The Helm email server – now blocked by Microsoft

This is an automated email from your Helm Server.

I'm sorry to have to inform you that your message could not
be delivered to one or more recipients. It's attached below.

For information about why this might happen visit our support
article here:

<>: host[]
    said: 550 5.7.1 Unfortunately, messages from [] weren't sent.
    Please contact your Internet service provider since part of their network
    is on our block list (S3140). You can also refer your provider to
    [] (in reply to MAIL
    FROM command)

I don’t know who is at fault here. On the one hand, I’m sympathetic to the problem of spam. I am an email administrator, after all.

And by the way, it used to work. Last time I successfully sent mail to the same guy was on May 7th. So the change has been within the last week.

If Microsoft really is getting spam from then I can’t blame them for blocking it.

On the other hand, the link they provide says essentially “sign up with ReturnPath, Inc, and we won’t piss on your head any more”. I have no idea how much an investment Microsoft has in ReturnPath, nor do I know what ReturnPath’s revenue model is.

I do not know how many IP addresses Helm uses for their outbound mail. It could be just the one. If that’s the case, I’m screwed. If they have multiple, then they need to figure out who the bad actors are, and move them. Bad guys over there, good guys over here.

That assumes that there are bad actors. I don’t know that spammers would actually go to the expense of buying a Helm email server. It wasn’t inexpensive. To just send spam, I could hire a cloud mail server far cheaper. But if someone is stupid enough to think they can make money sending spam, then maybe they are stupid enough to think that the Helm service would give them a pass. And if they did, and Helm doesn’t try to scan and block for such a thing, then yeah, it could be that I side with Microsoft here. I’d hate that; but I’d have to admit that they are on the correct side of the problem here. is Amazon, of course. Helm is sending the mail from AWS. Of course, the Amazon model is that they will sell their services to anyone; including dirty filthy spammers, may they all get Covid-19 and expire painfully. If Amazon has lumped the Helm customers in with their spammer customers, then there may be nothing Helm can do about it.

But then, I have no way to know if Microsoft is simply pissing on email senders for using AWS. It wouldn’t be the first time Microsoft sabotaged customers for using a competing product. Is this yet another example of “DOS isn’t done until Lotus won’t run“? Does Microsoft happen to be running ads now, with a picture of a crash helmet, and the caption “Wouldn’t you rather host your email with a cloud provider that isn’t on ReturnPath’s block list?”

Anyway. I’ve moved most of my email over to the Helm email server, and now it’s turning out to be a bad thing. Perhaps my corporate overlords are trying to punish me for straying from their cage.

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