AOL’s spring cleaning means more efficient email marketing for you

3 minute read

What has happened?

AOL have this week closed down a large number of disused email accounts. As is common with any free and popular service, over the course of time a significant proportion of accounts opened fall into disuse; as people’s ISP or other preferences change, they may start using another mail provider and stop checking their AOL account. As per their terms of service, AOL may close accounts not accessed for 30 days. While that could be perceived as being a bit too keen, reports have certainly been coming in of AOL accounts that haven’t been used for a couple of months or so being closed.

How does this affect my email marketing?

In the scenario where an AOL user signed up to your mailing list in the dim and distant past, but has since stopped using their AOL account, we have been successfully delivering your mail to that account for you. Of course, as the intended recipient no longer uses that AOL account, that mail will show in our Analysis section as being delivered but not opened. Now that AOL have closed accounts like that, such mails will now be hard bounced, so we’ll immediately suspend that address. This means we’ll no longer send email to that address and you’ll no longer be charged for it.

Doesn’t this mean fewer people will receive my email campaigns?

No – so long as AOL’s measures are executed correctly we’ll only stop sending your campaigns to inboxes that will never be checked. So long as your email campaigns are relevant and effective, the chances are that anyone who has moved their email account has re-subscribed to your list since doing so. The consequences for not suspending these email addresses are serious, as I’ll now explain.

The benefits of

This incident serves to highlight why using fully automated and dedicated permission marketing systems like is the best way to ensure your message is received by the broadest possible audience. It is entirely possible that AOL will repeat history and in time re-open some of those accounts as spam traps. If you get caught sending mail to a spam trap – an email address that has been issuing hard bounces for a large period of time and then lies dormant – it can only be the case that the address has been scraped or an old, dirty, list is in use. cleans your email lists by suspending addresses after just one hard bounce, ensuring that your email reputation is not damaged while also making your marketing budget work as efficiently as possible.