Website Designers and Webmasters

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Email Whitelisting at AOL

BlackList: If your website (or IP) address is on an email provider’s (like AOL) blacklist, that provider will automatically block any email coming from your IP Address.

WhiteList: You guessed it… the exact opposite of being blacklisted. That provider has recognized you as a legitimate company, and allows your mail to go through to their email clients.

Feedback Loop: When you get feedback from an email provider when your email has been marked as spam by that provider’s customers.

Problem: Email newsletters are not getting opened or, seen.
I had to get a clients IP address whitelisted on the major email providers. Unfortunately, when I got to AOL, too many subscribers had recently marked his newsletters as spam, so my request had been denied. What I did manage to do is get a “Feedback Loop” initiated.

AOL Feedback Loop
A Feedback Loop is very simple: Whenever an AOL member marks your newsletter as spam, scomp@aol.net sends you an email with a copy of the email that was marked as spam. This will allow you to remove the complainers from your subscriber base.

Note: The email you receive has the headers removed, so you will have to customize your email newsletters so that you can tell who you sent the newsletter to from the body of the newsletter. This is simply done by propagating information to the bottom of every email newsletter before you send it out.

Here is an Example of a footer:

This email was sent to:
*****@****.com at 1:32:56AM.

Then when you receive the complaint, you will be able to see that when you send emails to *****@****.com, they will get marked as spam. And now you can remove them.

Why don’t people use the unsubscribe link?

I can tell you why I don’t use the unsubscribe link on what I think is spam: Some email spammers would prefer to send out spam to random email addresses to see if they will respond. And that unsubscribe link could just send a “I use the email address, spam me!” to the email spammers, and then it’s all over.

How to Get an AOL Feedback Loop Started:

Go to http://www.postmaster.aol.com/fbl/fblinfo.html and read up on how the Feedback loop works. Then fill out and submit the Feedback Loop Request Form.

That should get you started on the road to being whitelisted at AOL!

-Good Luck
-Ashton Sanders

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1 Comment »

  1. Nice, good to know. If I ever have to deal with AOL badness this was definitely a helpful post

    Comment by Kerry — March 9, 2007 @ 8:09 am

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