In the ongoing battle to spare customers an inbox full of spam, many ISPs provide a "this is spam" button. When a recipient clicks the button, the offending email is usually deleted and any additional mail from that sender is blocked. ISPs may also use these complaints to help identify senders whose entire mailings should be blocked. As a result, the complaints of a few can prevent a sender's messages from getting through to anyone. Legitimate senders understandably would like to know when someone hits the spam button so that they can prevent future complaints by removing that person from their list.

Unfortunately most major ISPs don't provide this information in a way that is easy to use. AOL is an exception. AOL offers a free feedback loop and will forward senders any email that a recipient reports as spam by using the AOL spam button.

AOL said the best way for senders to improve deliverability with the ISP is to set up a feedback loop in order to reduce the number of complaints it receives from recipients. AOL provides an easy-to-use feedback loop form at:

AOL also said it plans to incorporate the Sender Policy Framework and DomainKeys Identified Mail authentication protocols into its reputation model in the coming months. By late summer it hopes to be actively using both protocols as a means of authentication and reputation checking for connecting IPs to help it determine whether a message will be delivered.

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