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Founded1998; 25 years ago (1998)
FounderJulian Haight

SpamCop is an email spam reporting service, allowing recipients of unsolicited bulk or commercial email to report IP addresses found by SpamCop's analysis to be senders of the spam to the abuse reporting addresses of those IP addresses. SpamCop uses these reports to compile a list of computers sending spam called the "SpamCop Blocking List" or "SpamCop Blacklist" (SCBL).


SpamCop was founded by Julian Haight in 1998 as an individual effort. As the reporting service became more popular, staff were added and the SCBL became more useful. It has commonly been the target of DDoS attacks and lawsuits from organizations listed in the SCBL.

Email security company IronPort Systems announced its acquisition of SpamCop on November 24, 2003,[1] but it remained independently run by Julian Haight. A small staff and volunteer help in its forum.

IronPort agreed to become a division of Cisco Systems on January 4, 2007,[2] effectively making SpamCop a Cisco service. Julian Haight left approximately two years after the Cisco acquisition.[3]

SpamCop views itself as an attempt to stop spam without the necessity of governmental intervention, but because it lacks the power of a government or large ISP, it may have greater difficulty dealing with spammers' expertise as well as the large bot networks that they control and that they used to cripple Blue Security with a massive DDoS attack.[4]

SpamCop previously provided paid email accounts through Corporate Email Services (CES). On August 9, 2014, in an email to email account holders, CES announced that "[a]s of September 30, 2014 (Tuesday) 6pm ET, the current SpamCop Email service will be converted to email forwarding-only with spam filtered by SpamCop for all existing SpamCop Email users" and that "SpamCop will no longer provide IMAP or POP service [after that date]."[5]

As of 10:31:56 UTC on 31 January 2021, the domain and all sub-domains of resolved to a domain parking service due to the domain being expired. Later that day the domain was renewed and the service was again running. The outage resulted in messages being rejected due to the blacklist DNS entries all directing to the domain parking service.[6]


SpamCop is effective at helping ISPs, web hosts and email providers identify accounts that are being abused and shut them down before the spammer finishes operations. SpamCop provides information from its reports to third parties who are also working to fight spam, amplifying the impact of its services beyond its own reach.


For first-time SpamCop Reporters, the SpamCop Parsing and Reporting Service requires that the reporter manually verify that each submission is spam and that the destinations of the spam reports are correct. People who use tools to automatically report spam, who report email that is not spam, or report to the wrong people may be fined or banned. This verification requires extra time and effort. Despite these steps, reports to innocent bystanders do happen and ISPs may need to configure SpamCop to not send further reports if they do not want to see them again.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Press release: Ironport System Acquires SpamCop 24 November 2003, accessed 11 August 2007
  2. ^ Cisco Announces Agreement to Acquire IronPort 4 January 2007, accessed 9 October 2008
  3. ^ D'Minion, Don. "Reporting problems today? - SpamCop Discussion Forums entry 81639". Archived from the original on 22 June 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012.
  4. ^ Hansell, Saul (9 November 2003). "Spammers Can Run but They Can't Hide". The New York Times. p. 1. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  5. ^ "SpamCop Email Service Changes - SpamCop Discussion". Archived from the original on 2014-08-12. Retrieved 2014-08-10.
  6. ^ "Countless emails wrongly blocked as spam after Cisco's SpamCop failed to renew domain name at the weekend". The Register. Retrieved 2020-02-02.

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