Friday, February 1, 2008

Attention AOL users

To paraphrase an old Southwest airlines commercial...You are now free to move about the mail server.

The block that was placed against our server IP by AOL has been lifted, and email is now free to flow back and forth between AOL and our portion of the Internet. For further information on why this occurred in the first place, please read the original post about SPAM friendly fire.

As with the majority of web hosts who are concerned about SPAM and take email seriously, we are continuing to stand by our policy of not allowing automatic email forwarding to AOL accounts, to guard against this happening again.

I would strongly encourage all users to set up an email client on your computer, so you will have access to ALL your email and not need to use forwards or webmail. Our server supports IMAP which will leave a copy of the email on the server also, either for a set period of time or indefinitely, depending on how you set it up.

There is an AOL feedback loop in place (and has been since last May) so we can address an issues directly as they arise. As stated in the original post about SPAM friendly fire, this happens when an AOL user has his/her domain email, which is hosted by us, forwarded to his/her AOL account. Our SPAM filters are the best you will find anywhere, short of having a human personally check each incoming email, and even then that human would need to know your personal preferences and what *you* consider SPAM...since SPAM wouldn't be so prolific if it wasn't profitable to spammers. As good as our filters are, some SPAM is going to slip through, there's no way around that.

When an AOL user goes through there mail, it may not be readily obvious to them that the SPAM they are reporting to AOL came through their domain account. The AOL user thinks they are being a good netizen by reporting this SPAM, when in fact since the last place it came "from" is their own domain, and our mail server they are, in effect, reporting themselves as a spammer to AOL.

Because we take your email, and ours, seriously, we do not allow automatic email forwarding to any AOL account. If this becomes a problem seen with other ISPs, all email forwarding will be banned. So far it's only been an issue with AOL, but this is something to be aware of if you have email forwarded, particularly if you have mailto tags on any portion of your website. If you need to forward an individual email to your AOL you can log into cPanel and do that, since it's an email you are expecting it would be highly unlikely to have it reported as SPAM.

We ask that for the good of all you abide by this policy. The only thing worse than having your email inadvertently and needlessly blocked would be to get on Mara's bad side because you created extra work.

We encourage all hosting clients to utilize an email client on your local computer, so you can download and have access to all email and not have the need for email forwards. Our server supports IMAP, so if you need to have access to email via webmail also, you can. Please also be aware that though all hosting plans offer ample disk space, stored email does consume disk space and counts against your space allotment.