). They have a script they work from, I get it, but it is so discouraging to realize the problem you have is clearly above their pay grade. Anyone who has been near me when I'm dealing with the phone company knows they can really push all of my buttons. The one thing that kept me grounded this time was when I'd start to get wound up, I'd look over at the TV set and realize I don't really have a problem, I have an inconvenience.

John
--
John Fisher
Couture Model Management
900 West Avenue, Suite 423
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
305 534-9322
http://www.johnfisher.com
http://www.couturemiami.com
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Re: Bizarro World
Old 09-05-2005, 01:44 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'm sorry,
what were you saying?
I got distracted. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]
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Re: Bizarro World
Old 09-05-2005, 01:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Erin looks great in those shots. Way to go Fish and Erin..

Mike That Look Photo
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