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AOL and AIM mail

Earlier this week a question came up on a mailing list. The questioner recently started seeing an increase in rejections to @aol.com addresses. These rejections said

<redacted@aol.com>: host mailin-03.mx.aol.com[205.188.109.56] said: 550 We would love to have gotten this email to redacted@aim.com. But, your recipient never logged onto their free AIM Mail account. Please contact them and let them know that they’re missing out on all the super features offered by AIM Mail. And by the way, they’re also missing out on your email. Thanks. (in reply to RCPT TO command)<redacted@aol.com>

The poster was confused because the addresses were aol.com addresses that had successfully delivered in the past. He was unsure why AOL would be rejecting good aol.com addresses with the aim.com.
After some investigation and some discussion with a friendly AOL representative, the underlying reason for this sudden increase in rejections became clear. The mailer was seeing an increase for two interacting reasons.

  1. When an AOL user abandons their account, AOL converts the account to a free aim.com address. That is why the aol.com addresses were getting the aim.com rejection.
  2. The marketing group at the company who saw the rejections “dug deep into their database” and sent mail to a number of addresses that had not received email in a while.

The increase in bounces is the result of pulling older addresses and the @aol.com addresses getting @aim.com bounces is the result of AOL’s policy of converting abandoned aol addresses to aim addresses.

4 comments

  1. James says

    I’m also amused at the suggestion that the sender contact the recipient to let them know they were unable to contact them. Marketingspeak without thought.

  2. Nicolas says

    I have the same message :
    550 We would love to have gotten this email to redacted@aim.com. But, your recipient never logged onto their free AIM Mail account. Please contact them and let them know that they’re missing out on all the super features offered by AIM Mail. And by the way, they’re also missing out on your email. Thanks. (in reply to RCPT TO command)
    My resolution :
    My adresse of aol is false 🙂 and the adresse with xxxx@aim.com is a very old adress.
    Et pour les francophones, en résumé l’adresse de l’expéditeur était fausse et par hasard l’adresse mal écrit était l’adresse qu’il avait il y a 3 ans.

  3. ceci says

    And yet another good reason NOT………….TO EVER…………USE AOL.
    grrr…I just had the same thing happen. Spent long time on hold with my phone co trying to figure out what was wrong with my email program — then talking to technicians, sending and resending stuff – all to find out AOL is just too dumb. All they had to do was say, this person isn’t a customer of AOL anymore.

  4. dan says

    My email address has never been abandoned. I have had it for 20 years. Lately, it shows up with the aim.com. The password is the same – I thought someone was fishing for information

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