AOL Blocks EarthLink E-mail

ATLANTA — Hundreds of thousands of e-mails sent by EarthLink Inc. customers to America Online accounts were rejected and lost over a period spanning at least 10 days, EarthLink said Monday.

An AOL spokesman said software designed to restrict junk e-mail, or spam, was to blame. After conferring Monday, the companies said the problem had been resolved. A spokesman said the problem was brought to EarthLink’s attention Wednesday after some of its customers complained that e-mail sent to AOL accounts was not reaching intended recipients — and no error message was returned.

AOL, based in Dulles, Va., declined to detail how many e-mails its software blocked or where they originated. EarthLink said about 5 percent of its 10 million to 20 million daily e-mails go to AOL but that the problem affected only messages from the 60 percent of its customers with accounts.

EarthLink also operates and addresses, having purchased both companies. The Atlanta-based company has about 4.7 million customers, a distant second to AOL’s 27 million. AOL has been aggressive in recent years against junk e-mailers, pursuing lawsuits against more than three dozen parties to stop the unwanted mail from clogging users’ mailboxes.

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