Monday, February 06, 2006

Yahoo, AOL will charge fees to cut spam

Decision starting to make waves in the marketing world

Yahoo and America Online, two of the largest e-mail account providers, plan to charge senders a fee to route their e-mail directly to a user's mailbox without first passing through junk mail filters, representatives of both companies said Sunday. The fees represent the companies' latest attempt to weed out spam (unsolicited mail) and identity-theft scams.

America Online's plan to start charging businesses to send commercial e-mail messages is creating an uproar among some marketers, according to USA Today. Some marketers argue AOL's plan to implement a certified e-mail system, which could charge advertisers $2 to $3 per 1,000 messages, is a form of e-mail taxation, reports said. Other news sources report that the fees would cost up to 1 cent per e-mail.

Senders will be guaranteed their messages won't be filtered and will bear a seal alerting recipients they're legitimate. Details from USA Today and

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Shirazi said...

We have come to take email granted as it is. Fee in any form will only reduce its usage. I vote against it.

Deb S. said...

Shi: You are right. We do take e-mail for granted. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

If the fees are levied only against businesses to cut down on spam, that could be a good thing. If, however, companies like Yahoo and AOL decide to do with free e-mail accounts, there is no question that there would be a public outcry.

Back in the 1990s, it was fairly easy to find free Internet providers. As we all know, that now has become a thing of the past. Let's hope this scenario isn't repeated when it comes to e-mail.

Emmanuel said...

Those two companies are probably big enough to set a dangerous example.

Georganna Hancock said...

Wait a minute. I WANT the spam filtered out of my Yahoo mail. They are doing a pretty good job. Will they then start charging addressees a fee to reinstitute the spam filter? I predict another flood in the direction of G-Mail, which filters spam well already.

Deb S. said...

Emmanuel: Perhaps you and Shirazi are on the same page.

Georganna: I'm with you! On any given week, more than 1,000 messages pile up in the bulk mail folder in my Yahoo account. Thank goodness this spam doesn't count towards my storage.

However, like Shi and Emmanuel, I'm concerned that this could set a disturbing precedent. I don't want to see individual account holders being charged in the future for any reason.