ORDB.org is dead and gone

This is not new news, ORDB.org ceased to exist on December 18., 2006

What is new is that as of 25/03/2008 15:50 CET relays.ordb.org started returning for every query – in effect causing mail servers still using ORDB.org to reject mails. Almost 16 months after the announcement of ORDB.org shutting down this has still caught many people by surprise and started a public outcry.

To summarize those threads people are now blaming the ORDB.org crew for their own incompetence and shortsightedness (words like stupid, dickish, terrorists and worse) claiming that ORDB.org is costing them money. No! You are costing ORDB.org and their associates money. For 16 months the relays.ordb.org zone has been using around 4 MB/s of traffic (that amounts to more than 33 GB per day!). Yet people are now complaining that a service they got for free is not working the way they wanted.

Let’s recap here. ORDB.org was a non-profit organization run by volunteers. The name servers where provided by organizations willing to donate bandwidth and resources to the project. As the bandwidth used by ORDB.org’s DNS queries is still substantial the owners of these servers have asked ORDB.org to do something.

Blacklisting every IP on the planet was something the ORDB.org crew opted not to do when ORDB.org was shut down. Reluctantly the decision was made to stop people from abusing the name servers associated with ORDB.org.

There has been several suggestions of better ways to handle this but none of them would have worked.

  • Giving people a heads up
    Come on, that was exactly what ORDB.org did when the service was shut down. Yet 16 months later people are still abusing the service.
  • Removing ORDB.org from DNS
    This was the original action when ORDB.org was taken out of service. This however almost took out the root servers for .org because of the insane amount of requests still going to ORDB.org
  • Null route or firewall the name servers
    As mentioned above the name servers for ORDB.org are run by various organizations and are typically not dedicated to ORDB.org. This will also have the same impact on the recursive DNS servers as the next suggestion.
  • Set the NS record for relays.ordb.org to
    While this might seem like a good idea it might will still cause problems for all users of recursive DNS server (usually the upstream ISP’s). Pointing the NS record to will cause the recursive DNS to handle all queries for relays.ordb.org, tying down resources and in worst case causing a sort of “denial of service” attack on each recursive DNS server. This would cause far more collateral damage than some mails lost here and there. It is also worth noting that a while back the NS for relays.ordb.org pointed to That didn’t slow down traffic at all.
  • Parse your log files and send an email to anyone still using the service
    So in order to cut down the bandwidth usage you are asking that ORDB.org take time to develop a script that passes a log file (mind you the DNS servers are being hit by around 100000 queries per second) – take this information and use DNS and/or whois information to dig out possible contacts for the IP and then generate an email to the contacts. Further more the connections in the log file will be coming from the recursive DNS servers and not the mail server actually still using ORDB.org. This is not only improbable it is downright stupid.

Responses to some of the more ridiculous statements

  • ORDB.org is not going to sell the domain
  • ORDB.org will not be made available to domain squatters
  • ORDB.org is not a terrorist organization and returning “false positives” is not an terrorist act.
  • ORDB.org is not blocking any mails – at all!
  • ORDB.org has not taken this step to deliberately cause harm to users – but to flush out incompetent mail admins and stupid system owners.
  • ORDB.org is not a bunch of inconsiderate dicks. The team consists a people with many years of experience running large scale mail servers, Internet services and networks. The team has devoted much time over the last seven years to try and rid the Internet of open relays.

ORDB.org would like to thank anyone who has ever supported us – including the ones standing up for us in the forums.

Update 2008-04-28: Comon.dk has published an article on ORDB.org. Read my reply (in Danish) here