Activists spin spam filter functions? Or simply blocked by angry AOL?

Declan McCullagh over at Politech makes note of the problems the DearAOL campaign is having getting through to AOL subscribers, and the email threads he has posted are worth a quick read.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation sent out a press release claiming AOL is deliberately blocking all messages with “” in the body. The EFF makes no mention of the fact that AOL subscribers themselves might be responsible, by marking the unsolicited messages they received as spam. They also quoted Wes Boyd of MoveOn regarding the issue, but failed to mention that MoveOn has a reputation for less than diligent list management.

Rather than debate the issue, I’d like to hear from some AOL subscribers on this one. If you are an AOLer, and you marked one of these “DearAOL” messages as spam, let the world know. And to be fair, if you are an AOL subscriber who opted-in for these messages, only to have them blocked thereafter, speak up as well (and make sure to say whether you added the sender to your acceptable senders list too).


AOL is claiming the blocking was a “glitch” which they quickly fixed. The opposition claims that at “at least 150 messages were blocked,” and are still crying foul.

150 messages.

***UPDATE 2***

Declan has another update – the process leading to the blocked email was convoluted by AOL user rejection, URL redirects, and other issues which would, in aggregate, affect almost any bulk mailer coming into AOL.

I wonder how many more times AOL’s filters are going to get “tripped up,” and how many more times someone will cry foul instead of admitting these technologies are not infallible.


J.D. Falk says:

Carl Hutzler has a good explanation of what happened and why over at .

(They’re still complaining about 150 messages, out of the billions that AOL processes each day? What a horrible lack of perspective. Sheesh.)

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