AOL Mail Problem

William Yardley nanog at
Thu Jul 27 16:59:28 UTC 2006

On Thu, Jul 27, 2006 at 09:28:24AM -0700, chuck goolsbee wrote:
> > 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... 

They have a very large user-base, though.

In my experience (though I haven't been dealing with this as much in the
past year and a half or so), it takes a lot of user complaints to
trigger any sort of block, and it's also based on the percentage of
complaints to total mail. And that's only just one part of their
blocking system.

> 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.


Keeping in mind that they are not only a huge email provider, but also
that their user-base is mostly not exactly tech savvy, I think Carl,
Charles et al do a pretty good job over there.

AOL was also one of the first big providers to publish their mail
acceptance guidelines and to make a really big effort to communicate
with mail senders. I remember sending a frustrated email to the AOL
postmaster a few years back (when they were first starting to do this)
in desparation over something or other (probably backscatter), and being
surprised to actually get a response from an intelligent human.

Dealing with their postmaster team can still take a while sometimes, but
they'll generally respond.


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