North American Network Operators Group

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Re: AOL Mail Problem

  • From: chuck goolsbee
  • Date: Thu Jul 27 12:29:38 2006

I managed to get a whitelist on the domains in
question, which... unless you classify phpbb notifications as "spam"
have never been even remotely associated with spamming.

The fatal flaw in AOL's feedback system is that it is user-generated, and users will classify virtually anything as "spam". It is actually quite entertaining to skim the scomp feed... ecommerce confirmation/shipping notifications, mailing lists they subbed themselves to, personal correspondence(!), etc. I have heard that the AOL mail UI puts the "report as spam" button right next to the "delete" button, which perhaps accounts for the error rate which (at least in our case) exceeds 96%.

That said, we still find it exceedingly valuable. Once we were able to build a filter-set to separate the wheat from the chaff (the above-mentioned bozo-generated errors and forwarders), the feedback loop actually performs as advertised & intended: It provides an extra mallet in the "whack-a-mole" game of finding the exploited web forms, compromised machines, etc.

AOL may have clueless users, but AOL's postmaster group has their feces amalgamated. I wish I could say the same for Yahoo, Comcast, MSN/Hotmail, etc etc. (ESPECIALLY Yahoo!)

--chuck goolsbee digital.forest, seattle