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Old 28 May 2008, 01:48
Alfa1's Avatar
Alfa1 Alfa1 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2005
• All bulk messages you send must be formatted according to RFC 2822 SMTP standards and, if using HTML, standards.
• Messages should indicate that they are bulk mail, using the 'Precedence: bulk' header field.

*Speaks for itself.

• Attempts to hide the true sender of the message or the true landing page for any web links in the message may result in non-delivery.

*Do not spoof email addresses or links. Duh!

• The subject of each message should be relevant to the body's content and not be misleading.

*Speaks for itself.

Now the most important thing for Gmail that needs to be properly communicated to your members:
While Gmail works hard to deliver all legitimate mail to a user's inbox, it's possible that some legitimate messages may be marked as spam. Gmail does not accept 'whitelisting' requests from bulk senders, and we can't guarantee that all of your messages will bypass our spam filters. To make sure our users receive all the mail they'd like to, we've provided them with a method for sending us feedback about messages flagged as spam -- users have the option of clicking a 'Not spam' button for each message flagged by our spam filters. We listen to users' reports, and correct problems in order to provide them with the best user experience. As long as our users don't consider your mail as spam, you shouldn't have inbox delivery problems.
There are two important factors that, under normal circumstances, help messages arrive in Gmail users' inboxes:
• The 'From:' address is listed in the user's Contacts list.
• A user clicks 'Not Spam' to alert Gmail that messages sent from that address are solicited.

*Instruct your members to mark email from your site as ‘not spam’ and to add your webmaster email to their contacts. If enough Gmail users mark your messages as spam, then you have a problem.

If you send both promotional mail and transactional mail relating to your organization, we recommend separating mail by purpose as much as possible. You can do this by:
• Using separate email addresses for each function.
• Sending mail from different domains and/or IP addresses for each function.
By using these tips, it's more likely that the important transactional mail will be delivered to a user's inbox. Our guidelines are meant to help you build a good reputation within the Gmail system, resulting in continual delivery to Gmail inboxes.

*This speaks for itself.

Third-Party Senders
If others use your service to send mail (for example: ISPs), you are responsible for monitoring your users and/or clients' behavior.
• You must have an email address available for users and/or clients to report abuse (
• You must maintain up-to-date contact information in your WHOIS record, and on
• You must terminate, in a timely fashion, all users and/or clients who use your service to send spam mail.

*IMHO, unless you allow your members to have a site based email address (branded email), there should be no reason why third parties would be allowed to use your domain to send email. Thats inviting spammers.
Offering branded email to your members is only wise if you can put a considerable amount of trust in your members.

Conditions To Bulk Sender Status

The whitelist is designed to help America Online work with organizations and individuals who send out a high volume of solicited email. Whitelist status protects mail originating from whitelisted IP Addresses from some, but not all, of AOL’s proprietary processes for protecting its Members and its network from unsolicited bulk email (UBE). View America Online's Unsolicited bulk e-mail guidelines. Thus, whitelist status exempts an IP address from certain blocking filters, but does not guarantee delivery of mail originating from such addresses. To participate in the AOL whitelist program, you must adhere t o certain technical and other requirements, as stated below.

*See if your site can be added to AOL’s whitelist.

Please read the following terms carefully before clicking "I agree" to proceed to the whitelist request form.

Technical Requirements
• All e-mail must be RFC compliant.
• All e-mail servers connecting to AOL's mail servers must have valid reverse DNS records.

*Speaks for itself.

• All e-mail servers connecting to AOL's mail servers must be secured to prevent unauthorized or anonymous use.

*So no open relays. See my remarks above.

• Direct connections from dynamically assigned IP addresses or residential customers to AOL's mail servers may not be accepted.

*AOL basically says that their system is so twisted that even they do not accept their own IP’s. So do not host on AOL. Do not send mail from a dynamic IP, like AOL has.

• Organizations may not hard code AOL's mx records into their configuration files.
• An organization's mail servers must send a minimum of 100 emails per month to maintain whitelist status.

*Speaks for itself.

E-mail Formatting Requirements:
• Email originating from the whitelisted IP Address must be compliant with the federal Can Spam Act of 2003, available at
• Persons transmitting mail from the whitelisted IP Address must not do anything that tries to hide, forge or misrepresent the sender of the e-mail and sending site of the e-mail.

*Speaks for itself.

• Bulk mailings must specifically state how the AOL members' e-mail addresses were obtained and must indicate the frequency of the mailing. Such details as the date and time when the e-mail address was obtained along with the IP address of the subscriber and the web site they visited to sign-up must be made available to AOL upon request.

As discussed above. IMHO the inclusion of the members IP address is dubious, but you might feel otherwise.

• Bulk mailings should contain simple and obvious unsubscribe mechanisms. We recommend that this be in the form of a working link to a one-click unsubscribe system; however, a valid "reply to:" address may be used instead.

*As discussed above.

• All subscription based e-mail must have valid, non-electronic, contact information for the sending organization in the text of each e-mail including phone number and a physical mailing address.

*Include the physical address of your organisation, in the email text.

Policy and Procedural Requirements:
• All bulk e-mail to AOL members must be solicited, meaning that the sender has an existing and provable relationship with the e-mail recipient and the recipient has not requested not to receive future mailings from the sender. Documentation of the relationship between the sender and the recipient must be made available to AOL upon request.
• Any e-mail sent to AOL members must conform to AOL's Community Guidelines ( aolpol/comguide.html).
• Persons sending bulk mail from the whitelisted IP Address must immediately remove any e-mail address which causes a permanent failure "bounce" message to be generated.
• If a whitelisted IP Address generates member complaints, bounces in excess of 10% of their mail or fails to accept those bounces, the whitelist status may be revoke d for that IP Address. A pattern of such abuses common to a single organization may result in the revocation of whitelist status for some or all of that organization's IP Addresses.
• In no way does the posting of these requirements imply any affiliation, membership, sponsorship or endorsement of business or activities/practices of an organization by AOL.
• Periodic audits of mail, complaint, bounce and bounce acceptance volumes may result in removal of an IP Address or of an organization’s IP Addresses from AOL' s whitelist without notice.

*This speaks for itself or is discussed above.

So in summary this has the following effect on your email text:
- add a text to the email message that explains how to remove subscriptions by going to the userCP.
- You should describe in your email text to which email address the email has been sent,
- why the recipient is receiving the email,
- from who(include your url) the email is sent
- how often the email will be sent
- If you are sending advertisements or messages of commercial nature, you must include the above information in your email text message.
- Include the physical address of your organisation, in the email text.

If you are blacklisted by an email provider then start with this:

Check your catchall email address:
Please go to your catchall email address and see what's in there. If it is full of spam or bounced emails then this is a good indication of your problems. If there is spam, then see where it comes from:
- The kind of email addresses. Is a spammer using your email addresses to fake the sender address? If so, then start by making a SPF. (see above)
- How was it sent? Check the header / raw view of the email messages to see if they where sent through a page / script on your site. If so, then you have open relays that you need to close.

Deactivate accounts with inactive email addresses:
The most likely problem is that you have a lot of members with inactive email addresses. The way to solve this is:
1. Install EZbounced email management.
2. Make sure that your Bounce Email Address is a different one than the email address you send your emails from. See adminCP -> vbulletin options -> email options.
3. Then send out a mass email to all your members.
4. Go to your Bounce Email Address to process the bounced email.
5. Check the bounced messages for the reason why each email address is bouncing and decide if the account needs to be deactivated.

This works well, but the downside is that if you have a lot of members then this will be a lot of work. When I did this, I got thousands of bounced emails to process. See if you can safely share this email account with other admins and share the work. Note that if you do not make a different Bounce Email Address, and are using your catchall account, then the password of this account is often the same as directadmin login and there is a security risk in sharing that.

There is another modification that can be of help: Auto Bounce Messages Management
It automatizes the process, but the downside is that it currently deactivates all accounts with bounced mail (even when its just a full inbox) and does not alert the deactivated members why their account is inactive and what they can do to activate their account. So if you choose for this mod, then get ready for a flood of questions and confused members.

Then go through all points in the article and make sure they are in good order.

Last edited by Alfa1; 21 Aug 2009 at 12:02. Reason: updating
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