AOL Mail Problem

chuck goolsbee chucklist at
Thu Jul 27 16:28:24 UTC 2006

>I managed to get a whitelist on the domains in
>question, which... unless you classify phpbb notifications as "spam"
>have never been even remotely associated with spamming.

The fatal flaw in AOL's feedback system is that it is user-generated, 
and users will classify virtually anything as "spam". It is actually 
quite entertaining to skim the scomp feed... ecommerce 
confirmation/shipping notifications, mailing lists they subbed 
themselves to, personal correspondence(!), etc. I have heard that the 
AOL mail UI puts the "report as spam" button right next to the 
"delete" button, which perhaps accounts for the error rate which (at 
least in our case) exceeds 96%.

That said, we still find it exceedingly valuable. Once we were able 
to build a filter-set to separate the wheat from the chaff (the 
above-mentioned bozo-generated errors and forwarders), the feedback 
loop actually performs as advertised & intended: It provides an extra 
mallet in the "whack-a-mole" game of finding the exploited web forms, 
compromised machines, etc.

AOL may have clueless users, but AOL's postmaster group has their 
feces amalgamated. I wish I could say the same for Yahoo, Comcast, 
MSN/Hotmail, etc etc. (ESPECIALLY Yahoo!)

--chuck goolsbee
digital.forest, seattle

More information about the NANOG mailing list