AOL Idiots Implement IP Reputation Screening, But Badly

The AOL idiots have apparently implemented IP reputation screening, but very badly. Friday, March 2 e-mail from one of my accounts (on to AOL recipients began to bounce.  There was a strange message with the bounce notice:

 SMTP error from remote mail server after initial connection:
host []: 554 5.7.1 :

Sucker that I am I clicked the link.  After a few minutes I figured out that RLY:B2 was an error code with this translation:

554 RLY:B2

  • This error message indicates that a hard block has been placed against your IP address due to poor IP reputation. Resolution will require opening a support request once the IP reputation can be improved.

Wow!  AOL thinks I’m a spammer!  So I decided to fill out the support request:

AOL Service Request Form

AOL Service Request Form

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Take a good long look at that.  I won’t bother to post their manual telnet test page (but it’s linked).

I decided to play and filled out the form.  Not once, but twice.  I have a bunch of e-mail accounts and apparently AOL is gradually declaring each of them a spam account.  They are helped by the fact that we have a fixed IP address in our home office.

AOL seems to believe they still have some monopoly power.  Please help me prove they’re wrong.  If you have an AOL e-mail account, switch to gmail, hotmail, Yahoo! mail, or anything else.  Encourage your friends to do the same.  I’ve already done this for my regular AOL correspondents.


About Tony Lima

Tony Lima has been working with technology, economic modeling, forecasting, and market research for 40 years. His background makes him uniquely qualified to navigate this varied landscape. Begin with his education: B.S. in chemical engineering from M.I.T. , M.B.A. from Harvard, Ph.D. in economics from Stanford. His day job was professor of economics at California State University, East Bay. He retired in 2016 to devote his time to consulting and writing. But he has found time to: write (eight books and over 100 articles ranging from wine economics to detailed analyses of meta-language code generators) consult with companies ranging from Microsoft to CEDEX keep his expertise up-to-date, constantly reading and sorting through the avalanche of information available daily maintain three blogs: Wine Research, Wine Economics, and Economic Policy Local policy analysis: Los Altos

4 Replies to “AOL Idiots Implement IP Reputation Screening, But Badly”

  1. Rob

    I have been experiencing this kind of hell for several days now. We moved our servers from one datacenter to another. BEFORE doing this, we checked the IP reputation where our servers would wind up to make sure they were clean.
    All of a sudden, AOL wags its collective finger at us and says, “Ah ah aaaaah! Your IP has a BAD REPUTATION!” You’d think it was Joan Jett or something.
    At any rate, we have done everything to meet their “criteria” for email server IPs, ARIN assignments, rDNS, and everything is correct, and they’re still looking at it and saying “NOPE!”
    You’d think it would be enough that we would call them on the phone as a real human being, say, “HEY YOU CAN CALL ME BACK AT THIS NUMBER, I’M NOT A SPAMMER!!!”
    But no, their email system is broken, their phone system is broken (we got hung up on at least 5 times), and they make it exceptionally difficult (impossible) to reach a human being that can help.
    Also, don’t bother calling the “postmaster number” that is listed on a forum post from 2006, as it is “no longer in service”. I mean, it will ring, it will pick up, and it will answer as an AOL number, but then it will say it is no longer in service and bounce you to the generic customer service number?
    AOL sucks massive chunks. I am with you on getting people to move away from them.

  2. Olivier

    Same problem, they are “stupid”

    “resubmit your request after you have build a good 30-day history” !!
    i have to send a email to AOL postmaster every day to say “Hello i’m not a spamer, have a good day!” during 30 days lol

    Your web request has been denied due to insufficient mailer history. We
    apologize for this inconvenience. Please resubmit your request after you have build a good 30-day history on your IPs. If you have IP addresses that have sent mail to AOL in the last 30 days with a good mailing history, please place these IP addresses in the section named “Additional Information” when you submit your new request.


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