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AOL Violates Internet Standards by Eliminating Postmaster Address
January 29, 2002 by Chris Komuves

This month, AOL decided that it is going to intentionally violate RFC 822 (section 6.3), RFC 2142 (section 5), RFC 2821 (section 4.5.1) and STD1 (the Internet Official Protocol Standards) by no longer accepting email on their "Postmaster@aol.com" email address.

Their official statment of this policy can be found at

Because of this, they now show up in the "postmaster-ignorant" list at rfc-ignorant.org. Here is the submission that caused them to be listed.

Such a blatant violation and disregard for standards can not be tolerated on the Internet. It is very disheartening that such a large player on the Internet would have such extreme disregard for the standards that are necessary for the Internet to function properly. Perhaps they feel that because they are so large, they can blackmail everyone else into still accepting their email despite their violations of standards. I don't believe that sort of precedent can be allowed to happen. If you can't play by the rules on the Internet, you shouldn't be allowed to play.

Every domain that I personally have control over mail reception for is currently rejecting email from AOL.COM based on the postmaster-ignorant filter list at www.rfc-ignorant.org. I would personally urge everyone who has control over a mailserver to refuse to accept email from aol.com until they comply with Internet standards, to complain to AOL or terminate your service from them if you are a user, and to inform others of this situation.

I am hoping that this action by AOL was simply the result of incompetence by their mail administrators, and not a policy decision by the corporation. However, if it is and they refuse to follow standards, then most of the rest of the users of the Internet should simply reject email from AOL to the point where AOL email is worthless outside the AOL network.