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Email Feedback Loops(FBLs)

Managing the reputation of your IP addresses is an important step in ensuring that emails sent by your customers reach their destination. One important step in maintaining the reputation of your IP address is joining an email Feedback Loop(FBL). An FBL is a service provided by many webmail and internet service providers. What an FBL does is, it generates a report each time an email is reported as “spam”, and it sends that report to the owner of the IP address from which that “spam” mail originated.


As a hosting service provider, it is likely that you allow the hosting of mailing lists/bulk senders. Even if you don’t, joining an FBL will allow you to track any email sent from your server that has been reported as spam. With the detailed report, you will be able to track down the account on your server from which these mails originated. Deciding what to do with that account will depend on the spam report. A person could subscribe to a mailing list and later forget about it. Later, when they start receiving mail from the list they might use the “report spam” feature of their service provider. With the spam report you receive, you will be able to check the contents of the mail and make a decision as to whether to suspend that hosting account, or just ask them to remove that person from their mailing list. Some FBLs employ automated virus detection software to generate reports, thus letting you know if any account on your server might be sending out mail containing a virus.


Subscribing to an FBL is fairly simple. You will first have to go through a verification process to establish that you are truly the owner of the IP address that you wish to add to the FBL, which is much easier than it sounds. They usually do this by sending a verification email to a domain hosted on the IP address you wish to add. Once that is done all you have to do is specify the email address to which you want the spam reports to be sent. It would be best to setup a separate email account just for this purpose, avoid using your personal email account. Some FBLs may have additional steps, and will usually have a guide/page to help you get it setup.

Now that you know about FBLs, here are a few you can join right now and start stopping those spammers!




Most ISPs will have their own FBLs, check their website and you should find the necessary information on how to join.

About the Author:

Hamish, works as a Senior Software Engineer in Bobcares. He joined Bobcares in July 2004, and is an expert in Control panels and Operating systems used in the Web Hosting industry. He is highly passionate about Linux and is a great evangelist of open-source. When he is not on his xbox, he is an avid movie lover and critic.

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Bobcares is a server management company that helps businesses deliver uninterrupted and secure online services. Our engineers manage close to 51,500 servers that include virtualized servers, cloud infrastructure, physical server clusters, and more.