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AOL Bans Mail From DSL-Hosted Servers

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the because-individuals-should-not-have-them dept.

America Online 925

kmself writes "As first reported at linux-elitists by Aaron Sherman, and with a demonstration of the denial at zIWETHEY, AOL has begun blocking mailservers identified with residential DSL lines as an anti-spam measure, apparently heedless of the huge collateral damage this move imposes (and guess who can't send mail to Mom...). This action was unannounced, and has received virtually no coverage, spare an oblique mention at News.com. It also violates SMTP RFCs, as Aaron points out, not to mention the 'good neighbor' conventions of Internet communications. Mail to AOL's postmaster is also bounced -- this is RFC-ignorant. I strongly recommend that as a compensatory measure, non-AOL MTAs be configured to deny all incoming mail from AOL's domain."

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ill be back... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723357)


but in th mean time, go visit goatse.cx, tools!!!

what a buncha crap (-1, Troll)

moab (62800) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723358)

aol is pitiful

um (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723359)

In Soviet Russia, RFC's violate you!!!!

AOL Sucks (-1, Redundant)

grink (116056) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723360)

Yet another reason why AOL sucks...

ummmm... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723361)

Youve Got(no) Mail!

Re:ummmm... (2, Insightful)

opti6600 (582782) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723410)

wavelengths discovered this one a while ago. As an academic publication, hence receiving zero (0) dollars, we can't very well afford to go ahead and get a static IP, business DSL line, or something as out of this world as a T1.

I think this is an egregious violation of the community's trust on part of AOL, not to mention that it's ridiculous considering that a LOT of the spam coming at them won't be from home lines, but from established spamwhores like pm0 and others.

So that's right, a group of 10 students can't send mail to AOL accounts because we can't afford to pay the piper for $300/month. This is RIDICULOUS. It's bad enough that we were forced away from school hosting because they "didn't have enough room" and that we actually needed features for our site, but then the fact that we can't get in touch with half of the MAST Academy student body through the wavelengths Journal email server...that's sad.

Best regards,

Re:ummmm... (1)

Warped-Reality (125140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723448)

Try web-based email. I use Yahoo mail [yahoo.com] .

Re:ummmm... (2, Insightful)

opti6600 (582782) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723493)

Yeah, but buddy...we use our own mail server for professional reasons. I can control what my staff sends out and gets in, and also can provide server-side address (LDAP) and other resource support.

We're even considering moving to Exchange for the feature (we use RHEmS now), but with AOL blocking us, I try to keep a slightly tighter ship, so to speak, in an effort to show what the Avg. Joe can do with their mailserv. I dunno guys, the Net seems to be heading down the tubes faster than we can be righteous, but I hope we don't see this again. Come on! Students having their ALTERNATIVE ENERGY publication's mail serv blocked? It's a shame.

First Post! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723362)


fp (-1, Offtopic)

jbloggs (535329) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723363)


Hah! Let the War Begin! (-1, Flamebait)

Esion Modnar (632431) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723366)


Re:Hah! Let the War Begin! (1)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723497)

As an antispam measure I've blocked AOL, hotmail and Yahoo for a while(except for people who I already know).

heh... (4, Funny)

di0s (582680) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723368)

You (don't) have mail!

Spam solution (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723369)

We better ban all servers. The spam problem wil be finally solved...

w00t! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723370)

Does that mean I don't need to handle all the Stupid (tm) AOL users anymore? :D

*BSD is dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723373)

It is official; Netcraft now confirms: *BSD is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered *BSD community when IDC confirmed that *BSD market share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that *BSD has lost more market share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. *BSD is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last [samag.com] in the recent Sys Admin comprehensive networking test.

You don't need to be a Kreskin [amazingkreskin.com] to predict *BSD's future. The hand writing is on the wall: *BSD faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for *BSD because *BSD is dying. Things are looking very bad for *BSD. As many of us are already aware, *BSD continues to lose market share. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

FreeBSD is the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of its core developers. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time FreeBSD developers Jordan Hubbard and Mike Smith only serve to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: FreeBSD is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

OpenBSD leader Theo states that there are 7000 users of OpenBSD. How many users of NetBSD are there? Let's see. The number of OpenBSD versus NetBSD posts on Usenet is roughly in ratio of 5 to 1. Therefore there are about 7000/5 = 1400 NetBSD users. BSD/OS posts on Usenet are about half of the volume of NetBSD posts. Therefore there are about 700 users of BSD/OS. A recent article put FreeBSD at about 80 percent of the *BSD market. Therefore there are (7000+1400+700)*4 = 36400 FreeBSD users. This is consistent with the number of FreeBSD Usenet posts.

Due to the troubles of Walnut Creek, abysmal sales and so on, FreeBSD went out of business and was taken over by BSDI who sell another troubled OS. Now BSDI is also dead, its corpse turned over to yet another charnel house.

All major surveys show that *BSD has steadily declined in market share. *BSD is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If *BSD is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. *BSD continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, *BSD is dead.

Fact: *BSD is dying

I would say.... (2, Insightful)

Chris_Stankowitz (612232) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723374)

to lttile too late. However, this move doesn't even classify as "too little". There has to be some other underlying reason to move to block e-mail for this one group of internet users, because it clearly isn't going to put a dent in the spam that AOL users receive daily. There are MANY service providers that do a much better job at spam blocking than AOL, why is it about them that keeps them from getting it right? Or are they secretly selling e-mail addresses?

bouncing mail to postmaster? (5, Interesting)

fyonn (115426) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723375)

I thought that was a requirement of having a domain and you can lose the domain if mail is not accepted or read there? I'd have to check the rfc's but wouldn;t that be a thing, someone taking aol's domain from them because they don;t accept mail for postmaster?


Re:bouncing mail to postmaster? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723458)

It would never happen. That would be like a multi-billion dollar technology company like, oh, say Microsoft, forgetting to renew their domain registration.

Not in our lifetimes :)

Re:bouncing mail to postmaster? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723466)


Plenty of people out there have a domain and yet use their.name@their.isp.com as their email address. Nothing wrong with that. Some RFCs *do* state that you have to make all reasonable attempts to receive mail for postmaster@yourdomain.com *if* you run a mail server for that domain, but I've never heard of someone losing a domain over it.

No problem (5, Interesting)

JanneM (7445) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723376)

I long ago includedevery mail from aol.com, yahoo.com and hotmail.com in my static spam filters. If anybody with such an account wants to mail me, they need to get in touch with some other account (or other means) first so I can add an excemption to them. To date I have three such excemptions total, all on yahoo.com.

I can't very well block them further than I already do, in other words.

Re:No problem (2, Insightful)

Profane Motherfucker (564659) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723391)

I long ago includedevery mail from aol.com, yahoo.com and hotmail.com in my static spam filters.

Is this a contest to see who is more ignorant? I'd put you as neck and neck with AOL in this respect.

Re:No problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723392)

Are you saying "exception" or "exemption"? There's no hybrid that I know of.

Re:No problem (1)

Doug Neal (195160) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723546)

I've never had a single spam message from those places. They come down on you so hard and fast if you do send spam from them that it's just not worth anyone's while, let alone the inconvenience of using a webmail system for mass emailing.

Now, blocking mail from Korean IP addresses - that would cut out about 80% of spam from everyone's mailbox.

Your Mom (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723377)

Don't worry, I am on AOL. I will send your mom a note.

AOL sucks! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723380)

first post?

About Time (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723384)

30% of the spam that comes in to our mailserver is from residential dsl ip's.

If you are dial up or home dsl you should not be talking diectly to smtp servers anyway you should be sending mail through your provider.

see: http://njabl.org/ they do exactly this.

Re:About Time (1)

statusbar (314703) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723414)

But this is a problem with some providers - For instance below I mentioned my friend's company's private web forums hosted on a static IP address on a cable modem. If he wants the forum software to broadcast send an email to all his subscribers, the shaw.ca mail server rejects it, saying you are not allowed to BCC more than 10 people at once.

My solution for them was to make an ssh tunnel to my mail server which is on a 'real' connection at a co-lo.


In other news (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723385)

The United States Postal Service has announced it will stop delivering
any mail from Florida, due to the large number of mail-order scams
originating from that state.

Re:In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723435)

Thank God. We don't need any more of those gun swinging bozos down here anyway. We already have plenty.

Re:In other news (1, Funny)

bsharitt (580506) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723527)

Well its about damn time! :)

Eathlink does this too. (5, Interesting)

statusbar (314703) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723387)

My friend pays for a "static" Ip address on his cable modem to run some private corporate web forums. A few weeks ago, all email notifications from the forums going to anyone hosted at earthlink.net were bouncing - The message is "No email accepted from dynamic IP addresses".
Both AOL and Earthlink have TONS of subscribers.

If they both decide to carry on doing this, there is nothing you can do about it.

Truth is, SMTP sucks. They are only doing this because of all the spam. Yes they are violating RFC's. Too bad...


Re:Eathlink does this too. (1)

Malicious (567158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723420)

Most ISP's are now offering Static IP's thru DHCP, which i'm sure will be seen as a Dynamic IP range.

I know the ISP i work for does this. I also know that most of the web hosting companies in my city, have their internet connections through us.

Let the feathers, be ruffled.

Re:Eathlink does this too. (1)

DragonMagic (170846) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723476)

I have to agree with the parent.

RFCs this old were designed for ease of use but also to keep information moving. The only problem was that when it was conceived, no one figured on thousands of Penis Enlargement, Make Money Today, Get Bigger Breasts, Lose Tons Of Weight, Wipe Out Debt and Free Credit Card offers filling people's email boxes daily.

SMTP as the RFC spec is faulty and prone to severe spam abuse. Breaking RFC specs at this time until it is fixed and much harder to abuse would probably help cut down on spam. Even if only to two major ISPs.

Re:Eathlink does this too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723526)

this is actually pretty good. they are cracking down on spam.

now earthlink doesn't let me connect to any port 25 except for theirs.. and i'm had instances of flakey services, and i'm sure the fbi has free access.. but until I get a relay that I can tunnel my outbound smtp via vpn or other non port-25 traffic, I'll just be happy that my ISP is spam free..

hopefully after spam quiets down, we can relax a bit.. or just change the RFCs.. they are too antiquated.. imagine phones before caller ID.. we need something like that for EMAIL....

AOL isn't the only one. (5, Interesting)

lfarenw (603409) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723393)

I've been noticing this trend of blocking DSL/Cable originated mail for a while now. A few local ISPs block emails sent from my linux box (using Comcast cable service). Even SourceForge, that bastion of Open Source, blocks mail coming from my Postfix server--forcing me to use my Exchange server at work to send mail to my local LUG mailing list (now there's irony.).

this is strange... (1, Funny)

TaraByte (660047) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723394)

I thought that AOL just recently unveiled their "broadband" service based on DSL. Do they have measures to protect other aol'ers from spamming each other? or is that not part of the deal?

Someone check the windows... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723396)

I have a feeling the atmosphere is going to spontaneously ignite any minute.

What the hell is going on these days? DMCA madness prosecuting people for ridiculously stupid "crimes". Patriot Act part Deux taking white out to the consitution. Companies attempting to enforce frighteningly retarded patents on ludicrously nebulous ideas.

I mean, jesus christ, what the hell ever happened to common sense and restraint?!? WHERE THE HELL IS SOLOMON?!?


If you want to send mail... (4, Funny)

Ageless (10680) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723398)

If you want to send mail to AOL you just need to use something different than DSL. No big deal. May I suggest AOL/Time Warner Road Runner Cable Modem Service?


Re:If you want to send mail... (1)

analog_line (465182) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723444)

You obviously didn't read the news.com link. They are doing the same to Comcast/RoadRunner dynamics..

Joke? (1)

neurostar (578917) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723552)

I think he was joking.

Re:If you want to send mail... (2, Informative)

LoadStar (532607) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723495)

If you want to send mail to AOL you just need to use something different than DSL. No big deal. May I suggest AOL/Time Warner Road Runner Cable Modem Service?

No, all you need to do is use your ISP provided mail server, or use an alternative mail server not hosted on your DSL line.

After seeing the umpteenth email stroll into my mailbox that was either a spam or a virus, I applaud the move. Virtually every consumer DSL or cable provider have a "no server" clause in their ToS anyway, so this shouldn't be all that big of a deal. The original poster sounds like sour grapes because he can't use what he shouldn't be using to transmit mail anyway.

However, as the original post referenced in the submission noted, I too wonder how AOL determines which IP addresses are dynamically allocated, and which are statically allocated, because business class DSL and cable should be exempt from this policy - those lines usually allow servers.

AOL? (0)

Malicious (567158) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723399)

Being from Canada, I have ZERO people who actually email me from AOL accounts.

I blocked all emails ending in aol.com AGES ago. I don't blame them for doing the same to me.

We can always hope (1)

Static_Neurotoxin (141004) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723400)

this is the beginnings of death rattle of a sub standard ISP, regardless how big they are. Not like they have ever had any respect for RFCs.

Ironically, blocking incoming mail from AOL will likely do more for blocking spam than their action ever will.

Re:We can always hope (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723503)

They're already making loses, mainly due to the move away from dialups.

These days I personally feel there's no need for an ISP that provides so much content. They should seperate the ISP from the content provider and open their services up to the whole net, charging a monthly subscription.

Re:We can always hope (1)

damiam (409504) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723525)

Why is AOL's death good? Not only would we lose one of MS's major competitors and the major sponsor of the Mozilla project (not to mention Winamp), all of the current AOL users would be turned loose on the real Internet. AOL currently serves as a sandbox that keeps those people from doing too much harm. Without it, God knows what would happen.

this isn't new (4, Interesting)

ejaw5 (570071) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723401)

I found out about this issue few months after i got my DSL connected almost a year ago. Used to be I'd use sendmail to send email out, and worked great since I could put my email address (which was defined through a domain name email forward) in the reply-to field. then, one day i get a message from AOL claiming I'm running an open mail relay, or using a "banned" IP. Got me worried a little bit, but I found out the real reason after i got a friend to nmap my box

SMTP connections to HotMail (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723402)

I recently setup SMTP on my linux box (just for the fun of it). One of my friends has a hotmail account. I very quickly discovered that hotmail is refusing connections from my linux box (on a cable network). I very quickly told Postfix to send any hotmail bound email to my ISP's SMTP server. My friend got the email so... that may be an easy workaround for AOL as well.

It's their network. (5, Insightful)

cperciva (102828) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723404)

If AOL doesn't want to accept your mail, that's their choice. It's their network, and their mail servers. Of course, when AOL customers find that they can't receive any email, AOL might lose business.

Like all other spam blocking attempts, there will be collateral damage. They try to keep their customers happy, and the market decides if they succeeded.

Re:It's their network. (1)

pbryan (83482) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723455)

Amen to that. People often claim they refuse to accept email from AOL because a lot of spam comes from them. The inverse completely legitimate. No rights are being violated. AOL is deciding with whom it is willing to associate with. If its customers dislike the change, they are free to find a more agreeable service provider.

Re:It's their network. (5, Insightful)

Boss, Pointy Haired (537010) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723505)

Yes, but have they told their subscribers?

You don't know you haven't got what you didn't get.

Only dynamically assigned IP addresses (3, Interesting)

Dynastar454 (174232) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723405)

It should be pointed out that AOL isn't blocking "All DSL" MTAs but those that have dynamically assigned IP addresses. On one hand, this is a stinky, no-good, rotten thing for them to do. On the other hand, the elitest in me says "go get a real [speakeasy.net] DSL connection if you're going to run your own MTA." :-) But really, I know it's not an option for some, and this move by AOL is pathetic.

Sending mail to AOL was always a headache (2, Interesting)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723407)

I used to sell stuff on ebay and as such, always needed to reach customers pronto. And AOL email addresses as the unfortunate side effect of being the most unreachable.... either a high percentage never got the mail or it gets bounced.

My advice is to get a yahoo email address, not only does it not block mail, but you won't be inundated with junkmail because they filter most of it in another folder for you. So far, they never put in anything valuable or legitimate in there so it seems to work fine. The other reason is it is ISP agnostic.... that way if you cancel AOL, you don't have to give every a new email address.

My 2 cents^.^

Another example (1)

Iltamies (153447) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723408)

I may just be jaded, but this seems like yet another example of "We're x large company, we can do this because we want to if if's not right." Will blocking all their mail in turn be the proper route to getting this fixed? Will legal action? Is their previous supporting cases of tech companies getting in real hot water for ignoring RFC's? A very quick search on google doesn't find much.

Re:Another example (1)

trg83 (555416) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723507)

RFC stands for "request for comment." They are standards only because people set up software to implement them in order to communicate with others, not because they are some sort of law. So, I don't think any legal action on this matter would be effective.

What are we coming to? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723409)

July 3, 2076 -- "Today UPS has announced a measure that will block all packages not mailed from a UPS Manned Mailing Center. This will enhance security, as everyone will be going through a limited number of places. It will give UPS better control on packages it accepts. Instead of denying packages on a case by case basis, UPS will trash them before even looking at them."

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This is obsurd (1)

mpechner (637217) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723417)

With vendors offering QOS on DSL lines, many companies are picking up on DSL as an alternative to leased lines. It is cheaper and they can add bandwidth as they grow and can afford it.

This will prevent legitimate businesses from conducting business.

How does AOL know? What if an IP range is moved from DSL to a leased line?

Is there something in the ARIN records that shows this?

Impeding commerce.

One way around this is that I use Yahoo Mail plus. They'll masquerade as an email address you can prove you use. Only $30/year.

AOL just did not think about this very clearly.

*sigh* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723418)

Even though it is RFC ignorant, etc etc, is it that important to use your DSL/cable modem as the sending MTA over just using the mail gateway that all sevice providers ? I had to do this a while back when a client of mine had MAPS [mail-abuse.org] installed and DUL blocking enabled - why don't you go after MAPS and say how lame they are if this story is legitimate as well..? ~z3d

LOL (0, Offtopic)

LowTolerance (301722) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723419)

Ok guys, April fools was like two weeks ago...you really got me that time. Woo..hehe... This is a joke, right?

Good move (5, Informative)

Adnans (2862) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723421)

If you have DSL you should still use your upstream SMTP server for outgoing mail. About 90% of incoming SPAM on my box originates from Windows boxes on DSL lines with open relays. I've set up exim to ignore all incoming SMTP calls from dsl hosts (*.dsl.*) and also to block hosts without proper reverse-DNS. These 2 simple steps take care in blocking a huuuge quantity of incoming SPAM at the doorstep...It's not fullproof, but it helps a great deal.


fullproof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723471)


Re:Good move (1)

SgtPepper (5548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723475)

if you're using qmail simply add mail.ispname.com or smtp.ispname.com to your smtproutes file, it really is a trivial thing to do and prevents your mail being blocked for such reasons while allowing you to still run your own mail server.

Re:Good move (3, Insightful)

user no. 590291 (590291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723539)

Bullshit. I pay for connectivity and know what I'm doing, and run my own SMTP server. If you don't want my email, you certainly don't have to accept it, but I'll run my own anyway, and the ignorant among you can just not communicate with me.

Re:Good move (4, Interesting)

rossz (67331) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723558)

you should still use your upstream SMTP server for outgoing mail
And what if your upstream provider is unreliable. Back when I had cablemodem with AT&T@Home, the service was so bad I swore to never rely on anyone else for email ever again. Emails sent through their servers had a habit of disappearing or taking months (yes, I said months) to finally arrive at their destination. Complaints resulted in the boilerplate response of "email service is for entertainment purposes only". For broadband in my area I can choose cablemodem or dsl. To get a static ip on dsl requires a jump in the monthly payment that I honestly can't afford at the moment (I'm an unemployed tech worker in the Bay Area, do the math). The rare contract work that I am getting requires email I can trust.

Drive away customers in droves (2)

JSmooth (325583) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723422)

This is certainly an interesting way to drive away the corporate customers aol still has. I service many small businesses that use dsl and in recent years many have started to host their own e-mail. These are mostly the b2b type organizations filling a niche market. Of course when all those aol users find they can no longer get e-mail from their suppliers and that there is NO fix...

I wonder if this could be considered profiling? ;)

Re:Drive away customers in droves (1)

prockcore (543967) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723494)

This is certainly an interesting way to drive away the corporate customers aol still has. I service many small businesses that use dsl and in recent years many have started to host their own e-mail

I really shouldn't be suprised that no one here on slashdot can read.

It distinctly says *residential* DSL addresses. Businesses aren't affected.. but hey, keep up that knee jerk reaction.

It could be an error... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723427)

Unless there policy states otherwise, it could be an error. Sasktel.net recently did the exact same thing, unintentionally. They installed new AV software, and by default the security settings blocked e-mail from domains it could not do a reverse lookup on, since the servers didn't know there own identity. Yes, breaking RFCs, but fixed in a day....

EDP (2, Funny)

Icephreak1 (267199) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723438)

Slap the buggers (AOL) with an EDP -- Everything Death Penalty. It's about time we punted the suckers off the planet because frankly, my ping to the States could use some improvement.

- IP

Noticed this earlier (5, Informative)

MattC413 (248620) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723440)

My linux mail server can no longer connect to any of AOL's mail servers for outgoing mail.

This link [aol.com] is the general site for AOL's mail issues.

This link [aol.com] is the FAQ that contains some error messages.

This link [aol.com] is to their daemon section that lists error/rejection messages when connecting to their mail daemon.

For those who do not wish to risk goatse.cx links, this is the message one gets when trying to connect from a residential block:

550 - The IP address you're using to connect to AOL is either open to the free relaying of e-mail, is serving as an open proxy, or is a dynamic (residential) IP address. AOL cannot accept further e-mail transactions from your server until either your server is closed to free relaying/proxy, or your ISP removes your IP address from their list of dynamic IP addresses. For additional information, please visit http://postmaster.info.aol.com.

This is nothing new ... (1)

The AtomicPunk (450829) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723443)

RBLs have had dialup lists for blocking for YEARS. I've used them for years. I don't really miss a whole lot of legitimate mail (I check).

Yes, it'd be nice if this was a perfect world, and we could all run sendmail at home... but since have these spamming hosebags that spew billions of spams from dialup, isdn, dsl, cable, carrier pidgeon, etc ...

I block dial up SMTP, so do a lot of other people, and now AOL does.

"Residential" DSL meaning what, exactly? (4, Interesting)

phillymjs (234426) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723450)

Services like Verizon, that use DHCP and/or PPPoE and already have a "no servers" policy? What's the criteria, here??? It will be interesting to see how AOL differentiates "residential" DSL from other types of DSL.

I use SpeakEasy DSL via Covad. This service is technically residential, because my servers are sitting in my house. But I have a legitimate domain, and static IPs on my servers. However, reverse DNS lookups return "dslwww-xxx-yyy-zzz.phl.yadayadayada," NOT my registered domain name.

I just successfully sent myself a test message from my domain mail to my AOL account, so I'm not being blocked yet. I guess I'll start sending a test message once or twice a day to make sure it still works, until AOL clarifies their policy. And if I do get blocked, there's gonna be some hell raised about it. My servers are locked down tight and laways have been. Shutting out all DSL-hosted mailservers to keep out spam is like burning your house down to keep it from being burglarized.


Re:"Residential" DSL meaning what, exactly? (2, Informative)

silas_moeckel (234313) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723548)

It would seem they have added blocking to all dynamic IP senders. ISP's submit these blocks willingly if your ISP put you on the list of dynamic IP have a talk with them NOT AOL. Not all ISP's submit to these lists. Generaly the best thing to do is to have your sendmail use your ISP's mailserver as a smart relay it gets rid of the issues.

Now as to why people with dynamic IP's are responcible for a VAST ammount of spam (per my spamfilters and thats for over a quarter million domains and no I dont have pretty graphs :) It's jsut way to easy and fast to get DSL, cable modem, or dial up and start sending email dialup especialy. These people cause serious ammounts of grief to the ISP's that end up with them.

Good. (1)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723452)

I run a SMTP server at home too, but this is a good idea. If you want to run a home mail server let it forward mail to your ISP for delivery.

Go look at where the spam you get actually originates. A *LOT* of it is from dsl/cable modems. Why bother hijacking an open server when any idiot on broadband can send mail directly? This is a good way to block out a large number of spam sending people.... 99.99% of people do NOT run a SMTP server at home....

Re:Good. (2, Interesting)

profplump (309017) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723534)

If they were really spamming AOL, they wouldn't need a mail server -- their could just tell their mail client to use mailin-03.mx.aol.com as the SMTP server, and it would gladly accept any mail bound for aol.com. Or at least it would before this ridiculous policy. The ability of people to run mail servers is not an issue -- SMTP doesn't care.

This didn't start April 10th ... (3, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723459)

The first I noticed it was March 27th (and I don't email my dad @ AOL that often, so it probably happened even before that ...)

The original message was received at Thu, 27 Mar 2003 13:35:36 -0600
from dougmc@localhost

----- Transcript of session follows ----- ... while talking to mailin-03.mx.aol.com.:
550-The IP address you're using to connect to AOL is either open to the
550-free relaying of e-mail, is serving as an open proxy, or is a dynamic
550-(residential) IP address. AOL cannot accept further e-mail
550-transactions from your server until either your server is closed to free
550-relaying/proxy, or your ISP removes your IP address from their list of
550-dynamic IP addresses. For additional information, please visit
550 http://postmaster.info.aol.com. ... while talking to mailin-04.mx.aol.com.:

Me Too! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723460)

Me Too!

I have a great idea for AOL! (3, Funny)

stj (607714) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723461)

How about if AOL bans all of the e-mail traffic - in and out of their domain? Wouldn't that be great? They could even actually ban telnet, http, and ftp, too. And later all possible ports. In the end, they can even earn some money by selling their edge routers ;-)

Re:I have a great idea for AOL! (2, Informative)

dougmc (70836) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723489)

They could even actually ban telnet, http, and ftp, too.
They used to do that (sort of. They didn't ban the traffic, they just didn't route it.) If you don't recall, AOL started as a glorified BBS and only later did they add email, then Usenet, then WWW and other Internet services.

Read about The September that never ended [astrian.net] !

its not just DSL... (2, Interesting)

Mark19960 (539856) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723465)

They are targeting broadband in general.
I work for an electronics repair company...
we use road runner buisness class.
At work, I just recently wrote an application that interfaces with our database, and sends our customers email containing the status of their equiptment.
I just checked to see how many emails we send to that domain, and its a fair amount, I would say 15% of our customers.
this would create a problem for us communicating with potential or current customers.
im all for fighting spam, but are we collateral damage in this war?

same with earthlink (1)

g0hare (565322) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723468)

filtering on earthlink in headers removes lots of spam, yet I can't send from my dsl server to an earthlink user

I dont see a problem w/ this. (1, Interesting)

gladbach (527602) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723470)

a) most likely you shouldn't have an smtp server on your residential broadband connection anyways.

b) it is a known fact that a lot of spam comes from the said connections that they banned.

c) just use your isp provided smtp server you idjits. if that doesnt allow you to bcc more people than you want, then either you are spamming, or get smart enough to not have to use your smtp server.

d) this is NOT hard to work around. If I needed a smtp server, I could at this moment probably get hooked up by 6 different people off the top of my head.

e)all in all, this is not a big deal. and yes, this is coming from someone who has in the past and probably will in the future host a webserver etc off of my residential line.

Anti-Competitive Behavior (1)

Harry8 (664596) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723474)

Is this ileagle anti-competitive behavior?
In the name of spam you can't email your mother, your friends or whoever, but this problem goes away if you leave your ISP and get an AOL account.
Maybe being anti-competitive is not their intention, however they do have to be very careful to look as though they are doing the right thing, in addition to actually doing it. Moreover especially since it is so easy to change ISP away from AOL. It would probably take the majority of AOL'ers no more than an hour to accomplish this. (Mercifully an ISP is not an operating system.)
AOL customers would frequently have an alternate, web-based free email account with yahoo or whomever. They're going to find it annoying when friends start forwarding the bounced emails to the alternate address with a comment such as, "Your ISP is not offering you quality service."
One would imagine some of the other large players in the market who offer DSL, might return the favour, with detailed text in the returned mail as to why. Or even, to take the high road. Inform the AOL customer who sent it, that their mail has been delivered but not to hold their breath for a reply as their ISP is cutting their own costs at the expense of accpetable levels of service.

Slashdot can do it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723479)

U guys screwed the guy sending spam out, why don't ya screw the guy trying to block spam now?

Ramblings on a Pseudo-Internet-Network (3, Interesting)

m_evanchik (398143) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723483)

I guess this is sort of like the New York branch post offices not delivering mail from Florida, because that's where a lot of junk mail originates from.

I have a fairly nasty conspiracy theory on why AOL and Comcast are cooperating on this. By shutting out the innovative do-it-yourselfers on the Internet from their network, they squelch potential competition from their "value-added" services.

The next step might be to block web servers that don't originate from big corporate server farms. After all, who knows what could be on those independent things but kiddy porn and terrorist training instructions?

The irony is that the great mass of obtrusive commercialism on the Internet originates on the corporate, big-player side. AOL was the innovator in turning the WWW into a virtual shopping mall.

You would like to think, however that this will backfire on them, as customers look to alternatives to their increasingly sanitized pseudo-Internet network.

And how does one fool their IP filters anyway? It makes one want to "spam" everyone of AOL's customers with a protected-from-legal-prohibition-because-it-is-not -commercial-speech protest email.

Why Relying On DNSbls Is a Bad Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723485)

using IP based filters to block mail is irresponsible and lazy. These list have been shown to block legit emails on a daily basis. Word/phrase based filtering with DSNbls for 'hints' is the way to go, if you really want to stop spam from entering your network.

Anyway, they have a point... (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723490)

most of my spam don't comes anymore from open relays in china (but maybe yes with spamvertized sites in china) but from anywhere in the world, from DSL dinamic sites, where people without a clue install very open gateways/computers, maybe not even knowing that they have a mail server installed, and as a plus a lot share they hard disk, have nimda/codered installed, or are available zombies to be used for script kiddies for whatever bad idea they have.

If AOL feels that i.e. 70% of their spam comes from that kind of sites, well, they have to take some measure. I could have taken the same measures for my own email or even for the domains I administer if most of my email comes from such sites (or that don't have reverse resolution, or things like that).

Also, I think that exist a RBL for dialup IPs, so this is a logical extension of that concept.

AOL Rejections (1)

ketamineX (253353) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723500)

I run a few distribution lists from my server hosted on my dynamic ip address and have several domains that resolve to it. About 2 weeks ago a few users started receiving rejections emails that expanded to AOL and the AOL family of ISPs..

For Example: ... while talking to mailin-01.mx.aol.com.:

>>>>>> QUIT

*** 550-The IP address you're using to connect to AOL is either open to the
*** 550-free relaying of e-mail, is serving as an open proxy, or is a dynamic
*** 550-(residential) IP address. AOL cannot accept further e-mail
*** 550-transactions from your server until either your server is closed to free
*** 550-relaying/proxy, or your ISP removes your IP address from their list of
*** 550-dynamic IP addresses. For additional information, please visit
*** 550 http://postmaster.info.aol.com. ... while talking to mailin-04.mx.aol.com.:

Ended up setting a virutal route for these domains to point to my ISPs SMTP server. The other 99% of domains are still delivered directly.

Open relay my ass.. AOL sure pissed me off.

Open Proxy Madness (4, Informative)

Akai (11434) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723501)

As a network engineer of a DSL and T1 only ISP (we have dialup but only for traveling DSL/T1 customers) I can let you know that this will probably stop oodles of spam.

The latest spammer tactic is not to seek out open relays, but open windows proxies, and from there they can initial outbound SMTP connections to legit SMTP servers and send spam.

Already a large number of dialup providers will only allow you to send through their mail server, and a larger number of ISPs user the DUN RBL to block email directly from dialup pools.

This is just more of the same. Your ISP should provide you with SMTP service, use them as a smart host even if you're running your own SMTP server, so it'll offload the requeing/etc from your box to theirs.

DSL and Cable are the new dialup, and should be treated as such, a place where the majority of the customers are clueless idiots who ruin the party for the smart people.

Several ISPs are starting to scan mail servers sending them mail for open proxy/open relay before accepting the mails, expect to see this practive and AOL's solution spread to most ISPs in the near future.

If you want to run a real mail server, perhaps you should get a real internet conenction, like Colocation or T1.

Just think... (1)

kaamos (647337) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723506)

Geek don't let geeks go AOL. Or their mothers for that matter. OTOH I know it is cheapto go AOL instead of broadband but I am spoiled my our 2 mbit cable for C30$ per month in canada. Oh well..

Maybe not a good idea (1)

Da Fokka (94074) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723509)

I strongly recommend that as a compensatory measure, non-AOL MTAs be configured to deny all incoming mail from AOL's domain." I think this is an excellent example of fighting fire with fire and why it's a Bad Idea (TM). Retaliating a breach of RFC with another breach of RFV with just as much collateral damage will only aggravate the problem. I strongly oppose this action by AOL. But I don't think such 'compensatory measures' will help the situation.

(AOL == Hypocrite) := True (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5723510)

I got spam from aol before. I get even more from yahoo. This is what many have expected for a while, that spam will kill email as we know it.

Trivial fix (4, Informative)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723515)

In /etc/mail/sendmail.mc:


Admins with users can't ban AOL (2, Insightful)

astrashe (7452) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723517)

If you're an admin with users (ie., not just running your own system), it would be pretty hard to ban incoming mail from AOL.

A year or two ago, I had AOL trouble with my free colocated server. The people who gave me the server were using IP addresses from a T1 line that they bought from a cable modem company. It wasn't on a net connected via a cable modem, but it was part of the cable modem company's block.

So AOL just silently deleted my messages. It's very frustrating, they don't tell you anything, you can't find documentation, no one will answer an email, etc.

It would be nice, at least for the first few days after they start the policy, to bounce messages with some sort of explanation, rather than just tossing them out.

I don't really have a problem with them trying to block spam -- I had access to a bigger, upstream SMTP server, so I could relay -- but it sucks that they don't tell anyone what's going on.

At the very least an AOL mail admin could post something on a mail admin's email list, so that a google search would turn up the answer. What would that take, five minutes?

A lot of people are lauding AOL for this move? (1)

loucura! (247834) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723519)

This is the same website that the vast majority of readers complain because .doc incompatibility, Microsoft breaking Kerberos, XML and shit! HTML.

How can you condone breaking ONE standard, and on the other hand vilify breaking another?

Pot... this is kettle... you are black. Repeat, you are black.

Using ISP serves not an option for some (1)

Loosewire (628916) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723522)

A lot of posts seem to be suggesting outgoing mail be routed through their isp's servers. However what about the "No frils" providers who just provide a broadband connection to the net, no mail servers or newsgroups etc??
how will they email AOL.
Anyway spams are only effective if they are sent in the hundreds of thousands or millions. If you notice more than 100 messages a day from a known DSL connection then block em.

Who'd wanna talk to them anyway? (1)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723523)

I strongly recommend that as a compensatory measure, non-AOL MTAs be configured to deny all incoming mail from AOL's domain.

You mean some people don't already block AOL? AOL is one of the larger sources of spam, so I've had to consistently keep them blocked on my DSL-based mail host. The fact they now block me is utterly benign.

Not to forget there's /mode +b *!*@*aol.com. ;-)

Umm.. (4, Funny)

doofsmack (537722) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723535)

Slashdot's RFC-ignorant [rfc-ignorant.org] too.. Bounces abuse@ emails.

How Ironic (-1)

drooling-dog (189103) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723540)

How ironic. Here are the top 10 sources of spam sent to my domain over a recent 8-day period:

987 aol.com
819 yahoo.com
556 hotmail.com
220 recessionspecials.com
179 yeah.net
175 msn.com
165 earthlink.net
129 21cn.com
123 migada.com
123 cm02.net

As a result, except for a few specific addresses, aol.com now gets filtered out...

AOL far from alone (1)

HalfFlat (121672) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723543)

Many ISPs, companies and mail services refuse to accept mail sent from dynamically assigned IP blocks. AOL are simply joining a large and growing body of organisations that choose to blindly block as a weak defense against spam.

The irony is that the whole problem stems from the policy of assigning dynamic IPs to dial-up and DSL users. Had ISPs made a serious (or any!) effort to support IPv6, or stopped using static IPs as a service differentiator that allowed them to charge much higher business rates, this would all be moot.

What pisses me off the most is that T-Online (Deutsche Telekom's 'net service) is dynamic IP only if you want to avoid per-MB charging, yet they charge extra for the use of their SMTP relay. In my mind, this is just despicable. The lack of any real competition for affordable high speed services means that this sort of thing isn't going to go away any time soon.

So here's a big hello to all my peers on the residential second class Internet!

This hugely pisses me off - and what about hotmail (1)

osjedi (9084) | more than 11 years ago | (#5723545)

Does anyone know if Hotmail is doing something similar? I can't get any mail through to hotmail users.

My company, after throwing up our hands in the face of terrible hosting service, has been self-hosted on our DSL line for several years. It's been bliss. No downtime, no unexpected outages. We run our own mail/web server and it's been great. We use email to communicate with many of our clients, and many of them use AOL. Now when they try to email us it's going to bounce? This is going to make us look bad. It's going to interfere with business.

The thing that makes me mad is that this is not how the interenet started out. 10 years ago all nodes were created equal. There was courtesy and cooperation. That's why the growth was exponential. That's why everybody got on. There was no class system. There was no AOL or Microsoft forcing behavior changes. I don't want to pay for hosting. I want to self host, but these are going to force me to pay for yet another thing I don't want or need. They are going to force me to give up freedoms I enjoy (reliability, custom configuration, security controls) or I will become "incompatible" and appear to my clients as if I am the one who has unreliable systems. Oooo this burns me! We are being punished for our competence. I am confident that I have better email security in place than any large commercial ISP. And yet I am convicted without a trial on the assumption that maybe I don't.

This is akin to a mudslinging campaign. Large ISP's will make it look like the little guy's systems don't work, making themselves appear to be a better, more reliable alternative.

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