E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.


I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!


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Comcast's blacklist

So, there's a bit of a stink brewing about Comcast's SMTP blacklist. Once again, Comcast decided to block mail forwarded from the Well to Comcast addresses, and they have been raising similar havoc elsewhere. Nothing gets people pissed off like messing with their email.

It's possible that Comcast's admins are well-intentioned, but it's also possible that this is part of a business strategy to push people from small ISPs (who sporadically get blocked by Comcast) to Comcast itself (which happens never to get blocked by Comcast).

Either way, the irony is thick. In the couple years I've been really paying attention, hijacked Comcast customer machines have been one of the leading sources of spam sent to my server.

My recommended solution? Don't use Comcast (or any other broadband provider) for email, ever. First, you might be tempted to give out your @comcast address, and then you won't want to move because it's a hassle changing addresses. But even without that problem, you've got this blacklist weenie situation.

Keep using Comcast for internet access if you like, but for email either set up your own domain and hosting and use your host's email services, or just get yourself a Gmail account. (Unlike most webmail offerings, Gmail can be accessed via POP, can be forwarded wherever you want, and can be sent with whatever Reply-To address you like.)

Update: The San Jose Mercury News now has a story about the situation.
Update 8/30: Apparently, the particular situation with the Well has been resolved. That doesn't mean that Comcast doesn't suck though.

Tuesday, August 29th, 2006
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0 comments pending approval
Comment from kathy branstetter , later that day

Heck! Sign up for an account on The WELL, and pick up your mail directly from The WELL.

Just don't forward to Comcast!

Comment from Bob Griggs , 6 months later

This comment on your article is a bit belated, but the Comcast problem has not gone away. Having become a victim myself, I noticed that very few fellow victims offer a solution to the problem.

I have published a site where victims of the Comcast blacklist can not only find some strategies that might work to lift the block but also tell their own stories.


Comment from jason bourne , 13 months later

blacklist_comcastnet@cable.comcast.com email here to get black list taken care of.

Comment from Randi , 18 months later

YA! WOO! I work at Convergys (one of the places that Comcast has decided to outsource their support team through)... I hate Comcast and they honestly do not give us the proper tools or access to support their services (which is why it is usually hard for customers to get support). Believe me, it would be easier for customers and us to help and be happy if we were given the proper tools. As for the blacklist thing. Supposedly it is done by a pattern of people sending off a mass amount of emails... Either way, this person is overly correct. "My recommended solution? Don't use Comcast (or any other broadband provider) for email, ever. " This is seriously what I say to myself and coworkers when customers come in threatening to change providers because they cannot log into their emails, or they cannot use personal web pages. You know what? There's hotmail, gmail, yahoo mail, etc, tons of places to get a free email address that will be accessible for as long as you want (hotmail as long as you check it every 30 days atleast). The complimentary email address through your internet provider, which most people do not realize is unaccessible after you discontinue services (and then of course they get angry at us because they were not told, when it is common sense) is pretty much pointless.

Heres another, personal web pages? Once again, not accessible once you discontinue service, why not use an Angelfire, or Geocities account, where it is easier to create an update your website anyways?

The blacklist thing, there is also another form to fill out here if emailing does not work : http://www.comcastsupport.com/Forms/NET/blockedprovider.asp and there is also a phone number I just got today which apparently is where you can call to see if you can get the IP removed as well : 1 856 317 7272

Good luck!

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