My emails to various AOL addresses get rejected...
June 2, 2005 6:45 AM   Subscribe

My emails to various AOL addresses get rejected...

I have 4 clients that have AOL email addresses.
My address is ""

When I send them a message, it gets rejected as "not allowed"

I've sent the AOL postmaster a request to be allowed in, but they never reply.

My mail server (in-house) isn't listed on any blacklists-
What other steps can I take?
posted by stevejensen to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
Can you view the raw email source, specifically the headers?

AOL includes error codes that specify why a message was bounced. You can look up the specific error codes on their postmaster site.

Once you know why you're being blocked, you'll have a better idea of what you need to do to remove the block.
posted by alan at 6:59 AM on June 2, 2005

AOL will reject emails that have more than four or five people in the CC list. I have a friend with a small business, and this was driving her crazy.

Her solution was (ironically) to get a spamming program that sent out each email individually. Then they got through.
posted by curtm at 8:28 AM on June 2, 2005

Also, AOL users can set their accounts not to receive Internet e-mail. Some people do this and then forget they've done it.
posted by kindall at 8:43 AM on June 2, 2005

AOL's filtering is a joke.. It seems to randomly not allow emails.. When someone gives me one as their address, I tell them that I need another one to reach them at.
posted by eas98 at 8:43 AM on June 2, 2005

If you can contact your clients a different way, tell them that they need to put your email address in their "accept mail from" category (whatever AOL calls it). AOL seems to be using aggressive whitelisting, and if a customer doesn't pre-approve a return email address, it will bounce back. (A friend of mine had problems with AOL bouncing back replies to questions she was asked via a question box on her website. This gave her an undeserved reputation for not answering questions.)

I distribute a mailing list to 150+ people. The only time I get bounces from AOL people is if they forget to put the organisation's email address in their 'good email' category.
posted by jlkr at 8:46 AM on June 2, 2005

Other than reading the error and looking it up on AOL's postmaster website linked above, this might be something that your ISP needs to look after for you.

AOL's postmaster team has very smooth processes for dealing with mail sources that they have identified as problematic, most of which involve good-faith practices on the part of the ISP to get off the list. Typically that involves setting up what AOL calls a "feedback loop", which informs the sending postmaster of spam reports coming from AOL members. But that's all ISP-level; AOL doesn't have the resources to deal with individual senders. If your ISP won't help out, you might need to use another. (If they won't help, this might be a good idea anyhow.)

AOL members regularly suck at reporting spam, so it's easy for an ISP to get blacklisted there. (Users click "report as spam" instead of "delete" on a disturbingly regular basis.)

There's a lot of useful information in other parts of their postmaster info site.
posted by mendel at 8:50 AM on June 2, 2005

There's no MX record for, they're likely rejecting it because there's no way that responses could get back to you. Once you've got the lack of an MX record fixed you'll want to make sure that has a reverse pointer, assuming, of course, that you MX mail to It doesn't have to point to but what ever it does point to needs to have a matching A record.

I wouldn't be surprised if large chunks of the internet were rejecting mail from your domain, and I have absolutely no idea how you're getting mail (if you even are) at that address.
posted by togdon at 8:52 AM on June 2, 2005

Many mailservers fall back to using the A record when an MX record isn't available. This cannot be relied on though, and is very likely to be the cause of your troubles.
posted by fvw at 9:09 AM on June 2, 2005

To be clear the MX record for isn't what I was referring to (which confusingly does exist), rather the MX record for The reverse pointer thing isn't important for the internet at large, but AOL (and some others) will reject mail from IPs that have no reverse.
posted by togdon at 9:18 AM on June 2, 2005

Not having reverse DNS will do it, as documented here. Have your ISP fix that.

togdon: You don't need (and AOL doesn't require) an MX record if there's an A record, and there's an A record for (and a mailserver there). That part is fine.

fvw: Falling back to the A record sure can be relied on. That's the fundamental delivery model in SMTP: mail for a host goes to that host. It's been a requirement for twenty years (and even longer, since MX records are a recent development compared to SMTP.) MX records are entirely optional and are only necessary if the mail for a host should be delivered elsewhere.
posted by mendel at 9:19 AM on June 2, 2005

Mendel: Right you are, perhaps I was mixing it up with CNAMEs? Anyway, live and learn, thanks.
posted by fvw at 6:50 PM on June 3, 2005

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