Hosting Company Sues AOL For Calling Them A Spam Bag

from the interesting... dept

This case might turn out to be more interesting than it seems at first. CI Host, a fairly well known hosting company, is suing AOL for considering them a source of spam and blocking all email from CI Host. A judge has already issued a restraining order telling AOL to let email through, but AOL apparently unblocked some CI Host machines while blocking others. It’s a little unclear what the lawsuit is specifically about, however. There are a lot of different legal accusations, including some sort of violation of trademark law – though, I’m not sure how that plays in. It looks like they might have a claim on defamation, as CI Host says that AOL support staff told customers that CI Host was a “spam bag”. However, CI Host is also accusing AOL of trying to steal away their customers, which would be difficult to prove. No matter what, the results of this case could become a bigger deal for any ISP that blocks spam. Can one ISP sue another for blocking it? If so, does that mean that ISPs need to let all email through or face lawsuits?

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Hosting Company Sues AOL For Calling Them A Spam Bag”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

AOL is doing some pretty interesting stuff… My hosting company has 2 sets of unix servers (each runnign different account types). One of those account types is on AOL’s block list. This means that no one from any of those sites can send a mail to AOL. Well, they can send them, but they get /dev/nulled. No bounce is returned, etc.
This is basically the shotgun approch to killing a housefly. There are certainly cases where it is in a domains best interest to block email from a site, but blocking off an entire network because someone spammed from there (*) a long time ago, is just the sort of hyper response that we would expect from a company that is losing customers.
(*) The ISP in question has a very strong anti-spam policy; the IP addys that they have in those blocks belonged to soemone else as few as 5 months ago, so I suspect that a previous spammer had them, and now the ISP is paying the price thanks to AOL’s blocking policy.

Doug says:

Re: AOL-blocked servers

Two items. First, are both servers RFC-compliant? Try running DNS Report on your domain name. The hosting company that I use is very sloppy about setting up the reverse-DNS. The servers that have proper reverse-DNS can send to AOL just fine, but the servers without reverse-DNS are rejected by AOL. AOL provides a list of requirements that they use to distinguish between real mail-servers and spammers. If your mail server looks like a hack-job, AOL isn’t going to accept mail from it.

Second, if the problem is a specific block on the IP addresses based on past spamming by a previous holder, you should be able to request that AOL look into it, and/or you can request to be added to their whitelist.

A disgruntled hostmaster says:

Should I have a go too?

Our servers have now been blocked for the second time by them and it cost us a lot of time the first time they blocked us (time is money) to make the necessary changes (necessary to them anyway) to our server to the standard they expected (reverse DNS changes etc). I still haven’t had a report from them at all and I have an expensive phone call every time that I need to contact their tech support as they don’t have any control over their systems through their UK division.

They’re not being very professional about it eh!!!

So do you guy’s think I should take this further?

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...