[linux-elitists] AOL says goodbye to AT&T/Comcast and residential mail spools

Aaron Sherman ajs@ajs.com
Fri Apr 11 08:48:22 PDT 2003


On Fri, 2003-04-11 at 11:40, Shawn McMahon wrote:
> On Thu, Apr 10, 2003 at 11:19:39PM -0400, Aaron Sherman said:
> > Hope no one here has friends or relatives that use AOL if you run your
> > home MTA on a residential network.... If you do, you'll have to start
> > relaying mail for AOL through the public relay (probably slow and flaky)
> > that your ISP provides. Why?
> 
> You should anyway; a common, and effective, antispam measure is blocking
> all connections from identified dynamic IP ranges.  AOL is jumping on a
> very long bandwagon.

Actually, it's a short bandwagon. In fact, it's a bandwagon of 1.

What you'll find is that there are a lot of sites that look at IP
address allocation method, ARIN registration, and any number of other
factors as part of their evaluation of an SMTP session (SpamAssassin,
which I will soon have re-configured for performance to the point that I
feel comfortable running it as a pre-filter to SMTP itself, will do just
this, but it's not alone by far).

Some poorly configured sites will do what AOL has done in part by
absolutely accepting a listing in one or a small number of DNSBLs as an
indication of message quality before looking at the message (or in some
extreme cases, even before the envelope, as AOL does -- which BTW is
also a failure to obey the RFCs due to the fact that they cannot know if
the mail was to be destined for postmaster).

Some even more poorly configured sites will break the SMTP spec in the
same way that AOL does (not sending a 554 or waiting for a QUIT to
disconnect).

I know of no one that adds to that level of failure by disallowing all
forms of feedback except a web-based form that refuses to accept /
ignores such feedback on the same basis as the original failure.

That's not a bandwagon, that's broken.

If I have to send every member of my family and all of my non-technical
friends to MSN (who still accept my mail just fine), then I will deal
with the devil that obeys the RFCs rather than the one that does not.

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