[unisog] AOL and forwarding

Lanham, Sean slanham at uta.edu
Fri Oct 7 15:09:04 GMT 2005

If you receive these types of emails, I strongly suggest that you track
down the problem and resolve it. AOL will blacklist your email server if
the complaint rate gets beyond an acceptable level. However, they will
not tell you what that level is or how they come to calculate it. We
have had servers blacklisted for a complaint level of 2.1%. You can
eventually get it removed and white listed but it took us weeks to get
them to complete the request.

-----Original Message-----
From: unisog-bounces at lists.sans.org
[mailto:unisog-bounces at lists.sans.org] On Behalf Of Joseph Brennan
Sent: Friday, October 07, 2005 9:43 AM
To: unisog list
Subject: [unisog] AOL and forwarding

We've had a few of these in recent months:

From: postmaster at aol.com
Subject: AOL email concerns for columbia.edu
To: undisclosed-recipients:;

Dear columbia.edu,

You are receiving this message via our automated "Report Card" process 
(which helps analyze AOL's
Internet inbound mail) because our available data indicate that 
columbia.edu has risen above the acceptable
threshold for complaints:

*Complaint rate: 0.49%


We get the SComp reports, and almost all of the complaints are about
mail from outside the university, forwarded by our users to their aol

We reject some 50% of mail as spam or virus.  Some colleges do not
spam at all, but just mark it, and if we did that we'd be sending AOL
more spam than we do.

What are other colleges doing about AOL?

Or do we forward much more mail to AOL than most places?  One reason we
might is that we run an alumni forwarding service on the main mail
Alumni get as much spam as anybody but it's not balanced by much mail
from our own users, so their percent must be pretty high.

Joseph Brennan
Columbia University Information Technology

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