Senders' Frequently Asked Questions

This document attempts to answer some of the more frequently asked questions from non-AOL customers emailing into AOL.

If you have a question that's not answered here, please check our Guidelines for more information or report your problem to AOL for further assistance.

My email doesn't appear to have gone through, but I didn't get an error message back. What should I do?

Various factors may cause this. First, please try to send your email again.
If the email doesn't go through, please make sure that you review our Guidelines and Technical Email Standards.

Email sent to an AOL member was returned from AOL's mailer-daemon. What do these errors mean?

When email sent to AOL members is returned to sender by AOL's mail delivery subsystem, there is information regarding the reason for the return listed in the error report.

The section of the error report labelled 'Transcript of Session Follows' contains the reason why the email could not be delivered to the AOL address. In that section you will see two errors listed. The line beginning with '<<<' describes the specific reason your email could not be delivered. The next line contains a second error message, which is a general translation for other email servers.

See also explanations of some common error messages.

What is a residential broadband IP address?

Residential customers of broadband services are assigned an IP address from a specific range maintained by the provider. These IP addresses may be either dynamic or static depending upon the individual provider. Customers with residential IP addresses should use the provider's SMTP servers and should not be sending email directly to another ISP's SMTP servers.

My ISP told me to contact you, but you told me to contact them. Why?

Many ISPs view other ISPs' spam blocking procedures to be the other ISP's responsibility. While this view is largely correct, some of AOL's spam filters are based on aspects of your mailing setup that can only be changed by you, or by your ISP. (These include things such as your reverse DNS or whether your IP address is dynamic.)
While we appreciate that it must be frustrating to be bounced back and forth between two help desks, we hope that our online information will remedy this situation.

How do I find out who my postmaster is?

There are several ways to determine who your postmaster is.

Try sending an email to the address 'postmaster@yourdomain' (e.g. for AOL customers it would be Every domain is required to accept email at that address, although some of the larger domains or ISPs may respond with an automated message telling you who to contact for more information.

Check your ISP's website. Some ISPs have this information available online.
Call your ISP's technical support and ask.

Because each ISP handles postmaster issues differently, we do not have a guaranteed method that will work for all ISPs and all domains.

How do I setup a Feedback Loop with AOL so that I will receive my AOL spam complaints back?

In order to get spam complaints from AOL, please click on the feedback form and request to setup a Feedback Loop. We will need any IP addresses you are using to send mail to AOL and an email address to which we can send complaints. The Feedback Loop will forward any mail coming from the IP address(es) listed which is reported as spam back to an email address of your choice.

The Feedback Loop should enable AOL members who perceive sent email from the listed IP address(es) as spam to be removed from any mailing list they may be on. No further contact should be made with the member and the email address should be removed from your list. This should lead to an improvement in complaint levels, and consequently decrease the likelihood of blocks being placed against an IP or domain. The Feedback Loop also provides ISPs and Network Administrators with evidence of any security hole(s) on their network that could potentially be exploited to send unsolicited email.

I've heard AOL has a white listing procedure. How does that work?

AOL actually maintains two forms of white listing: one that a mailer can be added to by request (if it fits our criteria), and one to which addition is automatic. For more information, click on White List Guidelines.

What's this 'Enhanced White List', I've been hearing about?

AOL recently instituted technology that will enable links and embedded images in email communications to our members from certain bulk mailers. This full-email-view is being made available to certain bulk mailers through an automated mechanism we call the Enhanced White List.

My IP is blocked, but it all seems to be spam forwarded from my server, not mail that I'm sending. Is there anything you can do?

Unfortunately, at this time, our spam-blocking systems only look at the first 'received' line in a piece of email. While we can unblock your IP, we cannot stop the forwarding of spam.