Lighthouse Hosting News Bulletin - 11/10/2006**IMPORTANT SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT**
Mail Forwarding to AOL Accounts
To: All Mail Accounts Hosted On LightHouse Hosting
Several mail users have questioned our policy on banning forwards to AOL. The reason why this ban is necessary is to ensure that all of our clients can send regular mail to AOL. The AOL mail system has a often misused and misunderstood button to "Report SPAM" which AOL users believe actually stops SPAM. By highlighting an email in AOL, typically people highlight all their email, and pressing the "Report SPAM" button, they trigger an automatic process by which AOL sends out Abuse complaints to all the ISP's in the header of the Email. Since the spammers usually always forge the headers of their email the real complaints from AOL hardly ever reach any real abuse desks of any legitimate ISP's. The end result is that this usually does nothing to stop the real SPAMMERS.
What this process does do is cause legitimate mail providers such as ourselves to become a victim of AOL's abuse policy. When our customers forward SPAM received from their domain accounts to their AOL accounts, then report it as SPAM, a real abuse complaint is generated and sent to our abuse group. After a specific number of complaints in a defined time period AOL banns the sending mail server for 48 hours or more preventing the mail systems from sending any mail at all to AOL users.
Over the course of the past two years since this policy was implemented by AOL we have fought a loosing battle trying to get our customers to use our Anti-spam detection systems and to stop reporting their own mail from their domain as SPAM on forwarded AOL accounts. Our mail systems have fallen victim to several temporary blocks by AOL because of users reporting their own SPAM. Because a significant percentage of our daily mail flow is legitimate mail to AOL users from our users we cannot afford to have our mail systems banned because of the misuse of the "Report Spam" button at AOL.
The resultant ban on forwards to AOL has stopped the majority of AOL abuse complaints and has dropped our abuse complaint ratio below the level considered acceptable by AOL thus insuring legitimate mail delivery from our customers to AOL accounts.
The AOL ban on forwards is global and is applied to all accounts. This ban was implemented on 10/7/2006. There are no plans to reverse the policy unless AOL removes or alters the behavior of the often misused "Report Spam" button.
Support, LightHouse Hosting LLC.