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AOL Placed on Spam Blacklist

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the it-wasn't-there-before? dept.

America Online 364

Hacker-X writes "According to this item over at Spam Kings, AOL has had a large swath of its IP addresses added to the Mail Abuse Prevention Systems (MAPS) Real-time Blackhole List (RBL). The RBL is used by many corporations and large ISPs to filter spam. MAPS evidently started blocking the AOL mail servers less than 24 hours after filing a complaint with AOL's abuse desk. The block was initiated in response to spam emanating from AOL mail servers."

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Overzealous (5, Insightful)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350273)

Overzealous RBL admins screw everyone. If they think everyone is going to sit back and not mind that major ISPs like AOL have been blacklisted, they are (hopefully) if for a rude awakening.

How does someone seriously justify this? Isn't this like cutting off one's nose to spite one's face?

Maybe it's time to come up with a hybrid system? How about a combinations of black and "gray" lists, where the gray lists are subjected to greater scrutiny or harsher limits by spam filtering software?

Who cares... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350300)

AOL lusers are Net Niggers.

Re:Overzealous (5, Insightful)

Dionysus (12737) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350302)

How about people stop using RBLs if it bothers them that certain ISPs get blocked?

Re:Overzealous (4, Interesting)

hspaans (573672) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350413)

Who said it bothers some people? They most likely don't get the traffic bill every month. And also since some providers think they can block everyone and whitelist only the one that have signed there agreement I don't really care any more about mailserver who are listed. I only care about national mailserver and the rest is allowed to unlist themselfs. I even think there comes a moment this year or next year that some RFC-issues are being required to mail my mailservers.

Re:Overzealous (5, Insightful)

PDXNerd (654900) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350309)

So it's OK to blacklist a little guy that has a misconfigured/hacked email server that is spitting out spam, but if a big fish does this, we should justify and make excuses for them??

This should be the rude awakening to AOL - clean up your act. Stop allowing spam to be sent, or your users might start getting peeved that their emails aren't getting through. Most rookies have been through this - how embarrassing for AOL to have to go through it to! ;-)

Re:Overzealous (5, Interesting)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350412)

AOL is not "special" in that circumstance. The short response timeframe is a little harsh, but I don't keep up on my blacklist policies, so I can't compare it to others.

I don't disagree with you. AOL shouldn't get preferential treatment because they are big, but blacklisting major ISPs comes with the very real possibility of hurting many other businesses by association. Yes, the same is true of the little guys, but the potential loss rate is likely much lower.

That's why I suggest the gray/black list combo. If you could graylist someone immediately, and use that as a means for stricter spam control - combine it with Known Good Senders, whitelists, better heuristics or tougher Bayesian filtering - while mitigating the potential for lost business by not outright blocking all messages, I think that is an amicable solution. Blacklisting then becomes the consequence for not resolving your spam problem, not for simply having one.

Re:Overzealous (2, Informative)

morcego (260031) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350465)

I'm sorry to say this, but AOL is already "gray" to me all the time. If coming from the AOL address space, e-mails will get +1 the my local SpamAssassin parses them. Same goes for Hotmail and a couple other places.

Re:Overzealous (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350588)

That's the intent. Sites that have spam issues should be scrutinized. And there should be graylists that keep you from having to specify them manually.

Re:Overzealous (5, Insightful)

berzerke (319205) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350523)

AOL is not "special" in that circumstance. The short response timeframe is a little harsh...

Well, if you've had your entire domain blocked by AOL without warning, you might disagree. You might disagree strongly if after contacting AOL, they admitted you were wrongly blocked but they were having trouble figuring out how to unblock you (took a week).

How many double opt-in e-mail lists have been blocked simply because some AOL luser couldn't figure out how to unsubscribe (or didn't even try to) and just hit the report as spam button? (Hint: I know of 3 just off the top of my head.) AOL blocking is automatic. Guilty until proven innocent. Is 24 hours really that harsh given what AOL does to others?

Of course, if we could all convince the idiots that buy from spam to stop buying, this whole problem would disappear on it's own.

Re:Overzealous (3, Informative)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350601)

How many double opt-in e-mail lists have been blocked...

Do you mean "confirmed opt-in"? If so, you should say so. "Double opt-in" is a meaningless phrase, beloved by spammers. I have every confidence that you're not a spammer, but if you speak in the spammers' language, people will get the wrong idea about your lists.

Re:Overzealous (5, Informative)

Matts (1628) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350415)

You need to look at the facts a bit closer. AOL *has* cleaned up its act, more than anyone else on the entire internet. It's stunningly clean for an ISP of its size.

This was caused by one spam. Let me just repeat that: out of 60 million users MAPS saw one spam coming from AOL's outbound mail servers [aol.com].

Now AOL does have a set of IPs out of which some spam does emanate - the rlyIPXX block [aol.com] (64.12.138.(7-9)). This is the IPs that they redirect direct-to-port25 mail through, and they actively encourage people to block this range. It's been publicly stated that they intend to shut this activity down real soon now, but in the meantime most people just block that range and don't see a problem.

Check the anti-spam newsgroups and mailing lists some time. AOL is hugely respected in anti-spam terms these days. And deservedly so.

Re:Overzealous (5, Informative)

jenkin sear (28765) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350493)

I have to agree. We run some very large (1MM subscribers) mailing lists for our customers - not spam, just company announcements and such. AOL had a great process for getting whitelisted with them- they checked that you were legit, that your mail servers handled bounces correctly, and that your systems were rfc whatever compliant.

Compared to Yahoo and MSN/Hotmail, AOL is completely buttoned down and has their act together.

Re:Overzealous (4, Interesting)

gregmac (629064) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350568)

So it's OK to blacklist a little guy that has a misconfigured/hacked email server that is spitting out spam, but if a big fish does this, we should justify and make excuses for them??

NO -- it's not ok to blacklist the little guy either.

If they're misconfigured/hacked, and spitting out spam, sure .. blacklist them (whether they're AOL or a little isp). Of course, you should probably send a message to abuse@ their domain trying to inform them..

Too many lists don't check though. They get a complaint, and bam, blacklist. I run a small web/mail server (300 domains, 16 IPs), and this is highly annoying. We've been blacklisted before because someone complained about a legitimate mailing list they were on. No double-checking, no investigation into the complain, we just got blacklisted immediately.

Most recently, we were blacklisted by SORBS because another system that shares colocation with our server was hacked. Immediately, they blacklisted the entire subnet. This affected us, and numerous other customers that have no affiliation other than sharing colocation space.

I noticed we were on the list when someone in the office complained about not being able to send mail to an address she could send to a couple hours earlier. Upon looking into it, we eventually found out that teh entire subnet was blocked (and we couldn't even request to remove the block), so we contacted our ISP. They told us they had just discovered that hacked system and disconnected it, and tried to get the block removed from SORBS.

In all, our ISP had found and disconnected the system within 3 hours of it being hacked, yet we were on the list at least 24 hours. During this time, none of our customers can send mail to anyone with a provider using SORBS. Our server was fine, their servers are fine, but because of a completely unrelated incident with unrelated people, it affects hundreds more.

The big problem is, it's basically impossible to run a mail server without using RBL's (we tried).. you just get hammered. RBLs are definately useful, but there are too many run by over-zealous admins with basically an itchy trigger finger. Hopefully stunts like this will make people realize the problems with RBLs and maybe we can drop the ones that are run this way.

Re:Overzealous (5, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350312)

Being in a blacklisted IP-Range before, I can share your frustration. But I do believe the motives behind this isn't to keep AOL blacklisted, but to motivate AOL to fix their outgoing spam problems. Nothing says "Fix people spamming from your service" like thousands of angry customers...

Re:Overzealous (1)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350348)

Do AOL users feel emotion such as anger? I was not aware of this. Pardon me for awhile, I need to rethink my world view.

[This is a joke. I'm not actually one of those guys that thinks computer knowledge is directly related to intelligence or worth.]

Re:Overzealous (2, Insightful)

greenreaper (205818) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350502)

Why not? Seems better than most of the IQ tests out there, and people with computer knowledge do tend to be worth more to employers. ;-)

Re:Overzealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350369)

While we're arguing on a medieval level: nothing says fix your politics like thousands of innocent victims.

Re:Overzealous (2, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350490)

Nothing says "Fix people spamming from your service" like thousands of angry customers...
I do agree, however the flip side of that coin is that nothing says `drop that black list' like not being able to get email from grandma or Aunt Tillie [catb.org].

By adding AOL to the blacklist, you might persuade AOL to clean up their act, maybe, but you also will find a lot of people dropping your blacklist because _their_ customers got angry ...

Fair or not, you really can't add AOL's main mail servers to any sort of mail blacklist without serious repercussions. Mostly bad.

Re:Overzealous (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350548)

I expect this will manifest itself as a widespread drop of the particular RBL, not AOL changing their policies. People want to email companies, and companies want to be able to get legitimate email. AOL and the RBL service are in the middle, and the vocal ones are going to point at the RBL.

This is really just a guess, though. I'd certainly prefer if someone at AOL got their head out of their ass.

Re:Overzealous (1)

Oculus Habent (562837) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350554)

My issue isn't with the intent or the motivating factor, it's that we use such Draconian measures when better solutions could be used.

While blacklists certainly have a place, that motivation could - and I stress could - result in serious financial consequences. Can you imagine if Yahoo! was blacklisted, and the thousands upon thousands of Yahoo! Stores could no longer send e-mail to large segments of their customers?

Binary though our technology may be, the world in which we use it is not. The answers need not be all or nothing.

What we need is an Ad Campaign for graylists! Go Gray

Re:Overzealous (4, Interesting)

jsight (8987) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350319)

Isn't that what everyone does with the black lists anyway? I think most of the smarter software packages just use the information as part of their normal weighting systems for determining whether or not to reject a message as spam. Ie, if the message looks spammy, and it is from a site on an RBL, then it probably is spam. If it's just from an RBL, then pass it on as normal.

Re:Overzealous (2, Insightful)

Allen Zadr (767458) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350403)

O.K. - so you use SpamAssassin... so do I. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world...

That is to say - not everybody has the flexability to put in a user-tunable system. Some of the "black-box" systems are more tunable than others, but most of the time, if a black-list is configured - it's "black".

Not me, Baby! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350461)

On my systems, if Spamhaus XBL returns 127.0.0.x the connection is severred BEFORE transfer. You're not wasting my bandwidth, processing, disk space, time!

I'm also in favor of blocking country TLD's that I don't deal with on a regular basis. Strangely, I have no customers in Russia, China, Poland, Korea and many other less significant nations.

In my "house" the spam tripwires are very sensitive and when they get tripped, the tripper is outa there, Baby!


*everyone*? (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350510)

No, for most people these filters are implemented at their ISP, and they have no control over it.

Re:Overzealous (1)

NetNifty (796376) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350321)

Recent related Ask Slashdot here. [slashdot.org]

Giving them less than 24 hours to respond seems a little extreme to me, but I don't really make many complaints to abuse desks so don't know what the average response time is.

Re:Overzealous (1)

Three Headed Man (765841) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350325)

It's their decision, and if it drives away business, that was there error. This is still the free market, and as capitalists, they should know that.

Re:Overzealous (5, Funny)

ShaniaTwain (197446) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350336)

How about a combinations of black and "gray" lists, where the gray lists are subjected to greater scrutiny or harsher limits by spam filtering software?

What about silver lists that block AOL cd's?

Re:Overzealous (2, Insightful)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350339)

Sorry, the only ones that I have to cater to are the users of my email servers. If they don't like it, then I have an issue. If they don't mind AOHell spammers being blocked, then it's not an issue. No need to justify it to you.

Re:Overzealous (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350342)

Does anyone important seriously care about receiving e-mail from AOL users?

Re:Overzealous (1)

hawk (1151) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350351)

Wasn't it uu.net that got the "usenet death penalty" in 1997 or so? This is hardly the first time.

Though the one I'd *really* like to see on the list is ebay until they both actually accept complaints at abuse@ebay.com, and actually do something about them . . .


Re:Overzealous (5, Informative)

Saxton (34078) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350400)

Well, it looks like things got turned around anyway:

[UPDATE: Looks like MAPS changed its mind. As of Tuesday afternoon ET (GMT -4:00), AOL's listing at the MAPS site is gone, and a lookup shows AOL's mail servers no longer seem to be on the MAPS RBL list. No word yet on whether AOL resolved the spam problems, or if MAPS just decided to give AOL more time.]

Re:Overzealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350472)

My guess is that AOL promised to not send free CD to MAPS headquarters for a year.

MAPS is a for-pay RBL. (1)

markv242 (622209) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350404)

How does someone seriously justify this?

Because customers are paying them to do it. If Kelkea (the new MAPS owners) lose enough business because they put a large chunk of AOL on their blacklist, then they'll think twice before making large decisions like this.

However, my guess is that they won't lose any business at all.

No. (1)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350481)

People who use RBLs with overzealous admins, and force everyone on their network to use them as well suck. For your own personal server, just stop using MAPS RBL. What sucks is when you have BOFH types using RBL lists at ISPs, where individual users have no control over how their mail is filtered. On the other hand, AOL is overzealous with their own spam blockers, so meh. (Third hand: how much you want to bet AOL gets taken off the list the second they fix the problem, unlike small ISPs)

Re:Overzealous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350559)

How does AOL justify running a system that is open to such exploitation in the first place? If I were an executive at AOL, I'd be wondering what we have to do to continue to be able to provide email services for our legitimate users. I'd be looking at tighter identification of our users, and stricter anti-spamming rules. You can't blame RBL users for trying to protect themselves. If there is spam coming from AOL, then AOL should be on the list.

Won't miss them (4, Funny)

Danimoth (852665) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350284)

I don't want to hear from anyone who uses AOL anyways.

Re:Won't miss them (4, Interesting)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350326)

I don't want to hear from anyone who uses AOL anyways.

Yeah, who wants to do business, say, with tens of millions of people.

I've got e-commerce clients that, unable to communicate gracefully with AOL users, would run into trouble with a third or more of their customers. This is not trivial, it's blacklist BS, and a sign of how that solution to the problem is part of the problem.

Re:Won't miss them (2, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350425)

and a sign of how that solution to the problem is part of the problem.

Yeah, newbies being given crappy software.

Re:Won't miss them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350553)

rofl rofl rofl! - fonzi

Receivers *choose* to use RBLs (3, Insightful)

Vainglorious Coward (267452) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350541)

I've got e-commerce clients that, unable to communicate gracefully with AOL users, would run into trouble with a third or more of their customers. This is not trivial, it's blacklist BS

Is MAPS forcing you to use their lists? No. So what's your problem?

Re:Won't miss them (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350545)

Learn to read. He said " I don't want to hear from anyone who uses AOL anyways." See that? "I don't". Not "Who would". "I don't"!!!!

Re:Won't miss them (3, Insightful)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350363)

I would think your in a minority. I would be willing to bet a large segment of the internet population gets regular email from AOL users. Whether they be clients or family members, who you can't simply tell "AOL is a piece of crap, get a different ISP." Why? Because either they'll ignore me or I'll have to spend every other weekend having to show them how to do what they used to do on AOL.

Re:Won't miss them (3, Insightful)

lilmouse (310335) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350377)

My cousing uses AOL. I haven't been able to send e-mail to him for a long while already (they blacklisted us); now I guess he can't write me, either!

I'm really glad that e-mail is such a great way to keep in touch with everyone! Even the ones I won't miss ;-) Seriously, though, it's like we're going backwards in time, when you couldn't just send e-mail to one address to reach somoene. If I want to contact him, I have to log into Yahoo, use that account...

Does that make him yahoo.com!my.cousin@aol.com?


Re:Won't miss them (1)

Marthisdil (606679) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350496)

I don't want to hear from anyone who uses AOL anyways.

Submit your IP to the blacklist services and they won't have to hear from you, either!

Re:Won't miss them (1)

gosand (234100) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350504)

I don't want to hear from anyone who uses AOL anyways.

I have had friends who got AOL accounts just for this reason - it is a good place to "hide".

Re:Won't miss them (1)

baomike (143457) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350521)

Never got an email from anyone on AOL that I ever wanted to hear from again.

Ignacio P. Freely@aol.com

A.O. What? (1, Funny)

ShaniaTwain (197446) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350287)

Is that where spammers go when they've been bad? AOL?

now if we could just seal the whole thing up in duct tape then we'd be done with the whole problem!

But what about the innocent users? havent they suffered enough? they're on AOL for gods sake.

Re:A.O. What? (5, Insightful)

TFGeditor (737839) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350620)

Actually, this surprises me as an exception rather than the rule as far as AOL is concerned.

(I posted the following in an earlier discussion on a different topic, but it is 100 percent applicable here.)

I am not an AOL customer, have never been, never will be (at least, not by choice), but I am glad AOL is there to serve the unwashed masses. Because a huge portion of their customer base is, shall we say, "uninformed," AOL has taken a number of measures to protect them (and their network) from malicious traffic. Based on anecdotal observation, it seems to be working.

Because hundreds of people have my "public" email address in their address books, I recive dozens (sometimes hundreds) of virues per week whenever there is an outbreak. However, I cannot recall the last time I received one from an AOL user.

I receive hundreds of (filtered) spam messages daily, but again, cannot recall receiving any from an AOL machine. (This based on source IP address, not the forged FROM line.)

On the flip side, 30-40 percent of spam comes from zombied Comcast and RoadRunner accounts (most from Comcast). The rest come from non-North American IP addresses.

Like I said, limited anecdotal observation, but it appears to me AOL is doing something right, and is the perfect ISP for the "uninformed" user.

Considering the size of their customer base, imagine how much more junk/malicious 'net traffic there would be without AOL.

Accountability (5, Interesting)

winkydink (650484) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350295)

I'm a big fan of MAPS, but one would think that over the years they've developed some very high-level contacts over at AOL and that they would call these guys up and talk it out before undertaking a major blacklisting.

Some BL lists have no published way to get off once on. There should be some consistency to at least getting removed. I speak from experience of having "inherited" an IP addr from my hosting provider that was formerly an open-relay. It took a lot of effort over 2 weeks to clean that mess up.

Re:Accountability (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350501)

As a netadmin at a major university I've tried to contact AOL about issues. They aren't interested. Once they hear that you are not a customer they pretty much hang up on you.

Assholes (-1, Flamebait)

avalys (221114) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350296)

These guys are a bunch of self-important snobbish assholes. If they think this will do anything but undermine their credibility and popularity, they're idiots.

For several years (2)

Neil Blender (555885) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350310)

I have been filtering AOL along with many other free email hosts, straight to the trash. If I know someone with an email there, I whitelist them.

Merle Haggard sings: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350316)

"I heard about some squirrly guy
who claims that he just don't believe in fightin
Well I wonder how long the rest of us
can count on being free...
If you don't love it, leave it
Let this song that I'm singing be a warning
that when you're runnin' down our country hoss
Ya walking on the fightin' side of me"

AOL deserved it (3, Interesting)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350332)

AOL is definately a group that deserves a bit of their own treatment. I've found so many networks get blocked for insignificant things. I have a mailing list of just my members, and no one else. Because one person accidently hit "Abuse" (of the 40 AOL people on the list), we were blacklisted. Not just an IP, but a /24 , which was already in their "feedback loop". {sigh}

It's not the first encounter I've had with AOL. Anyone who sends mail eventually finds themselves blacklisted with AOL. They're just a pain in the ass. Unfortunately, you can't just convince anyone using AOL's email to switch to someone else. If only it were so easy.

At one time, AOL blacklisted my home IP. It was a static IP, which I was the only user of. I don't know which genius did it, but someone who I was personally mailing (like, not even Bcc lists or newsletters) must have hit the abuse button.

I'm sure it helps them out. If they can knock out 25% of their mail load at any given time, it's 25% less mail they have to process. Who cares which 25%, eh?

Re:AOL deserved it (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350410)

AOL is so 90s. The only reason why their instant messeenger was a success, is because it's free. I am surprised they haven't made the chat service free.

Re:AOL deserved it (2, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350598)

Actually AOL has one of the best abuse departments I have had the pleasure of working with. They publish their general rules, and if you can't figure out why you are being blocked just give them a call. They have always been very helpfull with me and given me the exact reason for the block and how I can go about resolving the issue. If you are blocked and resolve the problem they will probably automatically detect the fix, but if they don't a phonecall to their abuse desk with an explanation that the problem is solved will get the block cleared. Personally I like the fact that AOL (and Earthlink) have championed the antispam crusade, they have made more impact than a thousand admins screaming into the night could ever have.

SWEET!!! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350340)

I'm sick and tired of fighting those jerks for blacklisting my client's. All the while fighting a constant stream of spam from AOL and spoofed addresses claiming to be them. Turn about is fair play.

I say we put AOL on all the blacklists and push them back off of the intarweb!

Re:SWEET!!! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350358)

I say we put AOL on all the blacklists and push them back off of the intarweb!

I say we take off and nuke them from space!
It's the only way to be sure.

Re:SWEET!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350409)

You've fought them for blacklisting your client's what?

Oh, you don't know the difference between possessive and plural. How long have you been using this language?

While I'm delivering pedantry, I may as well also point out that an IP-based blacklist containing every AOL IP in existence would not stop spoofed AOL mail. It's spoofed; it's not coming from AOL's relays.

Re:SWEET!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350533)

How's your Portuguese? Bitch!

Vá foder-se.

You can please some ... (2, Funny)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350353)

You can please some of the people some of the time... but this should just about please everyone :)

What does this resolve? (2, Insightful)

dygital (591967) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350356)

This doesn't resolve anything except make end users on both sides angry. This is very unproductive for both parties.

I can say this well, lets say I know how things work; they have automated spam blocking mechanisms to disable accounts who spam. A majority of accounts used for spamming are compromised, and that is the issue. Repeat offenders are terminated. No questions, and they can not reactivate. Spammers are just password cracking accounts and bulkmailing out of them. It sucks because a few people who do it ruin it for everyone!

I was helping a fellow member who couldn't CC 20 people on his biker club list. So, AOL is aware of the issue and trying their best to crack down on the bulk mail. Adding them to a blocklist WILL NOT stop bulk mail. This shakeup is not gonna "make AOL" doing anything.

this is out of hand (5, Interesting)

nganju (821034) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350362)

"the RBL blacklist is used by some of the biggest ISPs in the world, including RoadRunner, USA.net, BT, Telstra -- and AOL itself"

I could send an email from my own account, to my own account, and it would be deleted as spam.

Re:this is out of hand (1)

Secrity (742221) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350452)

It is very unlikely that mail sent from your AOL mailbox back to your AOL mailbox would go through a server that uses MAPS. It is much more likely that AOL uses MAPS only on the mailservers that receive mail from the Internet.

irony (1, Insightful)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350364)

To me this is ironic, because AOL is currently refusing e-mail from my server, due to unspecified (and assuredly inaccurate) allegations of spam coming from it.

why is anyone still using MAPS? (5, Interesting)

frankie (91710) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350370)

MAPS stopped being a reputable service ever since they joined MFN/Abovenet [spamhaus.org]. I say this as someone who previously supported MAPS and even donated to their legal defense fund.

It was quite sad to see them fall to the dark side. It's even sadder to see that MAPS is still in active use by anyone outside of MFN.

Back-port (4, Funny)

Kimos (859729) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350373)

Now we need to find a way to black-hole all of the AOL CDs being spamed to my snail mail address!

Happening to google too! (2, Informative)

FocaJonathan (163913) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350394)

Google is getting blocked to spam too:

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification

Delivery to the following recipient failed permanently:

[an address forwarded to gmail.com]

Technical details of permanent failure:
PERM_FAILURE: SMTP Error (state 10): 554 Service unavailable; Client host [] blocked using bl.spamcop.net; Blocked - see http://www.spamcop.net/bl.shtml?


The address: is wproxy.gmail.com

Genuine users blocked (2, Insightful)

Virtual Karma (862416) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350398)

The real problem comes when Genuine users of a service are blocked. I'm used to hearing woes of web masters who have been blocked by Google Adsense without any explaination. I'm sure Google has its reasons (and they have openly admitted that the reason is that they dont want to provide a road map to trick the service).

Now coming to /.
whenever i try posting from home I get a message announcing "bad postings from your subnet.. hence you have been blocked" Now I have tried connecting to various wireless networks. Still the same message. My karma is 'good'. It implies that most of my postings get modded up. Still I'm BANNED from /. (before you pounce on me, I have emailed to the id that comes up in the message, got a response that i'm in timeout zone. Forever???)

Now coming back to the real problem. AOL is a profit driven corporate. Imagine if they insert the names/ids of small time rivals in their list. The poor souls would have no clue what hit them.

Who still uses the MAPS RBL? (4, Interesting)

stilwebm (129567) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350433)

I quit using MAPS years ago because it was no longer effective, especially for business use. Their solution to one spam from a customer of a large ISP is to block the whole ISP or, if you were lucky, just the whole contiguous IP space that one spam came from. Still, this meant something like a quarter of the Fourtune 500 had mail servers being blocked, which is unacceptable for a business-to-business email server. Worse, it rarely blocked much spam.

In fact, I just searched [mail-abuse.com] the MAPS RBL for the last ten spams rejected by my mail server and only two of the hosts were listed in the MAPS RBL.

Hmm (2, Insightful)

Sv-Manowar (772313) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350434)

It seems like the anti's aren't doing themselves much good at the moment, when events like this hit the news, the block lists just loose credit in people's minds

As much as anyone hates AOL and finds this funny, it is more the entire anti spam community in general, than AOL in the short term.

Re:Hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350552)

It seems like the anti's aren't doing themselves much good at the moment

Note that 'anti' is a spammer-term for anti-spammers. Whenever the term is uttered it's usually pretty clear which side of the fence the person uttering it is.

No sympathy (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350447)

Running a small web hosting company, I use RBLs, but I would never consider using one with lunatics in charge (e.g. MAPS) just because it would generate too many compliants from my clients.

That said, I am glad there *are* people using MAPS, and I have absolutely no sympathy for AOL. They have some of the most idiotic and overzealous spamfilters on the planet, and I've been burned by them on a number of occasions. My server IPs have never been on any public blacklist, and I've never had any trouble getting email to other mass providers (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo). But there has been a steady stream of problems with AOL.

As far as I'm concerned, if this hurts them, good. They're getting a taste of their own medicine.

Update from link (2, Informative)

AvidLinuxUser (573832) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350449)

[UPDATE: Looks like MAPS changed its mind. As of Tuesday afternoon ET (GMT -4:00), AOL's listing at the MAPS site is gone, and a lookup shows AOL's mail servers no longer seem to be on the MAPS RBL list. No word yet on whether AOL resolved the spam problems, or if MAPS just decided to give AOL more time.]

Fair is fair (1)

dcigary (221160) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350451)

I've had many years of emails I've sent to users at AOL accounts simply vanish into the ether. No bounces, no receiving of the emails on the other side. Maybe this will wake them up to some type of responsibility of running a accurate and reliable mail service, and policing their own users to weed out the bad apples.

UPDATED (2, Interesting)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350457)

Apparently AOL got their heads out of their collective asses. MAPS pulled the entries as of noon Eastern time (-5 GMT).

AOhell (2, Insightful)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350459)

AOL has had a large swath of its IP addresses...Sorry I can't show you this listing.
Judging by the fact that a large amount of spam we get is from AOL, I can see why they are getting blocked.
AOL profits from these spammers and they know it. Very soon, AOL needs to take control of their spammers and start blocking them. Apparently, this is either too difficult & time consuming for AOL, or they just don't care and know that the profits will just keep rolling in.
There are so many other better alternatives to AOL, I don't even know why people use AOL in the first place. I guess it is all those damn install cds they dump all over the place like rabbit poop.

Re:AOhell (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350549)

You're either full of crap, or you are clueless and cannot distingush spoofed mail from legit mail.

The RBL lists have been around for a long time, yet there has been zero impact on spam. I'm frankly shocked that anyone still uses them at all.

Re:AOhell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350555)

If you think the spammers are actually paying customers, you are sadly mistaken.

Re:AOhell (4, Insightful)

snorklewacker (836663) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350565)

AOL profits from these spammers and they know it.

Bullshit. MCI profits from spammers. You're talking out of your ass. You think they care about the monthly dialup access fees from spammers? AOL until recently had Carl Hutzler, one of the most respected names in anti-spam, who has turned AOL around and made them one of the leaders in anti-spam, from outbound port 25 blocking to SPF. Ask anyone on NANAE .. hell, ask the kooks, they'll tell you AOL has a fraction of the spam problem anyone else does, and their main complaint is only bounce spam, which they've nearly eliminated this year. Carl has since moved on (got promoted I think) and left two more in his stead who hopefully will continue to be as effective as him.

MAPS is run by some righteous little twits driving their fiefdom of an RBL into irrelevance at flank speed. Most responsible admins have moved on to some subset of SORBS, Blitzed OPM, and the Spamhaus XBL, with perhaps SPEWS turned on for advisory data only.

You on the other hand just think you're hot shit because you don't like AOL.

the shoe is on the other foot... (3, Interesting)

machinegunhand (867735) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350518)

One of my most frequest complaints from my customers has to do with their inability to send email to AOL customers. AOL has shown little restraint when it comes to blacklisting others. This is a nice wake up call for AOL. Live by the blacklist, die by the blacklist.

Good... (1)

msimm (580077) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350547)

Now maybe MAPS has put the last nail in its own coffin. In the beginning I could see the reasoning (no better solution) but as time has passed so has their usefulness, and honestly their integrity (if they ever had any, I didn't follow it that closely).

Oblig. "Information Superhighway" quote (-1)

spun (1352) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350567)

If the Internet really were a superhighway, AOL would be a giant diesel-smoking BUS with hundreds of EBOLA victims and a TOILET spewing out on the road behind it.

mostly funny because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12350575)

mostly funny because of the last aol ad i saw on tv. it depicted two aol employees walking into the corporate office, as the doors shut behind them on some solicitor yelling about 'great' stuff. on another note - of the 8 pieces of spam in my (free as in promo) aol account's mailbox, 7 are from inside aol.

less spam today... (2, Interesting)

joeldg (518249) | more than 8 years ago | (#12350579)

well, with less spam today I cannot say I am complaining at all...
And really.. my rbl and filtered spambox only has a couple hundred spams in it, whereas it normally has ~600 by this time...

I might blackhole aol mails after this just to cut down on my daily intake of the processed pig.

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