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Knowledgebase: Mailing Lists/ezmlm
AOL Spam Complaints Received
Posted on 17 September 2007 01:41 AM

AOL has had a spam policy in place for some time now that allows users of their services to report and file spam complaints for the email they receive. It is believed that many of the spam complaints that are lodged are actually unintentional, such as by an AOL subscriber who is using the spam button as a delete button without understanding the impact, the user inadvertently hitting the spam button due to its reported close proximity to the delete button, or having the spam report automatically filed as a result of incoming email being filtered into their spam folder.

Here are some steps to take in an effort to prevent this from happening:

1. Never use AOL's spam button on valid and non-spam email or on ANY email that you have forwarded from your FutureQuest-hosted account to AOL. AOL does NOT review the email messages that are reported to determine whether the report is accurate or to determine the originating sender. This means any message can be reported as spam by AOL, even if it is not spam.

2. Discontinue the forwarding of email to AOL. If you opt to forward email from FutureQuest to an AOL account (not recommended), SpamAssassin must be set to DELETE any detected spam or to redirect it to an email address hosted here. You must also ensure that you do NOT mark ANY of the email that has been forwarded to AOL as spam, even if it is, as AOL will see your domain and the FutureQuest Network as the source of the spam. If spam complaints are received, it may be necessary for FutureQuest to disallow the forwarding of mail by your domain.

3. AOL recipients should ensure that the sender's email address is added to their address book and utilize any other whitelist feature AOL may provide to try to avoid having AOL automatically report and/or filter the email into the spam folder.

4. AOL recommends a spam setting of "Medium". AOL's filter is also personally adaptive to you and identifies spam and good mail based on what you report as spam or not spam. (Be sure to see #5 below for messages incorrectly identified as spam.) More details on AOL's spam filtering and reporting can be found on their site at:
AOL resource: How does the AOL Spam Filter work?

5. AOL recipients should regularly monitor their AOL spam folder and select Not Spam for any valid emails they receive. Any emails you receive to an AOL account as a result of forwarding them from FutureQuest should also be marked as Not Spam to prevent complaints against your own domain.

6. If the complaint is coming from a subscriber of your mailing list, please remove the subscriber's address immediately to deter any other complaints.

It is important that complaints are avoided.

Reference AOL's Technical Standards for E-mail Delivery:
"Complaints submitted by AOL members will be used as a basis for refusing connections from any mail server."

Some discussions within FutureQuest's Community Forums that are specific to this ongoing AOL problem are located here:
More discussions can be found using the forum's search feature.

We also encourage you to contact AOL if you should have any questions concerning the procedures that have caused them to report your domain as the source of spam or other inappropriate messages:

We thank you for your attention concerning this matter.