Anti-spam site ORBS has vanished from the Internet, leaving just the line: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, the ORBS website is no longer available". Its phone has been disconnected. And we can't find one person that can tell us what is going on (the fact that it's in the early hours in New Zealand at the moment doesn't help).
Mind you, this isn't the first time ORBS has died. Back in November 1998, company head Alan Hodgson announced its telco BC Tel had decided to pull the plug after it received a large number of complaints about ORBS' testing of people's mail servers. It asked ORBS to warn sysadmins before it ran a test. Hodgson refused.
Maybe the same thing has happened again. Just a few days ago, a High Court injunction was taken out against ORBS, telling it to remove Xtra's email servers from the spam blacklist. ORBS' Alan Brown was threatened with an arrest warrant if he didn't comply with the request.
We can only wait for New Zealand to wake up and people to get back to us.
Last time ORBS was put to bed, however, after a plea by Hodgson, a number of companies offered to host ORBS instead. The company was up and running again soon after.
ORBS (Open Relay Behaviour Modification System), like arch-rival MAPS, allows ISPs to automatically block servers that have open relays, which allow spammers to send out hundreds of thousands on unsolicited email and hide their tracks. It publishes a list of servers that have open relays and ISPs use this to block traffic from them. ®