Tuesday, April 10, 2007

AOL Doesn't Like my Mailing List

Every once in a while AOL decides that I'm a spammer. They start rejecting and bouncing the messages that I send to my mailing list each day. There are two daily messages, one of which is the "What's New" post with all the new links submitted in the last 24 hours. I am not sure what triggers AOL to decide I'm a spammer. Maybe it is one or more of the links or the domain names in the links that they have flagged. Or maybe it is because sometimes I send more than one day's messages at a time when I have a backlog. I would think that AOL could add the RootsWeb mailing lists to their "accept" list, but that doesn't seem to happen.

When they start bouncing I'm usually on the no-fly list at AOL for a few days. So, AOL users start getting unsubscribed from the mailing list by the automated software. That immediately triggers the flood of e-mail I get with comments like "Did NOT unsubscribe. Do not know why I received this message." or "Why did you unsubscribe me?" or "Kindly put me back on your list." and a few not-so-nice messages. As soon as I start to get this flood of messages I ask myself three questions:
  1. Why do these people not understand that this is an automated process, not something that I did to them?
  2. Why do these people expect me to re-subscribe them to the list? They managed to do it themselves the first time they joined, so they should be able to do it again.
  3. Why can't people think first before they hit the reply button and then wait for someone else to fix the problem? It isn't my fault that AOL bounced them, but they expect me to fix it.

At my end I believe I've already done everything I can think of to prevent the AOL problems. I've contacted the listmaster at RootsWeb and they assure me they deal with AOL on these issues regularly. I have a web page for my mailing list with all the subscribe and unsubscribe instructions: www.CyndisList.com/maillist.htm. I have a section on that page with tips for AOL users on how to help make the CyndisList mailing more happily accepted by AOL's e-mail filters. And I periodically send those tips to the mailing list and I hope they read them or keep them for future reference (please!). For a while I even changed the way I was sending out the messages to the mailing list, sending them one at a time with a half-hour or more between the posts. The problem with that was that I would lose track of time and forget to send the next batch. The more obvious problem with that, for me anyway, is that the whole purpose in using the automated mailing list is to take some of the work off of me.

So, I'm done accomodating AOL users. This isn't my personal attack on them. This is just me working to preserve my own sanity. If you're an AOL user please know I'm not picking on you. I just don't have the time to clean up problems created by AOL's e-mail filters.

BTW, I sent out the AOL tips to the mailing list yesterday. So, what did I get today? A message sent to the list address (1st error) asking me to update their e-mail address (2nd error) by first confirming that I'm acceptable through their automated address book update service (3rd error).

Where's my chococlate?!!!??!!


Anonymous said...

Hooray for you re AOL.
For many of the same reasons, I switched from AOL to a new Hi Speed Cable provider.
Our computer club has for several months, stop sending notices to members who use AOL. They have experienced the same series of problems again and again. Such members have been told to either switch to a new ISP, or do without the clubs notices.....and we only have 500 members.
Your website has been a significant contributor to data helpful in my family searches.
Keep up the great job.

SweetKinfolk said...

I'm an AOL USER.

Been with AOL since my daughter was 12 years of age and she is now 27. YES, A LOYAL USER, as well as a computer user as the first IBM PC came out. Found AOL, waited patiently as they programed, built a web browser, ahhh such memories... not, but, to the credit of AOL vs MSN, Yahoo, PeoplePC, Earthlink, etc... lived thru the price wars, went through the change from dialup to broadband, paid the heafty price when they AOL had Broadband seperate from it's main membership... and loved it even more that now if you have DSL or other Broadband, I pay 9.95 to keep my family together. You see, my children, once children, now adults are beginning their own families, and they still use their families AOL, and we now live in three states, as well as one in the Navy. Yes, AOL has had problems, but in the long run, she's number 1, with me.

I've had no trouble with rootsweb mailing list, SAVE ONE TIME, because in the internet options of accepted sites, I place all of the main ancestry research places, including Cyndi's List, as well as Cyndi's; oz.net

AOL USERS, need a fix,
have confusion?

SELECT and OPEN your MAILBOX, top left, picture mailbox with a flag up, states READ.

In the Mailbox Window, very top, Select MAIL OPTIONS down arrow, highlight "BLOCK UNWANTED MAIL"

This opens a window called: MAIL and SPAM CONTROLS.

I have my AOL advanced filter set to HIGH.

Within the "ADDITIONAL SPAM FILTERS" the following is TURNED ON

WORDS AND PHRASES, use EDIT to add words that are part of the "SPAM WORLD"

SENDER FILTER, use EDIT; In "My Sender Filter Should:" SELECT "USE A CUSTOM SENDER LIST" From here your choices are how you want to handle your spam mail. 'Block all senders and domains listed below' OR 'Allow only the senders and domains listed below' AND have selected BLOCKED MAIL SHOULD BE: 'Delivered to Spam Folder'

Note: I use the 'Block All' feature as well as checkmarked USE AOL SMART BLOCK, have been with them long enough to have marked many incoming email as spam, that only now on occation, does TRUE EMAIL gets placed into the spam folder. BUT, I also, after checking my inbox, scan my spam folder, for 'those just in cases'; it takes so little of my time to check. SELECT SAVE