AOL Email Tax Fury: 2,000 Recruits Per Hour

from the whoops dept

zanek writes "The boneheaded idea probably sounded great in committee: If you charge unwanted senders a ransom to bypass your spam filters, you turn them from an enforcement headache to a paying customer. Unfortunately for AOL and Yahoo, the concept hasn't had the same resonance with the public. As a result, opponents are signing up thousands of troops, while AOL's recruiting direct email customers, and Yahoo's heading for the hills. The outcome will be great fodder for a Harvard Business School case study." Of course, it pays to take such online petition-type things with a grain of salt.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    DittoBox, Mar 2nd, 2006 @ 9:17pm

    Shouldn't the AOL clients get a cut?

    Shouldn't the AOL clients get a cut? I mean, they should get a commision or finder's fee for having their proverbial email souls forcibly removed and sold to the devil.

     

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  2.  
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    Sarojin, Mar 2nd, 2006 @ 10:23pm

    Re: Shouldn't the AOL clients get a cut?

    What are you, a Socialist? Heh.

    Read the ToS, all your base are belong to us!

    I'd agree with you but I don't really trust anyone that would use AOL. They've been dancing with the devil since the 80's.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 2nd, 2006 @ 10:32pm

    Re: Shouldn't the AOL clients get a cut?

    Prodigy went bye bye. CompuServe went way of CS2000 and now into meaning nothing. AOL is just barely hanging-on by using these crazy "last-grasp-4-cash" techniques before they are out - heck, if Fonzie can "Jump The Shark", so can AOL... and that is what this sounds like AOL is doing.

     

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  4.  
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    Michael Greb, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 12:57am

    Good Advice

    Of course, it pays to take such online petition-type things with a grain of salt

    This is great advice. The important thing to note here, which most places reporting the story fail to make clear and almost everyone complaining about this doesn't realize... This isn't a license for spammers to spam as long as they pay a fee. This is a method for legitmate senders to not have to worry about their solicited messages getting blocked by spam filters. Those participating in the system still have to maintain extremely low complaint rates.

    It is an extension of the whitelisting system AOL has already been running for sometime, the only difference is the whitelisting system was run in house and was free to those listed. Now it will be run by a third party trusted by AOL and there will be a fee to be listed.

     

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  5.  
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    randomboy, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 2:33am

    where's the story?

    No matter how I look at it, I don't see the problem here.

    First of all, only AOL and Yahoo users would be affected, so why worry? Which one of you techdirt readers has an AOL or Yahoo account?

    And last, I don't see how this will affect the ammount of spam in an AOL user's inbox, even in the unlikely even that they manage to sell this to mass-mailers.

    So what's with all the hype? Why should I care?

     

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  6.  
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    Trikein, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 3:06am

    Re: where's the story?

    ATMs were created to save banks the money they would otherwise have to pay to tellers. Commercials were created to pay for a otherwise free media. The Tshirt was a quirkey novelity created to give out free so people would wear the advertisment printed on them. Things have a way of being accepted by Society if they are temporarly convienent. Now some banks charge you to use their ATMs. Cable companies charge out the nose for you to watch commercials. And Tshirts sell for prices depending on the going fad. The online media is slowly being taken away from the public and sold to Big Corp. No big deal right? But imagine a gobal organization that monitors and either approves or denied what you could post online. I believe one day we will see it if we stay on this track.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 3:18am

    Re: Why should I care?

    1) Basically AOL is charging a tax on incoming emails. I think the proposed rate is about 1c per email.

    This sets a precident for other organizations or governments who want to tax other parts of the Internet that you do care about. A license fee for P2P downloads for example?

    2) Reportedly, the organization running this scheme discriminates against non-American companies. (Something that I find ironic as most of the spam that I personally receive is on behalf of American products.) "In order to meet the strict qualifying criteria, an organization must, among other things ... have business headquarters located in the United States or Canada" - What is the process for becoming a Goodmail-accredited sender?

    The legality of this is debatable and this sort of development helps fragment the Internet.

     

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  8.  
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    randomboy, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 3:57am

    Re: where's the story?

    You're not forced to use either of the goods/services you whine about being charged to use. An ATM requires a big initial investment and maintenance costs that have to be covered by the bank somehow. I'd rather pay a fee to use it than have the cost of it included in the banks intrest rates.

    AOL is merely selling a new product here, this has nothing to do with any regulating and it's pretty far from the orwellian monitoring scenario that you're picturing.

    Of course AOL is just greedy here and reducing spam isn't really their motive, but then again greed is pretty much normal practise nowadays. Expect me to come out in the street when there will be a state institution forcing something like this down our throats.

     

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  9.  
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    Chris H, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 5:14am

    No Subject Given

    Meh.... if you're using AOL, you kinda get what you deserve.

     

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  10.  
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    Scott, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 5:26am

    Re: Why should I care?

    #2 is BS. They most likely have to be in the US or Canada to make sure they can be held accountable under law.

    Did you read the TOS? A lot of this would not be enforcable in many countries, and a hassle to contract in a lot of others.

     

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  11.  
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    DittoBox, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 8:29am

    Re: Shouldn't the AOL clients get a cut?

    LOL...I'm closer to Libertarian than socialist. I was simply making a point of how evil AOL is, and how ignorant (and I guess they pretty much deserve it for not doing the research) the AOL users are.

    ;)

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 11:16am

    Re: Why should I care?

    Re: They most likely have to be in the US or Canada to make sure they can be held accountable under law.

    LOL! Almost all countries have laws and it's not hard to do business overseas. AOL trades in several countries, so they know about this stuff.

     

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  13.  
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    giafly, Mar 3rd, 2006 @ 12:39pm

    Sorry to post three times

    ..but this blog by an "AOL insider" is essential reading.

    "The Left, the Right, the Bad, and the Good(mail)

    Many of us have been following the AOL/Yahoo! Goodmail press lately. While the deal was initially announced back in October last year, for some reason the PR engines only began to get going in February 2006. What sparked the sudden change in direction?

    While I can’t necessarily answer that question completely, I believe it was due to some miscommunication and misunderstanding for which AOL may have even been partly to blame. And for our part, we tried to set the record straight and emphasize that:

    1. Goodmail is an optional program for mailers who are interested in participating.
    2. Goodmail is AOL’s third whitelist (to date) with the possibility for more.
    3. AOL’s other two whitelists (”AOL Whitelist” and “AOL Enhanced Whitelist”) are not going away."

    More: Carl Hutzler’s Blog

    That's the last you'll hear from me on this subject, because it's time to go home and watch Poker Night Live.

     

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  14.  
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    Trikein, Sep 7th, 2006 @ 11:37pm

    Oh oh. :-(

    ~An ATM requires a big initial investment and maintenance costs that have to be covered by the bank somehow. I'd rather pay a fee to use it than have the cost of it included in the banks intrest rates.~

    Hmm, your just not getting it. Yes, ATMs cost money. But they cost a lot less then having more actual people inside the bank to handle the smaller and more numerous transactions the ATM take care of. So, in the long run, without fees, the ATMs save the banks money. What happened is the Bottom line moved up, and instead of payroll making up for service of the ATMs, the Buck was passed to the customer. And you are fine with this? Imagine this, your at the grocery store. You have a loaf of bread, some milk and a candy bar. You go over to the "Check your self out" machine, do your thing, and grab your receipt. Well look at that, those machines are charging now. Even though the machines were created to save the stores money on cashier payroll, and even though they make you do work they use to provide for free. But no bother right, next time you will just wait in line for a cashier. But have you noticed there are less and less cashiers? Soon maybe they will get rid of them all together. But no problem right, your not being forced to shop at the store. Just go across town and shop at that other store. Sure, its a inconvenience, but its still your choice. Oh oh, looks like to stay competitive that store had to fallow suit and get rid of all its cashiers too and charging fees for their machine cashiers. That sucks. Will it happen anytime soon? No. May not even ever happen, but my point is it could, and compares exactly to why most banks now charge for ATM use. Good day.

     

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