Thursday, April 24, 2008

Net neutrality: Our experience with Yahoo email blocking

The Federal Communications Commission has been examining net neutrality. The Wisdom Fund's experience with Yahoo sheds light on the state of net neutrality today.

For more than a year we've been trying to get Yahoo to stop blocking our email to Yahoo addresses. We follow recommended email practices, and have about 600 Yahoo email addresses on our mailing list.

Yet Yahoo often blocks our email, and we get the following automated response:
"Warning: message still undelivered after 4 hours
"Will keep trying until message is 3 days old", followed by:
"Message could not be delivered for 2 days
"Message will be deleted from queue".

We asked our Yahoo list members to add our address to their Address Book or safe list thinking that would help. It didn't.

Following complaints to Yahoo (finding where to complain took awhile—the one form we finally found seemed designed for computer systems experts), our problems would clear up but reappear, and this continued for several months.

On April 21, 2007 Yahoo encouraged us to "apply for prioritized sending", and we were assigned Case No 43699725. We weren't asking for any favors—we just wanted Yahoo to stop blocking our email.

After a lot of back and forth, on January 16, 2008, Yahoo wrote that they had "made appropriate changes to this IP address" in their database. "This should help with delivering mail" they said.

But the problems continued.

On March 17, 2008 we were sent a technical form to complete which most casual users would not be able to handle. We complied.

On April 7, 2008 Yahoo wrote "for Question #1, we will need you to provide the specific IP address/es assigned to your active mail servers."

We asked our ISP to provide us this information. Their response: " is—that IP number is unlikely to change. Anything you send via will look like it's originating at but it then gets relayed through any of about a dozen other servers, and the IP #s of those servers change fairly frequently. They're in the, and subnets."

This information was forwarded to Yahoo on April 8, 2008. We're waiting for the results. We realize that spam is a problem on the Internet, but Yahoo's "solution" poses a major problem for small, volunteer run organizations like our's.

Founded in 1995, we are a tax-exempt corporation registered in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We're classified as a Section 501(c)(3) organization as described in the Internal Revenue Code—our employee identification number is 54-1755689.

Enver Masud
The Wisdom Fund


Moderator said...

Yahoo blocked about two-thirds of the mail sent to our Yahoo subscribers — more than 400 emails.

Moderator said...

Just as the FCC rules on net neutrality —, Yahoo blocks 297 of our emails.