Aol Mail

Failure to meet these requirements will result in reduced delivery of your mail. We also have a best practices document for email senders.

MIME stands for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. MIME types are used to send non-ASCII information, and this is what allows e-mail programs to realize that its an image instead of a garbled series of characters.

MIME types are specified in the header of the e-mail, which is where the program also finds the "To", "From", and other display or encoding information. Typically, when an e-mail is sent, it includes the line

This notifies the program that a plain text e-mail has been received. To send HTML e-mail, the Content-Type should be modified. Depending on the situation, one of the following will be used:

Most HTML e-mail capable programs understand the first Content-Type, including AOL 6.0. Older versions of AOL, however, require the second Content-Type to be used.

Does an e-mail program support everything? Not at all. These e-mail programs are often only able to do a simplified amount of rendering. They certainly are not able to perform on the level of your average Internet Explorer or Netscape browser.

One reason is because of the security hazards involved with sending HTML e-mails. These e-mails can expose the unwary user to hostile viruses or other intrusive programs. Starting with the AOL 6.0 client, the e-mail program will render nearly all HTML tags but will exclude several pieces of functionality typically found on websites.

The common theme here is end-user security. Malicious e-mailers can bury a wide variety of harmful actions within the HTML e-mail, including programs that activate upon download. Also, as is the case with Meta Refresh, a user can be sent to another web site automatically. It is important to AOL that the end-user be protected from these potential security hazards.

On AOL clients older than 6.0, the MIME header should be MIME/X-AOL. This allows the e-mail to be translated using AOLs Rich Text Format. RTF is not as full featured as what is available from AOL 6. HTML tags that are not supported by RTF will be displayed as plain text. Additionally, no tables are supported. Users should be careful to only use the following tags when sending HTML e-mail to clients older than AOL 6.


America Online, Inc. ("AOL") does not authorize the use of its proprietary computers and computer network (the AOL Network") to accept, transmit or distribute unsolicited bulk e-mail sent from the Internet to AOL members. In addition, Internet e-mail sent, or caused to be sent, to or through the AOL Network that makes use of or contains invalid or forged headers, invalid or non-existent domain names or other means of deceptive addressing will be deemed to be counterfeit. Any attempt to send or cause such counterfeit e-mail to be sent to or through the AOL Network is unauthorized. Similarly, e-mail that is relayed from any third partys mail servers without the permission of that third party, or which employs similar techniques to hide or obscure the source of the e-mail, is also an unauthorized use of the AOL Network. AOL does not authorize anyone to send e-mail or cause e-mail to be sent to the AOL Network that violates AOLs Terms of Service. AOL does not authorize the harvesting or collection of screen names from the AOL service for the purpose of sending unsolicited e-mail. AOL reserves the right to take all legal and technical steps available to prevent unsolicited bulk e-mail or other unauthorized e-mail from entering, utilizing or remaining within the AOL Network. Nothing in this policy is intended to grant any right to transmit or send e-mail to, or through, the AOL Network. AOLs failure to enforce this policy in every instance in which it might have application does not amount to a waiver of AOLs rights.

Unauthorized use of the AOL Network in connection with the transmission of unsolicited bulk e-mail, including the transmission of counterfeit e-mail, may result in civil and criminal penalties against the sender, including those provided by the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (18 U.S.C. 1030 et seq.) Civil and criminal penalties may also apply to e-mail transmitted to the AOL Network in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003.