Spam is a huge problem. If you don’t run an email service, you probably have no idea. When my business was in full swing, in spite of being a small (sub-million dollar) operation I was getting ten thousand spamming attempts per day at our email server. Ten thousand. Per day. I’m not talking about the kind of spam that is businesses abusing your trust by sending you multiple ads after you make a purchase. I’m talking about genuine unsolicited, bulk, commercial email of the penis pills, invest in cryptocurrency, borrow money to get out of debt, vote for me, help me get my princely millions out of Nigeria kind of spam.

Google offers a lot of services that can be abused to send spam: not just gmail, but any of their cloud servers can generate spew. Of course, Google makes everybody pinky-swear that they won’t send spam using their systems, but somehow that spam gets generated anyway. This is a problem that anybody who runs online services has to deal with. Fortunately, there’s a standard, well-established way for victims to report spammers: the whois service will tell you the registered abuse email address for the originating IP address, and you send an email to that address with the offending message and headers. That allows the owner of the IP address to take action against the spammers.

Google ignores these abuse reports.

Their claim is that they’re just too big to handle them. That’s right, Google claims that because they’re facilitating so much spam and abuse on the net, they cannot possibly process abuse emails.

Too. Big. To. Care.

Too busy lining their pockets with the income they generate to be responsible users of the internet.

Instead, they require that you fill out an abuse report online and, like all such contact forms, it sucks. They request that you “Please provide any abusive IP addresses or URLs that would help us identify the involved parties. If available, please provide full HTTP request headers.” Then give you a measly 1,000 character field that won’t begin to hold the information they requested. That’s if you’re lucky enough to be trying to report on a day when their form actually works.

These barriers really cut down on the number of people willing to report abuse, creating a haven for abusers.

Another day. Another instance of Google being evil.


addendum 2024-05-10

It should be noted that Google isn’t the only big player in this space that just can’t seem to get it together to police abuse on their services. AWS (Amazon web services), for example, actually has a spam filter running on their abuse address. So if you attach a copy of the offending spam — as you are supposed to do — your abuse report will get rejected as spam. People trust their entire businesses to these geniuses.

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