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[epub] Re: Spam filters - Especially America Online
My list at this time is at 22,000 I do not see the issues you are talking about...although I do not mail to AOL. I am a responsible list owner and purchase lists that are double opt-in and I have a high retention rate. Since the beginning of the year I've had 2 spam complaints, or people saying they would report me. When I send them confirmations that they did actually subscribe they backed off. Keeping all subscribe info along with IP address, date and time stamp is a good thing. People do forget.
I do not ask for confirmations, I do however, include 3 ways for people to unsub in each edition. I manage my own list and will manually unsub if the other two electronic ways are malfunctioning. This week I've added a little over 2000 to my list and I've manually unsubbed 3, and 75 have removed themselves. No spam complaints.
I have no problems with ISP's and the bounces have been minimal.

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, May 01, 2004 11:25 AM
Subject: [epub] Re: Spam filters - Especially America Online

I think the way things are going, larger list publishers (i.e. lists of
2500 or more subscribers) won't have a choice but to use a list delivery
service that has developed solid relationships with ISPs.

Here are just some general pieces of tidbits some of you may be interested
in. For a number of reasons, I'll refrain from mentioning specific ISPs or
mail services. :)

Many ISPs, when white-listing a sending IP address or sender, have a
requirement not to exceed a certain number of emails per hour or within
some other time interval. So if you are managing your list on your own -
either from your desktop or using software installed on your web site, even
if you have no spam complaints about your messages, you are still likely to
see email dropped if you exceed this threshold.

Another requirement is that you keep your list clean. This means to make
sure that bouncing emails are removed. At least one of the major ISPs right
now *appears* to be dropping ALL incoming email from a source if more than
50 bounces are generating in a one hour period of time.

As far as AOL goes, I have to say that they are getting MUCH more
cooperative in working with legitimate mailers than they were previously.
If you want to know about AOL policies or are having difficulties, you can
visit These pages will tell you most of what
you'd want to know.

The biggest problem we've seen with people having difficulty with getting
through to AOL is the use of unsupported HTML tags. AOL will not accept
email at all from what I've seen that include unsupported tags. Of special
concern is the inclusion of tables in HTML emails. This is one of the
reasons I've seen emails entirely dropped.

I agree with what Bruce mentioned about the issue of seeing a number of
Spam complaints from AOL users after changing your from address. (This is a
good argument for using a delivery service that has a feedback loop
established with AOL. For example, with our service, if an AOL
user clicks on the "This is spam" button within their AOL software, the
user is automatically unsubscribed and the list owner knows this.)

I've always been against the idea of double opt-in for *all* lists because
I *know* based on trial and error that there is no way to make it possible
to get even close to a 95% confirmation rate. People don't understand what
the confirmation process is. I've also personally witnessed that we get
more spam complaints from clients confirmation emails than we do from
actual newsletters. So it doesn't stop the complaints. (Meanwhile, I've
always supported it for certain kinds of list that are more prone to
abuse.) However, an increasing number of ISPs are making it mandatory to be
white listed (or conversely they will block lists they know are not double
opt-in). At the same time, having proof of confirmation is becoming more
and more important. Whereby a few years ago, ISPs getting a spam complaint
against a confirmation email might have resulted in blocking or other
problems, today it's not the same issue.

One final comment -- if your list allows subscription by just sending an
email to an address without confirmation or anything in the message body,
I'd strongly suggest changing your subscription process. We've seen more
new clients come to us recently because of running into blocking and spam
complaint issues because of the number of worms and viruses that will fake
someone's email address in the from, resulting in people getting subscribed
without their permission.

Hope this was of use to some of you!

Sharon Tucci - Celebrating our 7th year of hosting!

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