AOL – Service Review

You can really summarize companies in two general categories:

Customer Orientedand

Profit Oriented

(Obviously this is a sliding scale but for the majority, companies will prefer one or the other.)

I have observed companies like Logitech and In-And-Out to be very Customer Oriented. When they (or even I) messed something up, they would go out of their way to fix it for me. And because of this customer orientation, I speak highly of them, and spend more money with them.

AOL is on the other end of the spectrum: Profit Oriented. They go out of their way to stop you from canceling their services etc. Their first programs were basically impossible to uninstall from your computer unless you were a computer genius… and even then it could take weeks to really get it off of your computer.

My first email address was with AOL, and when we realized that we could get better internet connection for cheaper elsewhere, we tried to uninstall it from our computer… for two years. Granted we didn’t know a lot about our computer, but we did know that once something is uninstalled, it shouldn’t keep making shortcuts on your desktop…

“But that was years ago, they are better now…”

If you believe that, I recommend checking out some of these people who tried to cancel their AOL account within the last few years:

Ask Dave Taylor how he canceled his AOL account.
Vincent Ferrari tries to cancel his AOL account.

AOL’s business decisions have lead to shirts that say “Friends don’t let friends use AOL” and hopefully will end up destroying them.

-Customer Service is King
-Ashton Sanders

Email Whitelisting at AOL

BlackList: If your website (or IP) address is on an email provider’s (like AOL) blacklist, that provider will automatically block any email coming from your IP Address.

WhiteList: You guessed it… the exact opposite of being blacklisted. That provider has recognized you as a legitimate company, and allows your mail to go through to their email clients.

Feedback Loop: When you get feedback from an email provider when your email has been marked as spam by that provider’s customers.

Problem: Email newsletters are not getting opened or, seen.
I had to get a clients IP address whitelisted on the major email providers. Unfortunately, when I got to AOL, too many subscribers had recently marked his newsletters as spam, so my request had been denied. What I did manage to do is get a “Feedback Loop” initiated.

AOL Feedback Loop
A Feedback Loop is very simple: Whenever an AOL member marks your newsletter as spam, scomp@aol.net sends you an email with a copy of the email that was marked as spam. This will allow you to remove the complainers from your subscriber base.

Note: The email you receive has the headers removed, so you will have to customize your email newsletters so that you can tell who you sent the newsletter to from the body of the newsletter. This is simply done by propagating information to the bottom of every email newsletter before you send it out.

Here is an Example of a footer:

This email was sent to:
*****@****.com at 1:32:56AM.

Then when you receive the complaint, you will be able to see that when you send emails to *****@****.com, they will get marked as spam. And now you can remove them.

Why don’t people use the unsubscribe link?

I can tell you why I don’t use the unsubscribe link on what I think is spam: Some email spammers would prefer to send out spam to random email addresses to see if they will respond. And that unsubscribe link could just send a “I use the email address, spam me!” to the email spammers, and then it’s all over.

How to Get an AOL Feedback Loop Started:

Go to http://www.postmaster.aol.com/fbl/fblinfo.html and read up on how the Feedback loop works. Then fill out and submit the Feedback Loop Request Form.

That should get you started on the road to being whitelisted at AOL!

-Good Luck
-Ashton Sanders