[unisog] AOL rejects forwarding?

Bob Johnson bob88 at eng.ufl.edu
Tue Nov 2 22:16:05 GMT 2004

This is standard practice for AOL.  If their users complain of spam, 
they block the system they got the spam from, regardless of whether it 
originated with you or you forwarded it for a legitimate user.  Part of 
the problem is that their users hit the spam button for anything they 
don't want to see, whether it is legitimate or not.  If a department 
sends a monthly newsletter to its students, and some of them forward 
their mail to AOL, then they are likely to hit the spam button if they 
aren't interested in reading it.

Try the feedback loop and see what it tells you, but if you need to talk 
to a real human you will need to be persistent and polite.  It took our 
mail system manager several days of waiting on hold to talk to the right 
person to get it straightened out when it happened here.

I would expect it to help a bit if you can tell them you have 4,000 (or 
whatever) users forwarding mail to AOL, and you are going to have to 
start prohibiting that in order to protect your servers from being 
blacklisted.  In other words, AOL stands to lose a significant portion 
of 4,000 customers because the service isn't useful to them any more.

- Bob

Joseph Brennan wrote:
> We noticed that AOL was starting to refuse mail from our incoming
> mail system.  These are the hosts that handle incoming mail to
> columbia.edu.  They send mail when the columbia.edu address forwards
> delivery to another address.  So the mail in question is mail from
> outside that we are forwarding to AOL addresses.  This mail is
> filtered for spam and executables first-- not all is re-sent.
> The result of an inquiry to AOL is the message below.  This appears
> to mean that our users can no longer forward mail from outside to AOL.
> We will need to publicize this and to find a way to alert users on
> an ongoing basis.
> Of course I will call the phone number given to see whether they
> actually read my request.
> In the meantime, I would like to know whether any other edu's are
> in this situation.  You might have to have separate inbound and
> outbound hosts for the spam ratio to be high enough.  Alumni
> forwarding systems are likely to have similar ratios.
> Joseph Brennan
> postmaster at columbia.edu
> ------------ Forwarded Message ------------
> Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2004 11:26 AM -0500
> From: AOL Postmaster <postmaster at aol.com>
> To: postmaster at columbia.edu
> Subject: Your Request ,,cs
> Your Whitelist request, with the
> confirmation code 1099325016-414428, has been denied.
> Request Denied.  Your member complaints are too high.  You may be sharing
> an IP address; contact your ISP to find out if this is the case.  You may
> also want to set up a Feedback Loop to monitor complaints.  To find out
> more about a feedback loop go to
> http://postmaster.info.aol.com/tools/fbl.html.  If you are having delivery
> problems, please contact the AOL Postmaster Help Desk at 888-212-5537.
> For more information on this request, please visit our website
> or call the AOL Postmaster Helpdesk at 888-212-5537.
> Thank You,
> AOL Postmaster.

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