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Culture

AOL's penny post

America Online plans to start charging companies from a quarter of a cent to a penny per message to get preferential treatment for e-mail.


So-called white lists have been tried before to stop the spread of spam: allowing e-mail only from users on a special list. AOL's system offers companies the right to buy preferential treatment--on AOL sender's e-mail will go straight to users' main mailboxes, bypassing spam filters.

While some applaud the move as a step up in the constant battle against spam, some marketers and others complained that it's essentially a tax on e-mail designed to create revenue for AOL.

Blog community response:

"Your customers e-mail will become a wasteland of no inbound e-mail from all of the 90+ domains I own because I can guarantee you I will not pay this extortion to send e-mail to people I know on your network."
--Geek News Central

"In other words, this is really a lot of talking about not very much at all. AOL and Yahoo are basically going to try to charge marketers for the fact that their own spam filters don't work all that well and are blocking legitimate messages."
--TechDirt

"1) the Spam problem is getting better, not worse, so it may be that no new solution is needed; 2) if anyone is going to get paid for accessing me by email or phone or any other communication device, it ought to be me that gets paid (or who decides who doesn't have to pay)."
-- Fractals of Change