AOL Blocking Emails Critical Of The Company?

from the convenient-filtering dept

There's been some recent controversy about AOL's plan to charge senders of marketing emails for a guarantee that they would not get flagged by spam filters. Now the EFF, which has been arguing against the policy, is claiming that AOL is blocking emails from opponents of the plan. Hundreds of people who forwarded a letter to AOL users, with a link to the site DearAol.com, had the emails bounced back to them. AOL claims that a software glitch was affecting emails with that URL among others, and that it is now fixed. Obviously, at this point it's a matter of whether to take AOL at its word -- something many will be hesitant to do. The fact that they are charging companies to bypass spam filters gives them an incentive to reject unpaid emails as much as possible. If it was an honest glitch, how much longer would it have taken to discover it, had it not been associated with a high-profile organization? If it's not, it's pretty embarrassing, and feeds right into the original complaints against the company.
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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Apr 2006 @ 11:34pm

    wassup with all the SPAM on TechDirt lately?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    giafly, 14 Apr 2006 @ 1:23am

    Bug in anti-phishing code?

    I suspect AOL added filtering code to block phishing emails with complex links that contained "aol.co", which were intended to fool recipients into thinking the destinations were official AOL pages.

    But they ended up blocking all emails with links containing "aol.co", including "dearaol.com".

    There but for the grace of God etc.. No matter how many tests you do, with an operation like AOL, as soon as code goes live it likely gets more stress in the first five minutes than all their test cases.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Zeroth404, 14 Apr 2006 @ 7:04am

    gee, whodda thunk it?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    craig, 15 Apr 2006 @ 12:31am

    aol

    about 4 months ago aol blocked my companies emails from being sent to aol members because 8 aol customers out of thousands said our mail was spam. we do what we can to keep aol customers happy but my whole thought is aol is to old for censorship and should allow there customers the right to choose what they get in there inbox and not charge the internet marketing companies money to email a aol customer who knowingly put there email address out there.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    giafly, 19 Apr 2006 @ 4:06am

    Technical Background

    Anyone researching the technical issues of this case should see the following. (I've not made it clickable as Techdirt seems to be reporting comments with clickable links as spam)

    http://www.politechbot.com/2006/04/15/debate-over-dearaolcom/

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      giafly, 19 Apr 2006 @ 4:10am

      Re: Technical Background

      Way to go guys! Why don't you just fuck up my link by adding a space in the middle.

      See the snide comments in the original article about AOL's software glitch.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mike (profile), 19 Apr 2006 @ 10:48am

        Re: Re: Technical Background

        Way to go guys! Why don't you just fuck up my link by adding a space in the middle.

        Hey giafly,

        Sorry about that.

        For the sake of making long words wrap properly, we put a space in especially long words. Otherwise, people end up making the page look screwed up.

        If you actually link to the URL, this doesn't happen.

        I note in the first post you thought we block as spam any message with a URL. That's not true. The spam filter may catch it (it works on a number of factors), but we're pretty quick at letting such messages through. We check the filter regularly.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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