AOL Mail May Not Be Your Friend

If you’re using AOL for your e-mail, realize that you aren’t getting a lot of your legitimate mail anymore. My domain is one that AOL has blocked, in spite of the fact that I only send out personal e-mails at the rate of one or two a day. I guarantee that I’m not the only legitimate AOL blockee. I suspect that AOL’s much touted new spam-filters actually cut off entire blocks of subdomains, eliminating some big spammers in those blocks, no doubt, but also hundreds or thousands of legitimate domains within those same blocks. If you want all your real e-mail, demand that AOL move to a trainable fuzzy-logic system. Or just get a better ISP.

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

6 comments… add one
  • Holly Lisle Oct 22, 2003 @ 6:38

    You may want to check out http://postmaster.aol.com

    That’s the official site to complain if your mail is being blocked. I can assure you that it will be checked into. =)

    Considering they don’t even give a contact e-mail address that I could find, I’m not holding my breath.

    Having looked over their "it’s your problem, not OUR problem” site, I’m sticking with my previous plan. I’m simply not answering e-mails sent from AOL that don’t include an alternate non-AOL address. Sorry, but it takes me time to answer e-mails and I don’t feel like wasting that time on something that is just going to bounce back to me without ever reaching its recipient.

  • Liz Oct 22, 2003 @ 12:20

    You may want to check out http://postmaster.aol.com

    That’s the official site to complain if your mail is being blocked. I can assure you that it will be checked into. =)

  • Holly Lisle Oct 20, 2003 @ 15:42

    I haven’t had anyone tell me that they’ve sent mail that’s bounced. I’ve had one or two ad newsletters that I subscribe to end up in the spam folder, but no problems with personal email that I know of.

    Could be they don’t know how else to get in touch with you. The e-mails I’ve sent to AOL addresses haven’t gone through and landed in spam filters, by the way. They have been entirely blocked. And no, I haven’t complained to AOL. I suspect that would be futile.

    I will note that I won’t be responding to any @aol.com addresses anymore, so if you write to me and have an alternative e-mail address, please use that. Still can’t guarantee answers, but I have been answering a few things.

  • Amanda Oct 20, 2003 @ 14:49

    AOL is definitely taking the big brother role too seriously these days. While I applaud their spam filters that subscribers can use, AOL does block e-mails that originate from certain providers. This hit the news in my neck of the woods when one of our local internet providers had to threaten to sue AOL because all of its subscribers — no matter who or what they were.

    I gave up on AOL as a provided several years ago because of their prices. Can’t say that I’ve ever regretted it.

  • Linda Sprinkle Oct 20, 2003 @ 11:46

    I haven’t had anyone tell me that they’ve sent mail that’s bounced. I’ve had one or two ad newsletters that I subscribe to end up in the spam folder, but no problems with personal email that I know of.

    What’s really odd is that every once in a while one of the emails from a listserv I belong to doesn’t show up in my mailbox. I find out about it when I check out the online group archives. But it doesn’t block all of the mail, just one or two a month. Weird!

    I’m sure you’ve complained to them and I hope they get it fixed so people with AOL can get email from you. Good luck!

  • Stephen Oct 20, 2003 @ 10:00

    AOL provides a spam folder that AOLers can use to return restricted addresses back to active. You can also completely turn off AOL mail spam filters if you choose. I check my spam folder with AOL about once a week for legit email. Just this week alone AOL trapped over 400 spam emails for me. (Look, spammers, even if I needed Viagra, there’s only so many prescriptions I could get filled. But thanks for thinking my sex life is that active …) Three of the bulk emails (Dell, Staples, WalMart) were ones that I wanted. I use SpamStopper for my Outlook, but it doesn’t do as well.

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