The past week or so, you have have noticed an increase in the number of soft bounces you are seeing coming back from AOL. Why? AOL has been experiencing some internal issues that have caused erroneous bounces to be returned most commonly with the bounce code AOL_RTR_BLOCK.
We witnessed the biggest spike in these bounces on 4/14 and 4/15. Word came down from AOL on 4/15 that the problem had been resolved. However, we also saw a return of this bounce code on 4/17 and then today, 4/22, a fairly large increase surfaced again. As of now, we are not recommending taking any action unless you have a very tight soft bounce rule or a heavy cadence in place. If you do have a bounce rule in place that suspends in one of these instances, you might want to think about lifting that once the AOL issues are settled.
There was also word today that some AOL email addresses have been hacked recently and are sending out Spam. It is unknown at this time if the security issue is related to the bounce issues. AOL said in a statement: "AOL takes the safety and security of consumers very seriously, and we are actively addressing consumer complaints. We are working to resolve the issue of account spoofing to keep users and their respective accounts running smoothly and securely."
We'll keep a close watch on these issues and alert you to any future developments.