Overview of spam from Netcom.com

12 Aug 2006

Note: Automated spam monitoring stopped several years ago. These web pages are maintained for historical reasons. Some may be updated from time to time as news about the individual sites becomes available.

No spam today

Overview of last 4 reports

25 Feb 2000 189436284.65full headers
17 Nov 1999 148233.82full headers
02 Nov 1999 137831.84full headers
20 Oct 1999 244831.32full headers

Overview of history

Total spam since 30 Apr 1997167521735 5706.51
Peak spam on 5 May 199776410293 2729.18
Peak daily spam on 5 May 19972543431 909.73(3-day average)
Average daily spam1.316.4 4.36

full history also available

General information about Netcom.com


Netcom is a major service provider based out of San Jose, California. Because of their size, and the facilities they provide, there has always been a large amount of spam coming from them. I believe it was Netcom who pioneered the "abuse@" address for reporting abuse.

Netcom's "Zero Tolerance" policy may be found at http://www.netcom.com/netcom/zero_tolerance.html

Although Netcom has an anti-spam policy for its dial-up users, it has a pro-spam policy for its bandwidth customers.

Netcom also permits spammers to maintain web pages at Netcom as long as they do their spamming from throw-away acounts on other providers.

Netcom is also known to send their own spam. See netnews article "Netcom appears to have become a spammer"

In May, 1998, Netcom became the new host for Harris Marketing.

Netcom, like many major service providers, exerts the absolute minimum effort required to stay off the Realtime Black List and avoid the Usenet Death Penalty. Netcom allows spam problems to get worse and worse until they are added to the RBL or are threatened with UDP. They then institute whatever measures are required to avoid the RBL or UDP. Sometimes this consists of simply promising to do something about the problem.

Statistics on spam include both spam which originated at Netcom news servers and from Netcom users hijacking news servers on other systems.

In addition, Netcom has suffered "extreme attrition" in 1997:

The bottom line is that there has been extreme attrition in the Policy Management group over the last 6 months, and it is severely understaffed and lacking expertise. I have advocated taking steps to staff up and recruit, and also to make changes to the various info files that NETCOM uses to respond to problem reports. However, change is going to be slow: there will probably not be noticeable improvement for at least a couple months. This is not what anyone wants to hear, but I am not going to sugar coat reality. It should go without saying that I am doing all I can (as much as my regular duties allow) to push the process of "abuse reform" along. This includes changing NETCOM's position on "haven spam".

-- Kael Loftus, Supervisor, NETCOM Network Operations Center

(usenet message "Improving NETCOM")

Netcom Canada and Netcom U.K. are related to Netcom U.S.A., but have independent server administration, abuse management and operational policies. Netcom Canada has a strong anti-abuse policy. Netcom.ca is now tracked seperately from Netcom U.S.A.

Site History:

28 Jan 1999:
Netcom is listed in the ORBS blackhole database.
21 Jan 1999:
A Netcom executive sent advertising spam. See netnews article "Netcom appears to have become a spammer" and followup threads.
June 1998:
Netcom is now posting abuse reports in news.admin.net-abuse.bulletins. This may indicate a change in Netcom's previous pro-spam policies.
21 May 1998:
Netcom has signed on Harris Marketing
30 Mar 1998:
Morgan Hill spammer has returned to Netcom.
23 Feb 1998:
Netcom is now dealing with the spam problem. UDP put on hold; Netcom now on probation.
23 Feb 1998:
Read ABC News' article about the UDP.
17 Feb 1998:
Netcom UDP postponed until Monday, 23 Feb in order to give Netcom one full working week to respond (16 Feb was a holiday)
13 Feb 1998:
UDP has been announced against Netcom due to excessive netnews spamming. Scheduled to begin at the end of next week.
1 Feb 1998:
Netcom has promised to do something about email spam by the end of the month, and has been removed from the Realtime Blackhole List. Netcom continues to host spam web sites.
22 Dec 1997:
Netcom's open relay block ( has been added to the The MAPS Realtime Blackhole List.
18 Dec 1997:
Netzilla is using Netcom for relaying.
14 Oct 1997:
Netcom is believed to be actively censoring the outgoing email and netnews of Netcom customers, presumably to block outgoing email spam; however this also has the effect of blocking outgoing discussions and complaints about spam. See the thread entitled "Re: Netcom censors users' outgoing email" in the newsgroup news.admin.net-abuse.email
10 Oct 1997:
Netcom claims to have given their main porn spammer one week to stop spamming.
6 Oct 1997:
Netcom has a new ignore-bot which automatically informs you that "We have disabled this account". This seems to be bogus.
6 Oct 1997:
Netcom has not kicked off AdultSights.
2 Oct 1997:
Netcom seems to have finally kicked off AdultSights!
1 Oct 1997:
Open server at infocus.com closed.
1 Oct 1997:
Open server at mathbox believed to be closed.
10 Sept 1997:
Filters modified to include spam originating at Netcom but posted through a third party. In particular, the AdultSight spammer is now based at Netcom, posting through Philips.COM.
10 Sept 1997:
Netcom's rogue canceller has moved to Sprint.
8 Sept 1997:
Discussion of UDP against Netcom has begun. Vist news.admin.net-abuse.email for more information.
5 Sept 1997:
I have had contact with a live person at Netcom Canada. He has explained to me that Netcom Canada currently denies post access to all ftl-fl*.ix.netcom.com POPs. This is not quite the same as aliasing them out, but has the effect of denying access to spammers & rogue cancellers in Ft.Lauderdale (as well as legitimate Netcom.ca customers.) The situation is presumably temporary, depending on actions that Netcom U.S.A. takes, if any.
3 Sept 1997:
Rumor has it that Netcom.ca has actually aliased Netcom's Florida dialups. This may be the first case in history of an isp aliasing itself.
2 Sept 1997:
There is a rogue canceller working from Netcom. Netcom remains unresponsive to complaints. See news.admin.net-abuse.misc for more information.
29 Aug 1997:
Netcom customer Satcom.net now treated seperately. This will lower Netcom's spam counts significantly.

Netcom Pro-spam Policy:

Excerpt from Netcom form letter regarding web page complaints:
Date sent:        Fri, 6 Feb 1998 11:50:47 -0800
To:               rstarr@eskimo.com
From:             NETCOM Policy Management 
Send reply to:    
Subject:          NETCOM Policy Managment: Web Spam.


NETCOM does not monitor the contents of accountholders' personal web pages.
We acknowledge your concern, but can only withhold our own Acceptable Use 
Guidlines that each of our subscribers agrees to. If the contents of an 
Internet page is legal, we cannot discriminate media based on it's 
contents or viewpoints.

The spam you have received ADVERTISING the Netcom Personal WebPage, is not 
from this ISP. Please contact that particular ISP in order to get the 
spammers' email account disabled. 

NETCOM will not shut down a web site if an outside ISP's user advertises for 
our users web site, based on possible legal action and/or lawsuits that could 

For more information on NETCOM's policies regarding web pages, 
please see the following World Wide Web site, section 8:


NETCOM Policy Management 
NETCOM On-Line Communication Services, Inc.          abuse@netcom.com
NETCOM Policy Management:   (408) 881-3499           M-F 9AM-5PM PST
24-Hour Technical Support:  (408) 881-1810         support@netcom.com

To report spam, contact abuse@netcom.com

A complete history may also be available.

General notes:

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The opinions expressed on this page are solely those of Ed Falk and do not necessarily represent those of any other organization, (although I hope they do). I wish to thank Rahul.net for hosting this web page.

This page maintained by Ed Falk