Email changes at hort.net, caused by AOL and Yahoo!

The problem

Recently AOL and Yahoo! implemented changes that prevented mail from aol.com and yahoo.com from going through any server other than their own.

This meant that AOL and Yahoo! users couldn’t send mail through many internet mailing lists — their messages were just deleted and nobody ever saw them.

We didn’t think this was very fair for AOL and Yahoo! to do to their users, so we came up with a workaround at hort.net.

The solution

Now, when you send an email to a hort.net address you get a unique email address at hort.net that will be tied to that email address forever.  We replace your email address with one for hort.net, so now it doesn’t look like it came from your address any more.

For example, if

billyjoebob@example.com

sends an email to the hort.net perennials mailing list, their email might be rewritten to look like it came from

38e6937c1@rewrite.hort.net

Our mail server will always remember that address, and if anyone sends a message there it will be forwarded back to the original email address associated with it (after spam and virus checking, of course).

There are lots of advantages to this:

  1. AOL and Yahoo! users can now send messages to mailing lists at hort.net again!
  2. If other sites implement policies like AOL and Yahoo! did their mail won’t be lost.
  3. Email addresses can be hidden in future messages added to the archives.
  4. Putting this change in place made some of the other hort.net plans easier to implement.  You’ll be able to change how your name appears in emails, for example.

So when you send an email to one of our mailing lists, don’t freak out if the address looks weird.  It’s intentional, it’s good, and it’s making sure your message gets out while protecting your privacy.