Tom Diehl on 29 May 2005 20:53:43 -0000

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[PLUG] Re: AOL weird spam behavior

On Sun, 29 May 2005 16:27:56 -0400, Jeff Abrahamson <> Wrote:
> I'm trying to figure out how to handle AOL.
> I was having trouble with AOL not accepting mail from me.  I would get
> messages like this from them:
>     This message was created automatically by mail delivery software (Exim).
>     A message that you sent could not be delivered to one or more of its
>     recipients. This is a permanent error. The following address(es) failed:
>       <addressee>
>         SMTP error from remote mailer after end of data:
>         host []: 554-:
>          (HVU:B1)
> Following the URL, I talked to them, they cleared whatever it was on
> their servers and set up a "complaint loop".  Here's the faq entry on
> that:
>     13 How do I setup a Feedback Loop with AOL so that I will receive
>     my AOL Spam Complaints back?


The problem with their feedback loop is that the strip the original sender
out of the message. As a result you have no idea who reported it as spam.

> I set this up.  All of the complaints are AOL users complaining about
> legitimate mail coming from hosted lists to which they have
> subscribed.

Do you actually know who reported the message as spam?? That is the info I
want. Then I could simply unsubscribe them. 

> So now I again can't send to AOL addresses.  I'm not sure what I want
> to do.  One possibility is to notify all AOL subscribers on purple
> hosted lists that they are being unsubcribed because of the draconian
> policies of their ISP and the irresponsible behavior of a few.  This
> seems outrageous of me.  But it's absurd for AOL to behave this way,
> also.

Have you tried registering to get your servers white-listed. AOL will do
that as long as you meet their requirments. If you have not already you might
want to sign up for SPAM-L. AOL's mail admins monitor that list.

> Has anyone else encountered this?  Any thoughts on how best to deal
> with it?

Yep!! It is a PITA. In my case my lists are low enough traffic that the
few responses I get back from the feedback loop do not normally stop my
servers from sending to AOL. I did get black listed once due to a mistake
on the part of one of the list admins. Fixing the problem and waiting a
few hours got rid of the black listing. In the meantime in order to send mail
to them I switched the ip address of the mail server until the original ip was
once again allowed to send mail. Took less than 12 hours.

Do you have SPF records setup?? AOL says that although they will not
approve or deny based soley on SPF records you have a better chance of
getting your mail through if you have them.

I thought about trying to add an X-something header to outbound mailman messages
to somehow identify who reported the message as spam. That way I would simply 
unsubscribe them. Someone else on SPAM-L was complaining about AOL stripping
the TO: address out of the header but alas no one offered a good solution to
the problem. :-(


Tom Diehl		Spamtrap address
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