Listwashing is the systematic removal of complainants from an illicitly gathered address list with no other action taken to stop spamming the remainder of the list. Listwashing removes spam symptoms without curing the underlying problem. ISPs which simply pass abuse reports on to their spamming customers without investigation or further consequences are aiding in listwashing and spamming. Listwashing is often done in conjunction with snowshoe spamming and waterfalling to attempt to clean bad lists and improve deliverability, rather than simply using OPT IN address acquisition in the first place. Listwashers nearly always include per-recipient codes in the headers and payload URLs. Together with careful list segmentation, dirty lists can be washed to a clean enough state that some ESPs are willing to risk sending spam by importing those lists.

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