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AO-Hell making themselves less desireable to customers

Son Goku

No lover of dogma
#1
Just recieved notice fo this via email. AOL, (hereby refered to as America on LSD), is poised to introduce an email tax of sorts which promises to allow (spammers could use this), the payee to circumvent all their spam filters and other methods put in place to help cut down on junk mail. As to the email their customers might actually want (from say family and friends)? It can be left undelivered...

http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/004398.php

Remember the famous email rumor that made the rounds in the 1990s: "Congress is trying to tax your Internet connection, write in now!"

Well what wasn't true in the 1990s is apparently coming true in 2006, only the beneficiaries won't be Uncle Sam -- it will be Yahoo, AOL, and a company ironically called Goodmail. Yahoo and AOL have announced that they will guarantee access to your email inbox for email senders who pay $.0025 per message. They will override their own spam filters and webbug-strippers, and deliver the mail directly with a "certified" notice. In the process, they will treat more of your email as spam, and email you're expecting won't be delivered.

The justification is that if people have to pay to send email, they won't send junk email. Apparently AOL and Yahoo believe that if we "tax" speech then only desirable speech happens. We all know how well that works for postal mail -- that's why no one gets any "free" AOL starter disks, right?

More seriously, as we discuss below, this isn't really an anti-spam measure as much as a "pay to speak" email measure, and it won't end spam or phishing. Prominent anti-spammer Richard Cox of Spamhaus agrees: "an e-mail charge will destroy the spirit of the Internet."

(Read on for more after the jump.)

Email being basically free isn't a bug. It's a feature that has driven the digital revolution. It allows groups to scale up from a dozen friends to a hundred people who love knitting to half-a-million concerned citizens without a major bankroll.

Email readers and senders will both lose, because the incentives for Yahoo, AOL, and Goodmail are all wrong. Their service is only valuable if it "saves" you from their spam filters. In turn, they have an incentive to treat more of your email as spam, thereby encouraging people to sign up.

Even email senders who just want to reach Dad@aol.com may eventually be in trouble. Once a pay-to-speak system like this gets going, it will be increasingly difficult for people who don't pay to get their mail through. The system has no way to distinguish between ordinary mail and bulk mail, spam and non-spam, personal and commercial mail. It just gives preference to people who pay.
So there you have it. Someone can end up incuring a charge to email their brother, but spammers will get an easy way to circumvent spam lists, and deliver their spam without incident :down:
 

Johnny

.. Commodore ..
Political User
#2
Yeah, AOL and Yahoo! are doing this. They claim it's to drive away spammers. I think it's a way for them to make up all the money they are losing from membership declines.
 

Vanquished

Mr. Bananagrabber
Political User
#3
I hate AOL....
I switched to comcast like 4 years ago, it was worth the 20 dollar price increase...
But that sucks so much..
-Jack
 

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