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The decision by AOL and Yahoo to charge a bulk e-mailing fee has not been well received by many

Several public interest groups and nonprofit organizations, including Gun Owners of America, Association of Cancer Online Resources and, are joining together to battle the decision by America Online and Yahoo to charge a bulk e-mailing fee.  The "certified e-mail" service would attach "tokens" to some e-mails in which senders would have to pay between one-quarter of 1 cent and 1 cent for each message sent.  These e-mails will bypass spam filters and be sent directly into a user's inbox. 

The fee will be a disadvantage to "charities, small businesses and even families with mailing lists that will have no guarantee their e-mail will be delivered," said Adam Green, a spokesman for Civic Action, the group's nonpolitical arm. "The magic of the Internet is that it is free and open to everybody so small ideas can become big ideas."

AOL users can look forward to these certified e-mails in the next 30 days or so.  It is not currently known when Yahoo will begin offering certified e-mails to its users.

Update 02/28/2006: Since publication of this article, Yahoo! representatives have contacted us with more information.

"Companies can continue to send e-mail to Yahoo! Mail users at no cost in exactly the same way they always have, and we are not planning to require payment to ensure delivery to our users. In the coming months, Yahoo! will test an optional certified e-mail program based on 'transactional' messages only, such as bank statements and purchase receipts, as an additional layer of protection against e-mail identity theft scams known as phishing attacks," said Karen Mahon, Yahoo! spokesperson.

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Don't fall for P.R. "spin", AOL and Yahoo are wrong.
By MadMax on 2/28/2006 12:47:11 PM , Rating: 2
You know, it's amazing how this is being "spun" by the media. Every headline that I've read reads something along the lines of "AOL charging spammers to send email" rather than "AOL selling users' inbox to spammers".

The two statements above mean the same thing, but which one sounds better to you? Even here, on Anandtech (Daily Tech), two posters are defending AOL and Yahoo.

AOL and Yahoo users need to wise up. Even after these changes, spammers will still be able to send as many bulk emails as they want, to as many users as they want, for free. That's right, FREE, just like they always have. Most of those emails will be filtered out, so your inbox remains relatively untouched.

What is the difference then? By paying a fee, those same spammers will have FULL access to your inbox. ALL of their spam will automatically bypass the spam filters. Your inbox will get MORE spam, not less.
And if the spammers don't want to pay? Guess what, they can still send out millions of messages, for FREE, just like they do now. Does that sound like putting spammers out of business to you?

If the spammers don't pay, their revenues remain exactly the same. But if they DO pay, all the spam they send out becomes more effective, because it is guaranteed to land in all those users inboxes. Their revenues will INCREASE, thereby offsetting the cost of sending the spam. The only difference is that AOL and Yahoo will get their cut.

The bottom line is: AOL and Yahoo are selling your inbox to support spam.

By masher2 on 2/28/2006 1:11:02 PM , Rating: 2
No, the bottom line is they're selling access to their inboxes. "Your" inbox is one attached to your own mail server. Their servers, their rules. If you don't like it, stop whining and buy your own.

Secondly, Yahoo and AOL are only making this service available to legitimate senders of bulk email. Random spammers will NOT be able able to circumvent the current email filters. So those crying the sky is falling are, as usual, incorrect.

By nomagic on 2/28/2006 1:40:36 PM , Rating: 2
Describe legitimate senders of bulk email, please.

"A politician stumbles over himself... Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response." -- Joe Scarborough on John Stewart over Jim Cramer

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