Real estate agents at Keller Williams Realty brokerages around the country are reporting that AOL appears to have blocked some messages sent from email addresses that use Keller Williams’ web domain, kw.com.
This has disrupted communications and paperwork delivery between some agents, clients and other parties to real estate transactions — even reportedly imperiling at least one deal.
AOL Senior Communications Director Allison Butler said she is looking into the matter.
The issue also appears to involve Google.
“Google and Keller Williams are working through this challenge currently with AOL to aid not only Keller Williams agents, but all the impacted companies and users affected by this issue,” said Steve Peterschmidt, chief technology officer at Keller Williams.
“This is an important issue and in looking at the data, we know this impacts a small population,” he added.
Some Keller Williams agents say when they send a message with a kw.com email address to AOL email addresses, they receive a notice that the email has been rejected.
Katie Larson, an agent at Long Beach, California-based Keller Williams Pacific Estates, received an email after requesting help from AOL that read: “We are seeing high volume of spam from Google server forcing us to refuse few mails. This is a temporary issue and mail delivery will be back to normal once the spam complaints reduce.”
The email issue is reportedly also impacting the delivery of online paperwork and e-signatures sent via at least one transaction management software, including ziplogix.
“My emails are getting rejected and I’m communicating with my clients — like we’re trying to get [a property] on the market, so I had to switch it over to my personal [email],” she said. “And my ziplogix goes out of my KW [email address], so I cant do anything on the electronic signature for ziplogix right now.”
Another agent reported on Facebook that the email issue had disrupted a transaction yesterday that was one email away from closing, causing “chaos.”
Realtor Tim Corcoran, an agent with Sarasota, Florida-based Keller Williams Realty On The Water, said delivery of online paperwork via dotloop to both AOL email addresses and Yahoo email addresses has been an issue for some time.
“We have to have people sign up for gmail account to do transactions,” he said about how he and others have dealt with this alleged difficulty. “It’s not new, just more widespread [now].”
Amanda Woolley, a spokeswoman for Zillow Group, which operates dotloop, said in response to questions about the sort of difficulties reported by Corcoran:
“No, dotloop email deliverability is not, and never has been, blocked by AOL or Yahoo. We take great strides to ensure our email deliverability, and our email reputation is very high.”
Woolley added that customer service would reach out to Corcoran.
Domains can be blocked for many reasons — a few include spam complaints, sending email repeatedly to invalid email addresses, or technical sending issues.
On the AOL “help” section of its website, the company gives the following explanation for why some domains might be blocked:
“The mail address you’re sending from is hosted on a server that our systems have identified as ‘abusive’ — someone appears to be using the server to send out spam. In cases like this AOL temporarily blocks the server and AOL Mail addresses will not receive email sent from it.
“As a result, you (the sender) receive a message from your domain’s Mailer Daemon alerting you that the message was not delivered. This email contains the specific error code and corresponding reason your message wasn’t delivered.
“To un-block your mail, the administrator of your email domain (which may be you; more often it is your Internet Provider) should open an AOL Postmaster support request by visiting http://postmaster.info.aol.com/SupportRequest.php.
“Depending on the volume of requests we’re currently working on, as well as the extent to which we need to work hand-in-hand with your administrator to resolve the problem, un-blocking a domain can take from a few hours to up to a week to complete.”
Editor’s note: This story has been updated.