Verizon Communications Inc. purchased AOL last May with the intent of forging a new player in the digital media business. Along with that merger came the conversation about how, if at all, the two mailbox providers would integrate email platforms. Verizon most recently announced that it will be exiting the email business to focus on its Internet and TV products.

Part of Verizon’s product sunsetting includes the transition of existing email addresses to AOL’s hosting infrastructure. Users will be able to retain their Verizon email addresses if they wish to.

Both Verizon and AOL provide designated FAQ pages that explain the details about the integration (Verizon’s can be found here and AOL’s here).  So what does this change mean for email senders who send to either email addresses?

From a sender’s perspective, this means that mail going to Verizon domain(s) will now be subject to AOL’s filtering algorithms and throttling behavior.

For example, senders may see a slight increase in temporary deferrals while AOL measures early engagement on the mail to these Verizon addresses, and they could potentially see an increased sensitivity towards link obfuscation, among other changes.

Since there is no hard deadline for when this integration will be complete, a sender could see a mixture of AOL and Verizon SMTP responses when mailing to these email addresses, so I would suggest making yourself familiar with the tools AOL offers for senders as well as their specific SMTP categorizations.

More visibility for email senders

Another aspect of the AOL platform migration comes with enhanced visibility for senders–so I would be encouraged by this. As many senders know, some providers’ bounce responses can be vague and/or malformed, they may not provide clear mitigation steps, they may have wrong or expired links, or they’re just plain unhelpful. AOL’s IP reputation lookup, as well as a catalog of common bounce codes, should give senders a better idea of what the issue is if they ever happen to run into them (as well as necessary processes for solving them).

A separate feature that could be seen as an added perk is that AOL offers a whitelist for reputable senders that send wanted mail from most of AOL’s spam filters. It stands to think that the same logic could end up benefitting your program with Verizon addresses. Although with total disclosure, this hasn’t been confirmed by AOL and would probably depend on the completed integration.

So as this migration continues to progress, senders can expect to see that mirrored in the way their mail is handled by Verizon domains as well as the signals they will receive in the form of SMTP responses. Take this opportunity to verse yourself in how AOL views mail, and you’ll be able to adjust your sending strategies as necessary to see continued success reaching your customers.

For more information on all things email delivery, check out our 2017 Email Deliverability Guide.

Seth Charles
An email nerd at heart, Seth has been working in the deliverability and marketing space for six years. He loves solving problems, helping educate SendGrid's customers, and being a part of the email community. As a sixth-generation Coloradan, he always enjoys being outside (especially if it means getting a round of golf in), and thinks John Elway should be the Emperor of Colorado.