[Mailman-Users] spam, AOL and server names

Brad Knowles brad at shub-internet.org
Tue Mar 20 20:28:04 CET 2007

At 7:59 AM -0500 3/20/07, Dennis Morgan wrote:

>  A persistent problem we've had is a significant amount of our users are
>  AOL - and many are clueless. We're pretty ruthless about deleting AOL
>  users when we get a report that someone is using their spam button - but
>  even so a lot (most) of our mail to AOL gets rejected. We've decided
>  that part of the problem is we're using an older version of majordomo.

See also FAQ 3.42.

>  I *think* another part of our problem can be found in this bit of our
>  dns report from dnsstuff.com:
>  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>  OK: All of your mailservers have their host name in the greeting:
>  mail.e-aa.org:
>      220 dedicated.bixbycreek.com ESMTP Sendmail 8.12.10/8.12.10; Tue, 20
>  Mar 2007 05:44:34 -0800
>  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>  In other words our mailing domain name is different than our mail server
>  domain name.

That shouldn't be an issue.  I send e-mail as brad at shub-internet.org, 
although I may use any number of different servers as my outbound 
mail relay for those messages depending on where I am, what computer 
I'm using and what network it uses to access the Internet, etc....

Only really stupid people check the domain name of your envelope 
sender and require that it be sent from a machine with a matching 
domain name.  I've run into some stupid people like this, but I'm 
pretty sure they're not doing this at AOL -- we weeded out that kind 
of stupidity years ago, when I was the Sr. Internet Mail 
Administrator at AOL.

>  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>  WARNING: One or more of your mailservers is claiming to be a host other
>  than what it really is (the SMTP greeting should be a 3-digit code,
>  followed by a space or a dash, then the host name). If your mailserver
>  sends out E-mail using this domain in its EHLO or HELO, your E-mail
>  might get blocked by anti-spam software. This is also a technical
>  violation of RFC821 4.3 (and RFC2821 4.3.1). Note that the hostname
>  given in the SMTP greeting should have an A record pointing back to the
>  same server. Note that this one test may use a cached DNS record.
>   mail.eaachat.org claims to be non-existent host dedicated.eaachat.org:
>   220 dedicated.eaachat.org ESMTP
>  ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don't think that this is a problem, either.  But I'd need to see 
for myself to be certain.

>  I'm assuming that both of the above problems are part of our AOL
>  problems. Am I correct? And if so - does anyone have a tip or two about
>  what to do to resolve it?
>  We're creating an SPF record to see if that helps - we really want at
>  least some of our mail to get through to AOL. We plan to make the switch
>  next week.

Don't use SPF.  Don't use it anywhere.  It causes way more problems 
than it can possibly solve.  Everything I said back in 2004 on this 
subject is still applicable today, if not more so.  See 

Brad Knowles <brad at shub-internet.org>, Consultant & Author
LinkedIn Profile: <http://tinyurl.com/y8kpxu>
Slides from Invited Talks: <http://tinyurl.com/tj6q4>

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