Well, AOL *had* been doing a good job of communicating with postmasters
and list managers about mail issues, but it looks like they shot themselves
in the foot this time.
A couple of hours ago AOL's incoming mail server burped and erroneously
rejected all the aol.com addresses on one of my lists -- about 60 addresses
or so, with the error message "INCORRECT SEQUENCE OF COMMANDS" in an
SMTP transaction. So I forwarded this to email@example.com with a polite
note and inquiry.
The response was a form letter saying that AOL had changed its Postmaster
procedures -- "We are pleased to announce this change, and look forward
to serving the Internet community with increased efficiency and speed"
-- that the firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com addresses would
no longer accept messages directly, and in case of mailer problems,
outside users should consult the Postmaster FAQ at
Never mind that this is a violation of the RFC; I guess AOL does what
it damn well pleases. But to top things off, if you read the FAQ,
and scroll down to the question:
"8. The ISP that I work for is experiencing unusual difficulties
with sending mail to AOL, what should I do?
During regular business hours you should send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
However, in an emergency situation, AOL's Network Operations Center
can be contacted. Please refer to AOL's whois record for the
current contact information. The NOC can be contacted in the
event that your site is experiencing unusual difficulties with
sending mail to AOL. The NOC should ONLY be contacted by system
administrators, technical security and law enforcement issues, and
partner community leaders."
So in other words, the email@example.com address has been replaced by
a reference to a FAQ that tells you to write to the firstname.lastname@example.org
address. Good one. As for me, I think I'll call the NOC every time
they bounce some mail. Grrrr.
Anyone from AOL's operations still on this list?
Michael C. Berch
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org