Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(November 1999)

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Subject: Re: AOL Situation Resolved
From: garyb @ fxt . com
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 99 09:53:08 -0800
To: List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM
References: <>
Reply-to: garyb @ fxt . com

> We have learned that AOL has a policy of SILENTLY discarding
> selected mail messages as part of their ongoing efforts to fight
> spam.  Unfortunately they will not tell us what rules are used to
> determine if a particular message will be discarded. They have only
> told us that the rules change daily and...

I've been following the search engine technology wars, and  
something similar is happening there.  The search engines (altavista  
etc.) are retuning their search engines daily, trying to outsmart  
folks who are constantly trying to make their sites show up at the  
top of the list.  They no longer publish the rules.  And there are  
companies who spend full time submitting things different ways to  
see how to take advantage of the rules this month, and selling the  

This is not at all how we like to think of the net.  We like to  
think of an index as a tool of the user, but the overly-commercial  
interests look at it as a kind of predatory coloration.  Same thing  
with SPAM only more so.  If AOL told us the rules, or just didn't  
change them constantly, the SPAMmers would take advantage of that  
too.  Sick, sick, sick...  Now I understand the role of Marshal  
Dillon and the Texas Rangers in the Old West, vs. the rogue cattle  
barons and the hoss thieves.

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