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The company I work for has between 600 and 800 people working globally. We generate a LOT of e-mail, as you might imagine. Here recently I have been getting a rash of calls about e-mail from here to AOL being delayed.

I remember reading this article about AOL’s plan to implement a fee for bulk e-mail messages.

Basically, if you want to send a certain amount of e-mail to AOL users and you don’t pay your e-mail priority is lowered.

I had one user here who indicated that they sent an e-mail to their spouse’s AOL address and it took two days to get delivered.

While I was discussing this one of our engineers forwarded me the following:

Some interesting news that I thought that I would share with you, and this may be old news to you but it was new news to me.

Late last week one of our employees started receiving Marshal “˜your email has been delayed’ messages on some (but not all) email that he was sending to his wife @aol.com. Since I had implemented the new HOU MTA servers, we were thinking that there was some correlation of his issue and it being related to the implementation of the new servers.

I was able to recreate his delayed email situation by sending 4 test emails to the employees wife @aol.com. It appears that one of the four emails made it through to her, the others were queued on our side. After searching the MM logs, there was a link within the logs pointing to http://postmaster.info.aol.com/errors/421rlynw.html. This url basically says that ourcompany.com is a spamming website and we have been throttled as a domain to only be allowed a small percentage of bandwidth of email thru at a time. This is a per domain restriction, not a per user restriction. However, our company could if it chooses, pay AOL a fee to become a “˜certified’ email sender with AOL, which would allow us more bandwidth for sending emails. If choose not to pay the fee, then we will be throttled to only allow certain amounts of email data thru their pipe at a time, which is our current situation. As a result, mail to aol.com is being queued on our side until eventually there is enough bandwidth to allow the email to go thru. The side effect is that the sender will be receiving delayed messages from MM.

The MM folks tell me that yahoo.com is going to be implementing the same thing soon too. There are several other domains that also have adopted this philosophy, but I do not have their email domains.

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Interestingly enough, we are not listed on any of the RBLs (Real-Time Blacklists) so I don’t know what criteria AOL used to determine we were a “spamming” company.

And to think, I defended AOL not too long ago.

It’s official, AOL sucks! @!*#

2 thoughts on “It’s official, AOL sucks! @!*#

  • February 28, 2006 at 5:33 pm
    Permalink

    a few months ago we got a similar kind of treatment from aol at my place of employment. we got a couple of different error code responses from them. i don’t recall off the top of my head which ones they were. i ended up contacting their technical support and signing up for their “scomp” service (or whatever it is called, the “feedback loop” which lets you see what is coming from you that aol users are submitting as spam). plus they said they whitelisted our main outbound mail ips. (we didn’t have to pay any money. but then we’re an edu, so that may give special privs.)

    from getting the scomp forwards, one thing i’ve noticed is that some people have forwarding set up to their aol accounts. when spam manages to slip through our system and gets to their aol account, they click on it as being spam. this puts *our* ip as the spammer since that’s the ip that connected to the aol mail servers, even though we’re not actually the originator of the spam. in a sense that *is* relaying, but not open relaying. and i don’t think it takes many reported spam messages to get on aol’s list. so you might want to cast a glance at your end users.

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