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TCH-Dick

Aol/aim Fowards Policy

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Due to the increase in SPAM complaints and AOL's automated SPAM filter not being able to determine what is SPAM and what is a forward, effective Tuesday @ 5am EST TCH will no longer allow forwards from TCH accounts to AOL accounts.

 

We have tried every solution possible both on our end and working with AOL, but have been unable to come to an acceptable solution. Forwards to AOL/AIM accounts result in the majority of automated complaints we recieve from AOL, each of these complaints then has to be researched to determine what is and what isnt SPAM. Often times a server is blacklisted by AOL due to the automated SPAM filter not being able to determine if an e-mail originated from TCH or was simply forwarded from a TCH account.

 

Fighting SPAM and keeping our servers off of any blacklists is a never ending battle. We understand that some of our customers wont be very happy with this choice but we feel it is in the best interest of TCH and our servers, and will help us to continue to provide the best service we possibly can.

 

Thank you for your continued support

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Although it's an inconvenience to many, I think this is a good move in order to protect all of our family members from being on a server that gets blacklisted. AOL certainly does nothing to investigate the source of the spam and would rather shut down a server than take a minute to check it out. It's unfortunate but is in our best interests as clients of TCH.

 

I even had my account suspended when I first joined because of AOL's laziness. Everyone was great in helping me figure out what was going on but if the server had been blacklisted then folks couldn't send legit email to AOL on my server so it could have been serious.

 

If it inconveniences you then just consider how inconvenient it would be to you if your server-neighbor got your server blacklisted and you sent legit email out that was trashed without notice to you... that would be even worse.

 

Thanks Mike and Bill for being gutsy enough to make the tough decisions in order to keep things going smoothly.

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We fought the long hard battle on this one. We lost. Why did we loose? To be frank, people are lazy. Instead of checking email on two accounts they would simply set forwards to AOL. In fact, after being shutdown by our abuse team, these same people would reinstate the AOL forward just moments after we gave them access back. Silly.

 

So we are banning all AOL Email forwards. We are busily preparing our servers to remove any AOL forwards that are in place. This will start taking effect on Tuesday.

 

We really had no choice but to make this choice. AOL deemed all forwarded spam from the TCH accounts as spam orginating from our servers. So it was bad thing.

 

Either we fix this or totalchoicehosting.com was going to end up on a AOL global blacklist.

 

So we fixed it.

 

Bill

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We will be sending out a mass email (kind of ironic eh?) to all our customers informing them of this change.

 

This will take place during off peak hours tonight.

 

Thanks

 

Bill

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Sorry for this very newb question...

 

What exactly are "forwards"? In other words if I was to simply mail someone who is on AOL will this still work?

 

Again sorry for the newb question.

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Mail to them is ok.

 

What they are talking about is setting up an email forward so that any email that comes to joe@****** is forwarded to joe2342@aol.com

 

The problem is when spam comes to ****** and it's automatically forwarded to AOL by the email forwarder in your cpanel then AOL thinks it's coming from the TCH server.

 

Any email originating from you will not be affected by this... just automatic forwarding.

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Mike, I went through my accounts and I found a few so I have redirected them and notified the recipient. I'll let my folks know AGAIN that they are not to forward to AOL.

 

What will happen in cpanel when someone tries to set up an AOl forwarder?

 

Thanks,

 

Jim

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All forwards will still work in cPanel, including AOL forwards. However, our servers will be set up to automaticly delete any AOLforwards that are set up.

 

Mike

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Good move, you guys!

 

I suppose this may qualitfy as a rant and MAY be a BIT off-topic, but I installed AOL...once...a long time ago. I immediately UNinstalled it and finally managed to get my system back the way I wanted it, though it was not easy. I wish EVERYBODY would dump AOL. :eek:

 

Chuck in Taiwan

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I STRONGLY support this measure.

 

 

I already had problems with the blacklisting of my domains by AOL. Now I understand why that happens.

 

Thanks TCH.

 

:clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping: :clapping:

 

:eek: ;) ;) ;) :notworthy:

 

:tchrocks: :tchrocks: :tchrocks: :tchrocks: :tchrocks: :tchrocks:

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Some questions, probably best addressed here (feel free to edit, etc.).

 

As a reseller, I have some clients who have emails forwarded to AOL accounts. Unless someone has some other solution, I will have to set up full email accounts for each of them, and they'll have to check mail in both places. Does AOL allow POP3 access, or is it limited to only their own "download email" capability? I'm thinking they could get mail from both places via Outlook or any other email client. Does AOL happen to allow automated forwarding FROM their system? (I assume not)

 

One of my customers gets mail forwarded to Yahoo, where it ends up in his bulk mail or junk mail folder. I've had other situations where mail doesn't go through to MSN (so I'm told), as well as to at least one standard corporate email address (my wife's). Not to make this a bigger problem, but isn't this a bigger problem than just AOL? Not too bad if everyone uses the same databases of SPAMmers, but a big problem for hosting companies with thousands of hosted domains, sending email to lots of major email providers like MSN, Yahoo, Google, Earthlink, etc.

 

Is there any reporting capability available for us to monitor email usage? I don't want to see my clients' mail, I just want to see if someone is sending bulk emails from their TCH mail server s. I can talk with them to determine if it is SPAM or legit. I'm more concerned about hackers pirating their account (or one of mine) and blasting SPAM from there. Does TCH have "governors" or limits on outbound email to trigger an alert when exceeded?

 

Lastly, I've gotten "Undeliverable Mail" messages from AOL on occasion, even though I never sent the email, nor did it originate from TCH servers nor my ISP. My email address was listed as the "from" address on email sent from somebody else. I assume this person got a virus and that virus randomly chose my address from their address book to disguise the SPAM. Is it possible to detect that someone on TCH servers has one of these SPAM viruses through some automated tool?

 

Thanks in advance,

Brett

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While I completely understand the need for this, I sure wish you had given us more than 24 hours to deal with it. I'm heading off to work now, which means I have to go through my 20+ client accounts tonight (whether or not I had other plans) and deal with this. Some of my clients actually LIKE their AOL (though I can't imagine why) and won't want to learn how to check a POP email box. So I'll have to move their domain AND their account somewhere tonight to be able to deliver the same service tomorrow that they're getting today.

 

A bit more warning from TCH on this measure would have been appreciated.

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I agree.

 

Sure, shutting it down may be the best option. But, a little more notice would have been more considerate. We've been dealing with this issue all along. Antoher day or two wouldn't have made a difference.

 

Time to go shopping.

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Does AOL allow POP3 access, or is it limited to only their own "download email" capability?  I'm thinking they could get mail from both places via Outlook or any other email client.  Does AOL happen to allow automated forwarding FROM their system? (I assume not)

 

AOL allows viewing email via IMAP, so you can configure email clients (i tried w/ Thunderbird and it worked!).

 

I always shyed away from email clients, but now that i have thunderbird, i love it!

 

anyways - here's how you do it...

 

(1) get your favorite email client (try thunderbird! - http://www.mozilla.org/products/thunderbird/)

(2) set up an account that points to the AOL mail using their Open Mail (http://help.channels.aol.com/article.adp?c...rticleId=217449)

(3) read email

 

but - if theyve come all this way, they might as well kill the AOL forwarder and set up multiple accounts in thunderbird. what i love about it is that its clean, easy to use, really easy to install and set up accounts, and very lightweight, so it can run in the background and not take alot of system resources.

 

chuck

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i have a question about blacklisting...

 

since it appears that Bill has been working w/ AOL on this, does this mean that they will "unblacklist" us once TCH has put in place steps to remove all AOL forwarders and disable all automatic AOL forwards from happenings again?

 

did AOL give us any time estimate as to how long any blacklist would be in effect and on which servers?

 

we've been experiencing issues when sending emails to AOL (from server12 webmail). i'm going to open a ticket, if simply for documentation purposes, but i need to get more info from my customer.

 

thanks again for everyone's hard work!

chuck

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I agree.

 

Sure, shutting it down may be the best option. But, a little more notice would have been more considerate. We've been dealing with this issue all along. Antoher day or two wouldn't have made a difference.

 

Time to go shopping.

 

Good luck with your new host :P

 

Another day or two may have gotten all our servers blacklisted.

 

This was the right choice.

 

 

Bill

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i have a question about blacklisting...

 

since it appears that Bill has been working w/ AOL on this, does this mean that they will "unblacklist" us once TCH has put in place steps to remove all AOL forwarders and disable all automatic AOL forwards from happenings again?

 

did AOL give us any time estimate as to how long any blacklist would be in effect and on which servers?

 

we've been experiencing issues when sending emails to AOL (from server12 webmail). i'm going to open a ticket, if simply for documentation purposes, but i need to get more info from my customer.

 

thanks again for everyone's hard work!

chuck

 

Currently we only have two servers blacklisted by AOL. Once this measure is put in place, I have been promised by the AOL abuse team that the two servers will be put back on the whitelist.

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A easy fix would be to set up a yahoo or gmail type account and forward the email to that and then forward from the yahoo or gmail account to the AOL account.

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This should be a good wakeup call. Permanently forwarding all email to an account is like trying to be taller by cutting off your head and using it as a stepstool. Forwarding generates a lot of unnecessary traffic, slowing the Internet and raising costs for everyone. It is a great solution for the short term, such as changing your email address, but all email clients these days allow retrieval of messages from multiple accounts.

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This should be a good wakeup call. Permanently forwarding all email to an account is like trying to be taller by cutting off your head and using it as a stepstool. Forwarding generates a lot of unnecessary traffic, slowing the Internet and raising costs for everyone. It is a great solution for the short term, such as changing your email address, but all email clients these days allow retrieval of messages from multiple accounts.

 

Thanks for the support! I do understand what you are saying.

 

The biggest effect from this will be on our resellers. However, some times in business you can not always make the client happy all the time.

 

Bill

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Does this affect Mailman (the mailing list manager)?  I maintain a MailMan list with numerous AOL addresses in it.

 

No it does not effect that at all.

 

You will be golden.

 

Bill

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We have a site that uses a FrontPage form. The form info is sent to our AOL email adddress directly. Will the change affect us?

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Ok.... I don't usually jump on these soap boxes, but I feel that I need to say this....

 

While I agree that it's always best to give people as much notice about change as possible, none of us are in Bill's shoes. He was faced with a decision and made what he felt was best for all of us. Bill and his staff supply some of the best service and support that I have ever experienced. Now it's time for us to trust and support them.

 

If you have ever had to deal with AOL on an administrative level, you would know that it is one of the most frustrating experiences you will ever have. They are the BIG fish and treat everyone else like a bother. One of the funniest things I have ever seen on TV is their commercial where they show how much they listen to their users and care about what the users want/think. The only people they listen to are their bankers.

 

Anyhow, I just want to say Thanks to the entire TCH staff for all the effort they put forth to keep TCH an excellent place to host my domains.

 

:tchrocks:

 

Gary

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We have a site that uses a FrontPage form.  The form info is sent to our AOL email adddress directly.  Will the change affect us?

 

No this will not effect you.

 

This only effets email forwarders set up thru cpanel.

 

Bill

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While I agree that it's always best to give people as much notice about change as possible, none of us are in Bill's shoes.  He was faced with a decision and made what he felt was best for all of us.  Bill and his staff supply some of the best service and support that I have ever experienced.  Now it's time for us to trust and support them.

 

Indeed, when mail is already being blocked by AOL and can't be fixed until we make the change to stop forwarding, this is the least distruptive solution based on the options TCH had. The result is some people will have to change where they accept email (and we've recommended against forwarding to AOL in the past), but they still have the option to do that. But anyone from the blacklisted servers that wants to send email to aol customers does not have any options until the blacklists are lifted.

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To everyone saying we should have given more notice, we would have loved to. If we could have put it off a week it would have been great. Simple fact of the matter is we have been putting it off and tryinf to deal with the huge amounts of SPAM complaints, investigating them, removeing forwards for people and letting them know they are being tagged as a spammer because of them, telling them how they can use forwards and NOT get tagged as spammers, only to have them re activate the forwards as soon as we are finished talking.

 

I personally deal with the SPAM complaints, sometimes as many as 300+ a day. What most people dont understand is AOL doesnt blacklist the domain the complaints are from, they blacklist the IP address of the server. Add to this that AOL doesnt use any of the blacklists like sorbs, spamcop etc. They create their own with their own set of rules. We have been back and forth with AOL for at least the almost 2 years I have been here and its a never ending cycle. Out of all of the blacklists that any given server can be put on, AOL is by far the worst.

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What AOL is doing seems to be working for them and getting them good PR to boot:

 

http://news.google.com/news?hl=en&lr=&tab=...tnG=Search+News

 

I, for one, support TCH in their decision as they always do what's best for their client (us) in the long run. The only way for this to change would be for users to complain to AOL since they are the ones with the strigent rules.

 

I don't mean to downplay AOL either. I can say from experience that when my parents had AOL years ago, they were gently introduced to the concept of "the internet" and "email." Now they have another provider and are more knowledgable on most things web. AOL wants to be an entire package now, offering integrated email anti-virus and automatic computer repair. However, the user starts to rely on these tools instead of learning and researching for themselves.

 

Well, not to get off tangent, I wholly support and continue to love TCH. Perhaps we can come up with a different method of forwarding to AOL? As TCH-Mike said,

 

...Simple fact of the matter is we have been putting it off and tryinf to deal with the huge amounts of SPAM complaints, investigating them, removeing forwards for people and letting them know they are being tagged as a spammer because of them, telling them how they can use forwards and NOT get tagged as spammers...

regards,

!!blue

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First, thanks to you all for doing all you do to keep things running smoothly. Too bad this had to happen, but I know from first hand experience that dealing with AOL is a never ending frustration.

 

Ok - stupid question here. What I get from this discussion is that ONLY forwarders set up in CPanel will be trashed. If someone sends an email to an AOL account, or if someone manually forwards an email message to an AOL account there will be no problem. Do I have that right?

 

Thanks for your indulgence.

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First, thanks to you all for doing all you do to keep things running smoothly.  Too bad this had to happen, but I know from first hand experience that dealing with AOL is a never ending frustration.

 

Ok - stupid question here.  What I get from this discussion is that ONLY forwarders set up in CPanel will be trashed.  If someone sends an email to an AOL account, or if someone manually forwards an email message to an AOL account there will be no problem.  Do I have that right?

 

Thanks for your indulgence.

 

You are 100% correct.

 

Bill

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Thats correct, you can still send e-mail to AOL and you can still open an e-mail and click on forward and forward it to an AOL user. This only affects the automated forwards that people can set up in cpanel.

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Ok - as long as it only affects forwarding and not anything else, it's fine for me :tchrocks:.

 

On the other hand, emailing between my TCH account (on server 23) and AOL has been a problem in any case, over the past year or so. In most cases, I don't receive any emails sent from AOL accounts, and in the extremely rare occasion that they do arrive, they arrive _very_ late (many hours or even days later). Outgoing emails from TCH to AOL accounts seem fine though.

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Whether it's automatic or being sent regularly - won't it still show the same IP address from the same server.....? What's the difference between forwarding automatically vs forwarding through a normal email program - same IP address?

 

 

Beerman

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Whether it's automatic or being sent regularly - won't it still show the same IP address from the same server.....?  What's the difference between forwarding automatically vs forwarding through a normal email program - same IP address?

 

 

Beerman

 

 

The difference is people are not likely to manually forward SPAM to their AOL accounts. The problem is not forwarding legit e-mail to AOL. It is forwarding SPAM to AOL. AOL's filter doesnt look at the original sender and marks our server as the original sender. when you have several 1000 people with forwards that send all of their SPAM to AOL, AOL thinks that SPAM originates from TCH.

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The difference is people are not likely to manually forward SPAM to their AOL accounts. The problem is not forwarding legit e-mail to AOL. It is forwarding SPAM to AOL. AOL's filter doesnt look at the original sender and marks our server as the original sender. when you have several 1000 people with forwards that send all of their SPAM to AOL, AOL thinks that SPAM originates from TCH.

Thanks for clarifying that, Mike. I had the same question. In followup, I'm curious: Does this mean that AOL's spam filters are more aggressive than those in place at TCH, or is it really just a question of volume, meaning that their filters have scanned much more email so they're more likely to identify spam than the filters at the TCH side, especially when it's aggregated from hundreds or thousands of accounts?

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Thanks for clarifying that, Mike. I had the same question. In followup, I'm curious: Does this mean that AOL's spam filters are more aggressive than those in place at TCH, or is it really just a question of volume, meaning that their filters have scanned much more email so they're more likely to identify spam than the filters at the TCH side, especially when it's aggregated from hundreds or thousands of accounts?

 

Email that goes through a forward on your account is not subjected to any spam filtering (that only happens when it's being delivered to a local mailbox and if you have spamassassin enabled on your account). So that means 100% of the spam that gets sent to your forwarded email address is forwarded.

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Some questions, probably best addressed here (feel free to edit, etc.).

 

As a reseller, I have some clients who have emails forwarded to AOL accounts. 

 

Wow, thanks for posting about that - I just emailed my clients about this. I don't use AOL myself...

 

Weezy

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This is not a good thing for those of us who correspond with AOL users. I appreciate your having a serious problem with AOL but please continue to work on a solution.

Thank you,

Richard

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This is not a good thing for those of us who correspond with AOL users. I appreciate your having a serious problem with AOL but please continue to work on a solution.

Welcome to the family and forums, Richard! :)

 

As it's been said. This does not affect you sending email to AOL accounts. This only has to do with setting up a forward in cPanel to redirect all mail sent to a TCH hosted account to an AOL account.

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This is not a good thing for those of us who correspond with AOL users. I appreciate your having a serious problem with AOL but please continue to work on a solution.

Welcome to the family and forums, Richard! :)

 

As it's been said. This does not affect you sending email to AOL accounts. This only has to do with setting up a forward in cPanel to redirect all mail sent to a TCH hosted account to an AOL account.

:) OK, so what about those of us with CompuServ? They are owned by AOL as you know. Will my cPanel forwards work to my @cs.com account? Important since my accounts with you are used for biz and the e-mail address is on printed material.

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In case noone has seen this yet, this is taken from AOL communicator, seems like this could be a good solution:

 

Can AOL® Communicator Mail let me manage e-mail from mailboxes other than AOL?

Yes. If your work account, school account, or other Internet provider's e-mail uses either the IMAP or POP protocols, then in most cases AOL Communicator can be used to read, send, sort, and save mail. AOL Communicator Mail is a convenient one-stop mail application that lets you read and send mail from many mail accounts at the same time. To configure these accounts, you will need to check with your mail provider or administrator and ask them for the specific names of "Incoming" and "Outgoing" mail servers. This information is essential as you go through the step-by-step process of setting up mail accounts. Often it is available on your e-mail provider's website or within their help system.

 

Further details on mail set up for additional AOL screen names or other e-mail accounts can be viewed in an audio/visual tutorial. Information is also available within the AOL Communicator Guide (a comprehensive manual in PDF format that can be read with Adobe Acrobat) or from AOL Communicator's Online Help system.

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GenuinePerformance,

 

Thanks for that tip. I am sure it will be of use to some of our family members and may verry well fit the bill for them.

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Good link, Steve. Thanks!

 

As for communicator, it is great if you can get the AOL user to get the email from other sources using it. In my case, my client wanted everything like it always has been and so I had to forward from TCH to a 3rd party email service and then from there to AOL.

 

There are always solutions so if anyone has an unusual situation then by all means post here and we'll be happy to help you figure out a solution. Many of us have probably been there already and even if we haven't I'm sure we can come up with something.

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This is not surprising to me. I work for a fairly large local telephone company and AOL did the same exact thing to the ISP portion of our business. It took us a week and a half to get through to someone at AOL that knew what we were even talking about and had the power to do something about it. Then we had to jump through hoops to get them to reinstate our ability to send them email. They didn't contact us to proactively and constructively solve the issue without all of our clients being potentially affected. AOL's incompetence is so unbelievable they try to shift blame on everyone else. Our company already proactively shuts down spammers or other abusers to our TOS, but you know when big bad egocentric AOL says something it's their way or the highway. At least after we shut our customers down we call them to say why and work with them to get them back up and running if they were victims rather than pupotraters. AOL just angers me to no end. Unfortunately I used to work for AOL, which further reinforces my opinion they have a corporate culture of stupidity.

 

In short I totally understand and it sucks we have to bend over backwards to do anything for AOL.

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Our company already proactively shuts down spammers or other abusers to our TOS, but you know when big bad egocentric AOL says something it's their way or the highway.

 

Sounds a little like Micro$oft! :clapping:

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Just a update to this thread.

 

Since we have implemented this new policy we have seen a few things occur.

 

The amount of AOL Abuse complaints that are now being received has greatly been reduced. This new policy is working and both servers that were AOL blacklisted are now in the open and on whitelist status.

 

On a side note, we have had many people send us emails in support of our choice and I wanted to say thank you for your continued support.

 

Bill

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A easy fix would be to set up a yahoo or gmail type account and forward the email to that and then forward from the yahoo or gmail account to the AOL account.

 

Does this mean only automated forwarders from TCH servers will be blacklisted? Does AOL have something against TCH and not Yahoo or other service providers because I have been getting tons of spam from yahoo accounts.

 

 

-Dave

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Does this mean only automated forwarders from TCH servers will be blacklisted? Does AOL have something against TCH and not Yahoo or other service providers because I have been getting tons of spam from yahoo accounts.

 

A lot of that has to do with size. Yahoo and Google are a little too big for AOL to outright blacklist. TCH is tiny in comparison.

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Does this mean only automated forwarders from TCH servers will be blacklisted? Does AOL have something against TCH and not Yahoo or other service providers because I have been getting tons of spam from yahoo accounts.

 

A lot of that has to do with size. Yahoo and Google are a little too big for AOL to outright blacklist. TCH is tiny in comparison.

 

Mike, one day....TCH will have the last laugh. :tchrocks:

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Due to the increase in SPAM complaints and AOL's automated SPAM filter not being able to determine what is SPAM and what is a forward, effective Tuesday @ 5am EST TCH will no longer allow forwards from TCH accounts to AOL accounts.

 

We have tried every solution possible both on our end and working with AOL, but have been unable to come to an acceptable solution.  Forwards to AOL accounts result in the majority of automated complaints we recieve from AOL, each of these complaints then has to be researched to determine what is and what isnt SPAM.  Often times a server is blacklisted by AOL due to the automated SPAM filter not being able to determine if an e-mail originated from TCH or was simply forwarded from a TCH account.

 

Fighting SPAM and keeping our servers off of any blacklists is a never ending battle. We understand that some of our customers wont be very happy with this choice but we feel it is in the best interest of TCH and our servers, and will help us to continue to provide the best service we possibly can.

 

Thank you for your continued support

 

 

pretty much specifically off topic to this thread, but on a related issue, are there any ISP's that are currently blocking email that generates from domains on specific totalchoicehosting servers? This was an issue with a former reseller host ( the now defunct slashhost that was assimilated by another hosting provider). Basically what happened was if a spammer happened to be on your server, then some of these blacklisting providers to ISP's would add the server to the list and propagate it to the ISP's using their service, which effectively blocked all email from reasonable domains on said server to the domains on the ISP using the blacklisting service. Has this been an isssue here in the past? And if so, how did you guys deal with it? Thanks. Doug

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Hi Doug,

 

we have a zero tolerance for spammers on our servers, hence we manage to keep our servers IP off blacklists. You can check our servers against all the common blacklists (as we do frequently) to ensure they are clear.

 

Occasionally, there have been insecure scripts on our servers, used to send out spam. These are generally closed down within a very short period, and then we work hard with the blacklists and ISP's to ensure we do not get listed.

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Hi Doug,

 

we have a zero tolerance for spammers on our servers, hence we manage to keep our servers IP off blacklists.  You can check our servers against all the common blacklists (as we do frequently) to ensure they are clear.

 

All I can say is I support any action against spam. I am just so tired of them. Excellent move TCH!! :oops:

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