Microsoft appears to have delivered the unwanted Christmas gift of email blacklisting to Linode’s IP addresses, and two weeks into 2022, the company doesn’t seem ready to back down.
The problems started when large parts of the world started packing their bags for the holiday season. Complaints surfaced on Linode’s support forums when customers started having problems sending emails to Microsoft 365 accounts from their own email servers.
On this thread, a Linode staff member acknowledged there was a problem and suggested a number of alternative third-party email services as a workaround and said, “Microsoft has acknowledged[d] the problem and examine it [sic].”
More recently, the Linode team offered to swap affected IPv4 addresses for unaffected ones – or, for a fee, they will add new ones for users experiencing the problem. “While we can’t control how long it takes Microsoft to resolve issues on their end,” Linode said, “we have potential solutions we can offer to help customers avoid the current bounces. from ‘Banned Sender'”.
The issue also surfaced on Microsoft’s own forums when users asked for banned sender bounces for emails from Linode IP addresses. “Most of our customers, but not all of them hosted at Microsoft, are not receiving our emails because of this issue,” one user said.
Blocking IP addresses to prevent the delivery of unwanted email isn’t a particularly complicated concept, although Microsoft has perhaps been a little more enthusiastic about it than strictly necessary over the years. In 2019, tsoHost’s bulk email domain found itself on the wrong track for Outlook and Hotmail addresses and getting out of it again proved to be a bit difficult.
Linode itself is infrastructure as a service, with data centers spread across the globe. One can host his apps (including messaging services) and data on his platform as an alternative to the big boys. Until Microsoft decided to slap the IP addresses that one sends from a blocklist.
It should be possible to remove addresses, but users have reported issues. “Removal request via their automated portal does not work as it claims IP addresses are not blocked,” said Register reader David Bennett.
“I personally have half a dozen servers with them and the only way I manage to progress is to open tickets as I’m also a 365 client and ask for an escalation until I finally find someone. one who has access to the super secret list.
“This is a really big deal for tons of businesses, charities, etc., given how many people use 365 for their email and how many sites rely on being able to email them. -mails!”
This certainly highlights the number of people who have entrusted their email management to Microsoft over the past few years. Everything is fine until something is added to the blacklist and can no longer be removed.
The problem seems to be easing a bit in recent days – some Linode users have reported that after pleading, pleading and stepping up (like our reader), some IPs have been released. Others, however, remain resolutely in the cold.
As a sad little post on the Linode forums put it: “As [with] a lot of Microsoft stuff, it seems somewhat arbitrary what [sic] whether they react or not.”
And Bennet? “One of ours that had been fixed is now blocked by Hotmail instead…sigh.”
The register contacted Linode for his thoughts on the matter.
A spokesperson said the issue was “currently the number one priority for our Trust and Safety team. We are reiterating changes that we believe will help resolve this issue, and have been working with Microsoft to identify the issue and the resolve as soon as possible. Our community team will update the thread as soon as there is a resolution.”
We also asked Microsoft for their perspective. We’ll update this article if it responds. ®