AOL/rfc guidelines and mailing lists

I have a mailing list set up for a client on Dreamhost. Some people (aol users) have not been able to successfully subscribe because AOL is blocking the confirmation/opt-in email:

“This email is rejected for containing one or more URLs which do not follow RFC guidelines.”

What needs to change in the confirmation email? Here’s a dummy copy of the confirmation email:

We would like to add you to our mailing list, but first we must ask that you confirm your desire to have subscribed to our announcement list (

To verify your subscription to this list, please click this URL now:

If you would rather not subscribe, or if you are currently signed up under another address, do nothing and ignore this request! You may also subscribe or unsubscribe at any time through our website at

Do you have a copy of the full bounce message, including the original confirmation message?

If you do, send me a copy at abuse-replies at dreamhost dot com.

I just forwarded it to you. Thanks!


Thanks. I’ll contact the AOL postmaster team about this and see exactly what their system is barfing on.

I have a very small announcement list happily served by DH’s, well, server. Now to find out that AOL is blocking messages from this server. I thought the double opt-in feature (where new sign-ups click a link in a message to confirm) was about as sure as a person could get about not spamming anyone. Isn’t this, combined with an unsubscribe form, responsible enough running of an announcement list, or am I missing something? Should I be warning current AOL subscribers that they won’t be getting announcements for now? Sure hope this is worked out soon- doesn’t seem possible for DH’s system (& strict policy) to facilitate spammers.

G’day Chell,
you probably already know this: DH has issued an announcement earlier. AOL has removed the block.

  • marsbar
    p.s. are you a member of the minibb forums? There is another ‘chell’ there, so I thought it might be you. :slight_smile:

Good mornin’! Yep, got that announcement- was a relief. Still don’t know how it’s possible for someone using the DH list server to be causing much (if any) trouble. Isn’t everyone required to verify their sign-up by clicking that e-mail link?

LOL! That is you over there! Shoulda known, can only be one marsbar. Yah, I just joined after installing minibb for one of my DH sites. Awesome board- does just what it should do. Well it’s good to “see a familiar face” there.

Well any sort of bulk mail is going to result in some amount of complaints, no matter how strict the signup requirements. (some) AOL members have a habit of marking anything and everything they don’t feel like getting as spam. I see this with discussion lists as well, sometimes. You also have cases where people are sharing an account and don’t realize that someone signed up. Also, there are still some “grandfathered” lists from before the new policy took effect (although we’ve been requiring confirmation for AOL subscribers for quite some time).

I’m not sure what was happening in this particular situation - we noticed that some of AOL’s inbound mail servers seemed to be blocking us while others weren’t. When I spoke to someone on the phone over there, they claimed that they didn’t see any existing blocks on that machine.

I have filled out a whitelist request form for certain bulk mail machines on our side (particularly the ones sending announcement / discussion lists, and those sending the confirmation messages themselves) - hopefully this should help.

I’ve generally found AOL pretty responsive - they have a hard job to do, and a whole lot of users. And, unlike other ISPs, they do a pretty good of documenting their policies. The sad truth is that given the current state of the spam problem (with probably 40-60%+ of mail at many sites being spam), blocked and filtered mail are probably going to become more of a problem rather than less.