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AOL's E-Mail Plan

by billzhills / March 1, 2006 9:50 PM PST

"A coalition of more than 50 charities, unions, health care groups, unions and other nonprofit organizations joined forces to oppose a plan by AOL to charge mass e-mail senders a fee for guaranteed delivery to AOL members' in-boxes."

Futher along

"""It's the first step onto a slippery slope that will dismantle the net freedoms that Americans have come to know," said Timothy Karr, campaign director for Free Press.

"The flow of online information, innovation and ideas is not a luxury to be sold off to the highest bidders."

Coalition representatives said that they are also concerned that other links along the e-mail chain would follow suit and being charging for services. ""
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I think AOL members ...
by Evie / March 1, 2006 9:58 PM PST
In reply to: AOL's E-Mail Plan

... will be the ultimate determinant. This is not an anti-SPAM measure, but rather ensures that those that pay GET to SPAM AOL members. Kinda contradicts AOL's big "selling point" of filtering out crap from the Inbox!

Evie Happy

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I'm sorry to say, but AOL users...
by EdH / March 1, 2006 10:19 PM PST

seem to be a clueless lot (present company excluded). This includes many of my friends who are on AOL. Paying too much for very little.

Their TV ads crack me up. "Oh look, popup blockers! Spam blockers! Antivirus software!" Like I did't have that stuff years ago. One friend of mine sums it up:"I don't WANT to know anything; I can't be bothered. That's why I hire people to do it for me!"

On such attitudes fortunes are built.

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I can't help but wonder....
by caktus / March 2, 2006 11:43 AM PST

if he looks at his paycheck before handing it to the teller. Or if he just can't be bothered.

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Another thing, AOL mail...
by EdH / March 1, 2006 10:31 PM PST

When people on AOL forward things to me invariably I get an attachment and nested inside is another attachment and another and ...

I usually just delete them. I don't know if their e-mail program is buggy or if people just don't know how to use it. And of course when people do this they expose my address to a bunch of total strangers. I've asked that people not do this countless times but it doesn't seem to "take" for very long *sigh*.

And if I filter them, I 'm the bad guy.

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I agree.
by Angeline Booher / March 1, 2006 11:13 PM PST

A friend of mine got her first computer one year after I did. At the time, there were fewer free access phone numbers available here. I went with AT&T, but she went with AOL "because it is already on my computer".

AOL offered no easily accessible help or advice on net etiquette, etc. She could only go to sites AOL wanted her to go.

Yep- she had a virus attack. Although I had advised her to get an AV program/firewall. "What is the keyword?" I've never understood the keyword bit. I understand that they finally put a link to Google.

I received one virus (caught OK), and tracked the culprit down to an AOL member. I emailed him about it, but it didn't make him very happy. I asked him to warn all in his address book. Lost that correspondent, and everybody in that group that used AOL.

One problem is dropping AOL. I know of one former user who had to jump through hoops to stop the monthly charges.

Thus I do not consider AOL customer friendly. Thus I can't say I am that surprised re: this charging for SPAM move.

Speakeasy Moderator
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I had AOL when the kids were little
by Diana Forum moderator / March 2, 2006 3:23 AM PST
In reply to: I agree.

I know I had to call and convince the tech that I didn't want AOL anymore.

The nested attachments is not just an AOL trick. I get it from my sister all the time. I'll go one or two levels and then figure if it wasn't important enough to repackage, it isn't important enough for me to read.

I told my mailing list that I never forward anything. I also put my list in the BCC and my name in the TO.


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A lot of people don't seem to know what BCC is..
by EdH / March 2, 2006 3:34 AM PST

no matter how often I tell them!

You are right. If it wasn't important enough to repackage, probably not important enough to look at.

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For the reasons you mention and a lot more...
by caktus / March 2, 2006 12:07 PM PST
In reply to: I agree.

was my first and worse Internet nightmare. Never again will I touch it, even with a dead man's hands and can't understand why anyone would.

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Keep on Filtering if...
by Eskiegirl302 / March 2, 2006 3:43 AM PST

That is what you do on AOL. I have never used it and never needed it. Seems pretty strange to me to pay for something you can get free. E-mail programs are abundant, shoot I have 5 different mailboxes and all for different things. I used to send junk to one, just friends to another, ect. ect. You just never knew when you would visit a site who would sneak trackers onto your system. Thus you get spam. I found a great program yesterday and tinkered with it some and it works good. Here is a link that helps to fight spam..

There is another program called Blue Frog that goes past filtering and actually gets those spammers back.

AOL users will figure it out one day if they just search around the internet and learn how use their computers to their own advantage.

People can still filter and should. Never open attachments, don't even look at your spam. Just delete it. Don't even worry about it. Worry about things like the registry and knowing how that works, and how to tweak IE, and all that other fun stuff.

Check those links too. You will like them.


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no bread with 2 meat balls
by jonah jones / March 2, 2006 5:45 PM PST

your so called "free email" is 2 meat balls...

compare AOLs plan with the "express" mail service, send a letter for 40c and it might take a week, spend $1 and it's there tomorrow morning...

as for filtering, mailwasher is unbeatable IMO...


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Same here...
by caktus / March 2, 2006 11:58 AM PST

I tell folks that if they want to send me such to copy and paste the text into a new email as I generally delete reply email for safety's sake. Of course deleting them doesn't really keep my addy from being sent all over h@ll n' back. But it helps [some] to get the point.

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And now the rest of the story...
by Edward ODaniel / March 2, 2006 6:31 AM PST
In reply to: AOL's E-Mail Plan

Activist Group Tilts at E-Mail Windmills
By Larry Seltzer
March 1, 2006

Opinion: A coalition's manifesto against Goodmail steers well clear of any facts and is fueled by irrational and ungrounded bias.

You'll find no better example of political demagoguery than the coalition formed to oppose Goodmail and AOL's use of Goodmail's services.

The Web site announcing their positions is so overflowing with misinformation and presumption that it's hard to know where to start in addressing it.

The site is filled with cheap, pejorative terms like "email tax." But if there's one most prominent false claim or presumption made by the coalition it is that AOL's acceptance of certified e-mail without further spam checks means that the service provided to non-certified mail will degrade. This claim is explicit and implicit all over the site.

There is no basis for this claim. Let me repeat that: They are making it up, and they have no legitimate reason to claim it. ...

Seltzer has nailed it pretty solidly. The "coalition" has stretched the truth beyond recognition so much it looks like a spin off of Moveon.org.

Personal spam blockers and mail rules will still be available for the end user if any of the paid emails are SPAM for them but most actual spammers will not subscribe to GoodMail as it would eat into their profits too much. One can expect companies with real "Opt In" email lists such as CSPAN or CNet or Ziff Davis or Microsoft to pay the small fee to ensure their mail is not filtered by the ISP because it ensures that the person who asked for it gets it.

Actually, I think it can be a good thing because everyone doesn't always remember to add a newly subscribed mail list address to their white list.
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RE: The rest of the story...
by caktus / March 2, 2006 2:13 PM PST

Seltzer's reference to the Post Office was a very bad analogy, particularly in terms of ''more work'' or ''guarnteed delivery''.

And as far as ''There's no reason why AOL would need or want to degrade their standard services.'' AOL's services have pretty much alway's been ''degraded''.

To think AOL enjoys ''the highest of reputations'' for customer service let alone mail delivery. Seltzer must be high.

''I'm just aghast at this cheap shot, based as it is on no factual information at all.'' I seems to me that Seltzer's article is not based on factual information. In fact I wonder if even speaks from any experience regarding AOL's so-called ''services'' or ''customer service''.

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Seltzer based his...
by Edward ODaniel / March 3, 2006 4:33 AM PST

article and wording on the results of many customer satisfaction questioneers over many years and AOL does get high marks from its users.

If you are at all familiar with how the Post Office operates, Seltzer's analogy was actually rather apt.

Past users opinions may differ but the article was written with a view to actual AOL users, NOT non-users.

While I can readily agree that many AOL users are only AOL users because they have never experienced anything else, MANY others are AOL users by choice because they have tried other ISPs or email services and found them lacking for their likes and purposes and returned happily to AOL's proprietary system.

Personally I don't care for AOL but having looked over the opposition group and their complaints I readily see the falseness of their claims and the vast stretching of minor truths they are doing. VERY similar to Moveon.org and the DNC and small wonder as they are both members of the "coalition".

Have you read what they have to say at http://www.dearaol.com/? Heavy on rhetoric and unfounded claims and assertions but very light on fact just as Seltzer points out.

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RE: rather apt.
by caktus / March 3, 2006 12:51 PM PST
In reply to: Seltzer based his...

Yes. The Post Office analogy [is] actually appropriate. However, I figure it is a rather bad one given that the article appears to be an attempt to boast AOL.

Given my past personal experience (including repeated [official] misuse of my CC), past experience of other's of which I've read and heard including those I've read on the CNET and other forums it seems to me that AOL [still] tries to make their customers the property of AOL. And that AOL [still] passes the buck when it comes to providing support except when it comes to selling.

Today there are many ISP's that provide very adaquate service and support for very little $'s. e.g. my current ISP charges $8.25 p/mo and I am more satisfied with the service than I [ever] was with AOL's.

Perhaps AOL is getting better but I would doubt it in spite of their constantly rising prices. And like I am sure Sony is still learning, a bad rep is really hard to shake.

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Maybe you all would like ...
by Eskiegirl302 / March 2, 2006 3:02 PM PST

A bit of enlightenment. Here is what move on says.

Dear MoveOn member,

If you are active in a local civic or community group that depends on email to communicate with members, we need your help now?as we work to stop AOL's email tax.

AOL's proposed email tax would give membership groups a horrible choice: pay for every email sent to "guarantee" delivery, or face an increasing number of legitimate emails going undelivered.

This week, a diverse coalition was formed to stop AOL's email tax. Our 50-member coalition representing 15 million people was reported on in over 400 media outlets across the world, 100,000 people read our Open Letter to AOL online, and 300,000 people have signed MoveOn's petition. Our voices are being heard?now help us make them louder.

Let's grow our coalition against AOL's email tax from 50 member organizations to 500. Can you help recruit local organizations you are part of? Individuals (like you) and organizations can sign our coalition's Open Letter to AOL at:


When AOL was confronted with your criticism of its proposed pay-to-send system, AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham told the Associated Press, "There is no substantive news here...some disparate groups of advocates have come together for an event reminiscent of the bar scene in the first 'Star Wars' movie." AOL doesn't yet realize regular people can make a difference. AOL, meet MoveOn.

We know many MoveOn members are small business owners or are active in community groups?PTAs, local environmental groups, religious groups, charities, and others. Many groups you belong to depend on email to communicate and would lose their effectiveness in the world AOL is proposing?where the only ones who get reliable email service are giant bulk-mailers who can afford to pay for every email sent.

For example, after quoting AOL's attempt to marginalize our broad coalition with the "bar scene" comment, the Associated Press described one of our coalition partners?a free online network for cancer patients which cannot afford AOL's email tax, but which also cannot afford the life-and-death consequences if their emails aren't reliably delivered to cancer patients.

Another coalition partner is Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist. Like MoveOn, Craigslist started small and never would have gotten off the ground if AOL's pay-to-send policy had been in effect. The magic of the Internet is that it is free and open to everybody?so small ideas can become big ideas. AOL's email tax is a direct threat to the free and open Internet, creating a two-tier system that leaves the little guy behind.

That's why we formed a big coalition?and need it to get bigger. Already, it includes state organizations like the North Carolina Harm Reduction Center, Marlyland League of Conservation Voters, and Californians Against Waste in addition to national groups such as the AFL-CIO, Gun Owners of America, the Humane Society, the Association of Cancer Online Resources, the Democratic National Committee, Democracy for America, the Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project, Free Press, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, Friends of the Earth, and others.

Please help us save the free and open Internet by growing our coalition from 50 member organizations to 500. Please reach out to organizations you are a part of. Individuals and organizations can sign our coalition's Open Letter to AOL at:


Thanks for all you do.

?Eli Pariser, Noah T. Winer, Adam Green, and the MoveOn.org Civic Action team
Thursday, March 2nd, 2006

P.S. Please be sure to sign the open letter at www.dearaol.com and if you have a website or blog, please consider helping the cause by posting this "Stop AOL's email tax" graphic on your site:


I think I will stick as close to open source as I can. As far as proof, are you trying to tell me that the Associated Press Newspaper does not exist? Get with it guy.

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Couldn't ask for better confirmation...
by Edward ODaniel / March 3, 2006 5:31 AM PST

regarding the truth to Seltzer's article than what you provided here (albeit you didn't intend to do so).

We all know about Moveon.org and how it can't be bothered with the truth if any old lie is handy and at Moveon.org a lie is ALWAYS handy.

Read the claims at http://www.dearaol.com/, then THINK about what they are really saying (might help to read AOL's press release first) and how it doesn't track well with relevant facts and join us in a healthy laugh at Moveon.org where fiction is reality.

Since your thinking capabilities are unknown allow me to simply point out one easy to spot item among the plethora on the site.

They make the satement that: The moment AOL switches to a two-tiered Internet where giant emailers pay for preferential service, AOL will face a simple business choice: spend money to keep regular spam filters up-to-date, or make money by neglecting their spam filters and pushing more senders to pay for guaranteed delivery. Poor delivery of mail turns from being a problem that AOL has every incentive to fix to something that could actually make them money if the company ignores it.

But then their real argument comes through in their FAQ http://www2.dearaol.com/faq when they state that:

AOL has proposed the adoption of a system called CertifiedEmail, provided by Goodmail Systems. Under this pay-to-send system, affluent mass-emailers who are willing to pay AOL the equivalent of an ''email tax'' would get to bypass AOL's spam filters and get guaranteed delivery to the inboxes of AOL customers.

Everyone who can't afford to pay AOL's ''email tax'' - including charities, small businesses, civic organizations, and even families with mailing lists - will have no guarantee that their emails will be delivered. If other companies follow AOL in adopting pay-to-send systems, the Internet will become permanently divided into two classes of users - those who can afford to pay for guaranteed delivery and everyone else left behind with unreliable service.

which clearly shows that they are aware of the speciousness of their argument about ''neglecting their spam filters''. They are, in short, LIEING through their teeth about AOL's mail services and upset that they would have to be willing to pay to spam AOL customers because AOL's spam filters catch their spam which AOL customers could get if they wanted it by whitelisting them.

Hopefully you will have achieved some modicum of enlightenment after reading AND thinking about what was said rather than blindly accepting the drivel spouted at www2.dearaol.com and by Moveon.org personnel who depend on useful idiots to further their agendas.

PS - The drivel about ''charities'' who can't afford the GoodMail fees is more of the same Moveon.org BS as AOL already offered them guaranteed delivery and has further clarified that position here:
http://media.aoltimewarner.com/media/newmedia/cb_press_view.cfm?release_num=55254538 It is the SPAMMERS who think they should be entitled to SPAM without constraints who are promoting the lies--Moveon.org again.

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And now ISPs want to end "all you can eat" pricing :-(
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / March 2, 2006 12:16 PM PST
In reply to: AOL's E-Mail Plan
Telecom industry considers a la carte Internet

>> Consumers who make long-distance phone calls on the Internet, those who pay to download tunes or TV shows onto their iPods and people who now watch streaming video free of charge ? all might get hit with extra fees.... <<

Doncha love the name of the group pushing for this ('its not greed, it's basic fairness," they argue)?: "the Progress and Freedom Foundation." Doesn't that make you want to stand up and salute?

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!
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(NT) (NT) I'd like to salute ;-)
by caktus / March 2, 2006 12:23 PM PST

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