[Mailman-Users] Goodmail spells doom for mailing lists?

Jonathan Dill jonathan at nerds.net
Fri Feb 24 15:08:52 CET 2006

Sally K Scheer wrote:
> I'm not quite sure what you've just written here. What is AOL blocking?
If you only have a few people on your mailing list, probably nothing, 
but if you cross a certain threshhold--I'm guessing either number of 
messages sent from you, or number of spam complaints--AOL just starts 
rejecting your e-mail, and you have to sign up for their "Enhanced 
Whitelist" service, which is apparently being phased out in favor of 
Goodmail.  Maybe this is not really an issue unless you have a "large" 
mailing list.  My concern was that AOL could start looking at 
Precedence: list / bulk in the e-mail headers, and then numbers do not 

I have a client with an opt-in only newsletter that goes out monthly, 
you have to go to their website, subscribe to the list, and then confirm 
your subscription.  Or you could fill out a paper form at one of their 
expos which clearly states that if you want to be on the newsletter 
mailing list, you should fill in your e-mail address.  The list 
currently has about 45,000 subscribers, about 15,000 of those are from 
AOL, and as many as 100-200 people may sign up for or leave the list in 
an average month.  Originally, it was more like 55,000, but when I took 
this on, I tuned the "bounce" settings to be more appropriate for a 
monthly "announce only" mailing list, peoples' bounce status was just 
getting reset too quickly.

Sometime last year, AOL just started rejecting our e-mail, and I had to 
register them for the "Enhanced Whitelist" program so the e-mail would 
go to AOL subscribers.  One thing that did do is that I started 
receiving e-mail from AOL every time someone reported the mailing as 
"spam" and then I would unsubscribe them from the list.  People sign up 
for the list, confirm their subscription, and then turn around and 
complain about getting e-mail from us, and then when I take them off the 
list, they complain that they should not have been removed, I just don't 
get it.  There is already a clear "Unsubscribe" link in our e-mail 
messages and we don't make people confirm unsubscription.  It would be 
nice if AOL would give people a "Unsubscribe" button so hopefully people 
would use that instead of just being lazy and clicking the "Spam" 
button, the headers by Mailman already include the necessary information 
to do that.  I would like to make it harder for people to subscribe and 
make people agree to some kind of "Terms of Service" but the client is 
afraid that will scare off technophobes, and I think there is a point to 

Since Enhanced Whitelist is supposedly being phased out and we are 
already on that program, I am wondering if AOL will just start rejecting 
our e-mail again unless we sign up for Goodmail.


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