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Why I hate AOL - by LordInfidel

By LordInfidel ·
I recently had the mis pleasure of finding out some disturbing information.

After setting up a small netwk for a client of mine and connecting them to the net via dsl. I found that they could no longer send mail to AOL users.

I configured them a local smtp server. So I tested that the connection from my mail server to theirs was good.

telnet aolIP 25 and got this
<snip>
550 - The IP address you're using to connect to AOL is either open to the free relaying of e-mail, is serving asan open proxy, or is listed in the Dial-Up List operated by MAPS (www.mail-abuse.org). AOL cannot accept further e-mail transactions from your server until either your server is closed to free relaying/proxy, or your IP address is removed from MAPS Dial-Up List. For additional information, please visit http://postmaster.info.aol.com
</snip

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It actually goes deeper then that

by LordInfidel In reply to Market Pressure

Don't get me wrong.

I really despise AOL. Truly I do.

But, the bigger picture is MAPS and their Nazi like attitude towards controlling the use of the net.

Maps (mail-abuse.org) is trying to make it so that all ISP's forcibly restrict what their dial-up users can and can not do on the net.

If they succeed in bullying ISP's into joining them, you can lose very valuable freedom on the net.

I look at it like, if you give up this one ablilty, what is to stop them from saying. OK, hackers use portscanning to survey their victims. Let's shut off everyone's ability to connect to the net except for ports tcp 80,443 and udp 53. Since everyone has already been forced to use web mail because all 110 and 25 access has been shut off.
yeah, That's the net that I want to live in.

If someone wants to use AOL, that is their choice. I don't to punish the AOL user. AOL afterall is a great place for someone who has never used the net before. I will at least give it that much.
But for AOL to team up with these spam nazi's and dictate who can and can not send mail is hypocracy in it's highest form. Since at least a 1/4 of the spam I receive is from aol.

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Think Intent - Not Attitude

by Oldefar In reply to It actually goes deeper t ...

I agree in principal with your position that no group should dictate how information is exchanged over the net.

The problem with characterizing a person, group, or organization ? as in calling MAPS ?spam nazis? ? is that the discussion becomes personal and defensive rather than logical and objective. Intelligent debate gets buried in emotional rhetoric, and this obstructs everyone?s ability to implement rational solutions.

I personally object to any and all attempts to control thoughts, beliefs, or activities that do not cause personal injury to others. I find institutional censorship counter to my inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

What is needed is a technical solution to block spam that is recipient controlled. While you and I may find the delete key as sufficient with spam as the trash can is for snail mail spam, I understand why others desire a more automated approach. This would be a noble area for the volunteers at MAPS to address asan alternative to their current efforts. It returns responsibility to the individual, striking a **** for freedom.

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I did not come up with their policy

by LordInfidel In reply to Think Intent - Not Attitu ...

I am just reitarting it.

But, besides the emotionalism, I equate their tactics to that of the Nazi's.

They want to be able to control that aspect of the net by saying who can and can not host mail servers.

They also strong arm other ISP's to follow.

Sounds like Dictatorship to me. It goes beyond censorship. Because once that right is given up, there is nothing from stopping them to take away the rest of our rights to use the net as we see fit.

While I agree the end-user could do with tools that help them control spam. But their *are* tools available; people just choose not to use them.

But this is not really an automated approach. This is a blanket prevention of all E-mail, legitimate and spam, from Dial-up user netblocks.

So the only way that you can host your own mail server would be for you to get a static IP.

Then you also effectively kill off another business sector. The dynamic DNS sector.

They make their living off of dial-up users using their service to host dns.

If you read my letter to them, it was very clear and concise. It did use rhetoric, but only to combat their analogy.

I did offer an alternative to their practice.
As others have done.

Others I am sure have pointed at theerrors of their ways. I personnaly though find it objectionable that by an ISP joining their ranks, that their netblocks will not show up on the block list.

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AOL has an interest in

by road-dog In reply to It actually goes deeper t ...

Stopping spam by any means possible. All one has to do is look into the member directory and gain loads of non web savvy email users. The fact that someone uses an AOL might make them fit a "sucker" profile.

Thus they are a huge slow moving target for spammers.

AOL stores all of the email for their users rather than having an real email client at the user PC, this becomes a storage nightmare.

Suffice it to say, what made AOL successful also makes it impractical. The answer is not to make the rest of the web just as bad, but to find a better way to run their services.

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by tbragsda In reply to It actually goes deeper t ...

Your rant is valid, but AOL is the one with the power in this case. They CAN do whatever they like with some 30,000,000 users, they could fix policy with most anyone. And you cant just tell foke to use another service. You want to tell your clients that "well you just cant reach those 30m clients"

I dont pretend to have a answer to either problem. AOL, MAPS, what are we supposed to do? I dont have a contact at AOL who can change policy.

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My beef with AOL in this case

by LordInfidel In reply to

Is that They have some big set of balls participitaing in this when their user base generates so much spam it's unreal.

The fact that by participating in the MAPS DUL program so that their netblocks do not get on the block list is appalling and pathetic.

That's my basic beef.

Countless times I have alerted AOL about their servers being used to relay spam. And never once have they replied back. But instead left the server or account open, forcing me to block that server IP.

AOL though did not create MAPS. They just had the balls to join and back them.

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Not just AOL!!

by GuruOfDos In reply to Why I hate AOL - by LordI ...

This happens with the majority of ISP's, not just AOL. See the article on page 302 of the January 2003 edition of PC Shopper. This is also on line at pcshopper.co.uk.

Basically, any SMTP mail server (and AOL uses web-based mail in a proprietary format so it's NOT actually AOL's fault!) using the SMTP protocol has the ability to act as a relay between two external servers. This is an inherent feature of SMTP because it means backbones can accept mail from remote servers and relay it to another server if a direct connection is down. Unfortunately, this is a gift handed to spammers on a plate. Spammers often fake source addresses and open relays will happily accept forged mail with no checks! A list of open relays (port 23) is maintained by OpenRBL and DBSL (Distributed Sender Boycott List - www.dsbl.org). If for any reason, your mail happens to be relayed via one of these servers, or your address happens to be on a spam list that uses these servers on their 'blacklist', your email address will be added to the list by default. This can happen to ANYONE on ANY ISP. Aol users actually have less history of this happening then most other ISP's who use regular POP/SMTP/Dial-Up email services.

I use AOL, because it's cheap, reliableand AOL Bertelsmann UK is a separate company from the US AOL Time Warner combo and I get free 24/7 phone support. I don't have to like AOL though, just because I use it!!!

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MAPS is a little different

by LordInfidel In reply to Not just AOL!!

I am a huge proponent of locking down smtp servers so that they are not open-relay.

Open-Relay servers should be black-holed until they are fixed.

With that said, your right AOL is not the only ISP on their list.

But MAPS is way different from the ORDB and DBSL.

They "blanketly state" that absolutely NO dial-up users can use their "own" smtp server. That they MUST be forced to use their ISP's mail server to route "ONLY" that ISP's authorized domain name(s).

This is where my beefis.

I should not be punished because there are irresponsible people on the net. If that were the case and applied to all aspects of the net, there would be No Net. 99% of users do not know how to secure or protect their machines. And at least 60% of the admins out there still have no clue how to protect their machines.
(Yes I pulled the 60% # out of my ***)

And I bet that most small companies connected via dsl have NO protection.

How many people have you see running PWS on their machine. Alot.

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