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One of our clients sent us an email this morning letting us know that they couldn’t send an email to a client.
They forwarded the bounce message to us (below) does not like recipient.
Remote host said: 554 Service unavailable; Client host [] blocked using Barracuda Reputation;
Giving up on

Simple enough – we’re getting blocked by Barracuda Reputation, so off I go to the link to see why.

Sorry, your email was blocked

We are sorry you have reached this page because an email was blocked based on its originating IP address having a “poor” reputation. The “poor” reputation may have been caused by one of the following reasons:

* Your email server contains a virus and has been sending out spam.
* Your email server may be misconfigured.
* Your PC may be infected with a virus or botnet software program.
* Someone in your organization may have a PC infected with a virus or botnet program.
* You may be utilizing a dynamic IP address which was previously utilized by a known spammer.
* Your marketing department may be sending out bulk emails that do not comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
* You may have an insecure wireless network which is allowing unknown users to use your network to send spam.
* In some rare cases, your recipient’s Barracuda Spam Firewall may be misconfigured.

A quick check of our ip space over at a more legitimate place shows we’re fine –

I double check with a rbl lookup over here –, nope, we’re clean as a whistle.

However, on the same page, they have an big button helpfully letting us know that:

Many Barracuda Spam & Virus Firewalls are configured, as a policy, to automatically deliver email that comes from sources that are properly registered at

Ok, so follow the link through to, and sign up.
Looks good until we get to the – a $20 fee will be charged per domain per year.

Hmm, so email will possibly be blocked by Barracuda unless I pay them $20 a year.
Sounds like Blackmail to me.

I also note that although appears to be a separate entity, it is in fact owned by Barracuda. So a neutral third party blocking service just so happens to be owned by the people doing the blocking. If thats not a conflict of interest, I don’t know what is!
This is actually illegal in some countries, although apparently, not the USA.
It also doesn’t stop actual spammers coughing up money, and getting greenlisted.

Seems the rest of the net agrees with us on this one.

Quote from Mike E. that pretty much sums it up: I feel compelled to add this. If I’m paying Barracuda for a appliance to filter out spam and they in turn are being paid by spammers to allow their messages through my spam firewall, how is that different than an antivirus company taking money from somone that write viruses to have their product not detect a virus? None. It’s slimy.

So, in future when clients are unable to send mail to people using Barracuda firewall devices, I’ll be able to point them to this post, and let them know the situation.

We don’t like spam either, and work hard to avoid clients misusing our services.
However, we don’t blackmail senders into paying us money to accept their mail.

For a rundown on legitimate practices, read this:

Further References/Complaints: (Trad Chinese)