Lack of interest Easy Unsubscribe Required by AOL

ActorMike

Active member
The way XF requires users to unsubscribe does not comply with AOL. We are an authorized bulk email host with AOL and their rules specifically state that unsubscribe links should not require the user to login.

https://postmaster.aol.com/best-practices
  • Provide an obvious and visible unsubscribe process in your mail.
  • Make it easy for users to unsubscribe from your mailing list.
  • Ensure the unsubscribe process is easy to use, such as a one-click unsubscribe web page.
  • Users should not have to log into a website in order to unsubscribe.
  • Process unsubscribes immediately
I really wish you folks would address this. I'm also not sure that requiring a login fully complies with with CAN-SPAM Act https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business.


@Mike @Brogan please consider this in a future update as it could create some serious issues for everyone involved.
 
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Tracy Perry

Well-known member
I really wish you folks would address this. I'm also not sure that requiring a login fully complies with with CAN-SPAM Act https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business.
Well, considering that technically the default notifications don't meet the requirement of #3
Identify the message as an ad. The law gives you a lot of leeway in how to do this, but you must disclose clearly and conspicuously that your message is an advertisement.
since it's not an "ad" in the term of an advertisement

And then you have this segment (with their "official" explanation)
Q. How do I know if the CAN-SPAM Act covers email my business is sending?
A. What matters is the “primary purpose” of the message. To determine the primary purpose, remember that an email can contain three different types of information:

  • Commercial content – which advertises or promotes a commercial product or service, including content on a website operated for a commercial purpose;
  • Transactional or relationship content – which facilitates an already agreed-upon transaction or updates a customer about an ongoing transaction; and
  • Other content – which is neither commercial nor transactional or relationship.
If the message contains only commercial content, its primary purpose is commercial and it must comply with the requirements of CAN-SPAM. If it contains only transactional or relationship content, its primary purpose is transactional or relationship. In that case, it may not contain false or misleading routing information, but is otherwise exempt from most provisions of the CAN-SPAM Act.
Pretty sure that the notices that are sent would be classified as transactional or relationship content (and possibly even the "other content" classification), and if so, as it says it's exempt from most provisions (main one would be routing info that has to comply).
Now, if you are doing email blasts selling a product (upgrades, etc) for your site, then that would require CAN-SPAM full compliance from my reading.

As for "complying with AOL policy"... what if they decide to change it later? Should XenForo comply with every ISP policy in existence and have specific exceptions to them?
 

ActorMike

Active member
Now, if you are doing email blasts selling a product (upgrades, etc) for your site, then that would require CAN-SPAM full compliance from my reading.

As for "complying with AOL policy"... what if they decide to change it later? Should XenForo comply with every ISP policy in existence and have specific exceptions to them?
That just makes my point, XF allows you to mass email users in the admin for a variety of reasons, so they need to have a way for people to unsubscribe without logging in to keep things on the safe side and legal. As for AOL, over 2 million people still use AOL dialup and countless others pay to keep their email address they've had for years, so yes, you don't want your email server flagged from AOL because you are making it hard for users to unsubscribe by forcing them to login. I think that's a poor practice, and bad business anyway to make someone log in to unsubscribe.
 

Mouth

Well-known member
Complying with AOL's guidelines (or any other ISP) is just muddying the waters. It should be industry best practice and SPAM regulations compliance.
Following best practice, I do agree that it would be great if XF adopted the one-click unsubscribe - as is now the norm and good practice for responsible email marketing - functionality.

The title of this thread is 'required', yet the above is only 'should'.
For the 'required' aspects of AOL, see https://postmaster.aol.com/tech-requirements
 

ActorMike

Active member
Complying with AOL's guidelines (or any other ISP) is just muddying the waters. It should be industry best practice and SPAM regulations compliance.
Following best practice, I do agree that it would be great if XF adopted the one-click unsubscribe - as is now the norm and good practice for responsible email marketing - functionality.
The title of this thread is 'required', yet the above is only 'should'.
For the 'required' aspects of AOL, see https://postmaster.aol.com/tech-requirements
Are you familiar with AOL's FBL system? https://postmaster.aol.com/fbl-request

If you want your IP address to have a good reputation, users need to be able to opt out easily.
 

Alfa1

Well-known member
AOL itself has a very poor reputation and up to a few years ago it didnt even trust its own email servers. And rightly so. It used to be a mess beyond repair. Has this improved? Is their FBL anything better than the hot mess most of their systems have been for decades?
 

Mouth

Well-known member
If you want your IP address to have a good reputation, users need to be able to opt out easily.
If you have so many site members that are actively marking your emails as spam and causing your sending IP to have a poor reputation, then the issue is not the unsubscribe functionality but the type of emails you are sending, the validity of your members email addresses, and the relevance of the emails you are sending.
 

Tracy Perry

Well-known member
Actually, looks like with AOL you can apply for a whitelisting.... BUT (and this is the big gotcha) if you are doing mail blasts from the ACP of XenForo you MUST comply with the option that the user can select to NOT receive email from administrators or anyone else. That particularly means you cannot disable this
Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 12.29.38 AM.png

Doesn't matter HOW important YOU think it is - if they elected to not receive them, then honor their choice.
 

Pierce

Well-known member
AOL users are the most fickel types.

Every spam report I banned them with reason email reported as spam. These are welcome email... Password resets... Email to my contact form...

I asked one why they used spam (a moderator) and they told me that's how she unsubscribed from everything....

King of the hill is Gmail followed by hotmail/oulook. In my experience.

But transactional email is not subject to it.

Anyhow as for an easy solution you can use mandrill app, which will allows you to put an unsubscribe button at the bottom of the emails which is a one click unsubscribe and prevents you from sending more email to that user.
 

Mouth

Well-known member
you MUST comply with the option that the user can select to NOT receive email from administrators or anyone else. That particularly means you cannot disable this
View attachment 147226
FYI, this option only stops users receiving emails direct from ACP.
It does not stop a user receiving transactional/notifications emails for watched threads/posts, conversations, etc.

Nb: Emphasis (underline and bold) in quote added by me.
 

Mouth

Well-known member
mandrill [...] prevents you from sending more email to that user.
... including password resets and user state:bounce re-instatements etc. if that users decides they made a mistake and want access to their account again.
 

Tracy Perry

Well-known member
FYI, this option only stops users receiving emails direct from ACP.
I am FULLY aware of that.. and I hope that YOU are aware that some people WILL select to receive those type of notifications but turn OFF the ones from admins because of the very fact of the mail blasts (which is where this this comes into effect) that so many have a tendency to do.

If I checked this option off on the site
Screen Shot 2017-01-31 at 10.46.33 AM.png
but elected to receive other emails (notifications for alerts, etc) then that should indicate that I don't really care if an admin decides I need to know about there "newest little gee-whiz look at me feature on their site - or that they now have their normal $99.99 account upgrade on sale for $1.99". I'll find out about it when I visit - I don't want an email to join the (on average) 300 daily I currently get.

My point was (in the post that you responded to) if I HAVE selected that option, then don't force your drivel on me by unselecting the option to only send to those that choose to receive it. By doing so, then you are definitely starting to enter into spam type behavior, and even with being a site admin I WILL mark those type of emails as spam (since to me they are).
 
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