AOL Mail is a free web-based email service provided by AOL that launched in March 1993. It is also commonly referred to as AIM Mail (AOL Instant Messenger), which is is a division of the Verizon Communications. It is available in 54 languages and continues to be one of the leading webmail service providers in the United States.
AOL has always been a tough cookie for email marketers. While AOL’s subscriber base is not as strong as it used to be, thanks to the more popular Gmail and Outlook options, it still comprises around 20 percent of the overall B2C email database. Having optimized messages according to AOL’s specifications can help improve delivery and performance.
Feedback Loops (FBLs) can help bulk email senders identify which email campaigns are receiving more complaints. According to AOL’s official website, “Every email that is sent from one of your IPs to an AOL member that gets marked as Spam is considered a ‘complaint.’ We recommend both bulk mailers and ISPs monitor Feedback Loop Reports (FBLs), to help manage mailing lists as well as providing early warnings of network security issues.” You can learn more about AOL Mail’s Feedback Loop policy here.
AOL Mail uses whitelists to identify and streamline emails sent from organizations and individuals who send high volume solicited emails. IPs listed in the whitelist are usually safe from more of the AOL’s spam filters. If a user adds an IP address in the whitelist, the sender will be marked as “not spam” and their emails will not end up in trash. You can read more about AOL’s Whitelist policies here.
AOL has one of the best Postmaster Tool platforms that we have seen. Here you can analyze and monitor the health of your email campaigns and all the guidance needed to help you route your messages to the right people and in the right folders. Click here to visit AOL’s Postmaster page now. They also have an IP reputation test tool. If you use a dedicated IP and are seeing some delivery issues, this tool is a must to check. Click here to check your AOL IP reputation.
You can also use many of the delivery tools in the Mail Monitor platform to help manage your email lists, deliverability and spam rankings.
AOL Delivery Tips
Below are some additional tips to ensure you create and launch an optimized email campaign on AOL:
- It is important to always have a clear and visible “unsubscribe” button in your emails.
- Ensure that all email addresses acquired have been done using opt-in methods. Explicit permissions are necessary to avoid being flagged by recipients as spam.
- Mail servers need to have a correctly set-up Reverse DNS (RDNS) or their messages can risk being blocked.
- Avoid having shortened URLs as they have a bad reputation in the market, thanks to all the spammers frequently using them. Make sure the URLs are relevant in description and content.
- Have a regular health check for all sending IPs blacklists.
- Get an AOL test account – this will cost you around $25 a month but will allow you to test messages before sending them out to your lists and also become familiar with the platform.