Goodbuy AOL, and Goodbuy Yahoo users!

Dennis Faas's picture

If you haven't already heard the buzz, AOL and Yahoo have teamed up with Goodmail Systems, and will soon be charging a "voluntary" per-email fee to bulk-mailers in order to guarantee the delivery of emails to recipients.

A story at summed it up nicely (posted February 9th, 2006):

" ... Companies that have buttered their bread by sending free e-mail via AOL and Yahoo will soon have the option to pay to ensure their messages arrive at their target destinations.

AOL in the coming months will begin charging a fraction of a penny or more per message in what they claim is an attempt to decrease the spam and identity fraud scams that plague the Internet, confirmed AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham.

Graham said AOL will retain its free e-mail services, the AOL Whitelist and Enhanced Whitelist.

But he said the giant service provider is adding a 'voluntary, additional layer of e-mail delivery' that will make it possible for companies to buy a sort of digital postage stamp -- from a quarter of a cent to one penny per message -- for assurance that their e-mail will be delivered to their customers.

With this service, messages [from] paying senders will go straight to the inboxes of people who have agreed to receive their messages, bypassing spam filters and other devices to catch spammers and fraudsters.

Graham said this paid e-mail option, which he compares to the kind of guaranteed delivery services Federal Express and the U.S. Postal Service offer in the offline world, is a 'weapon' against the growing sophistication of perpetrators seeking to dupe consumers. " (Source / Full Story:

Although much debate ensued since the original announcement, there has been little change to AOL's decision to move ahead with their plan to tax emails. As for Yahoo: they're still currently testing the system. (Source:

Reading between the lines: How does AOL and Yahoo's decision affect Infopackets subscribers?

While a "pay per-email" model will surely decrease the amount of spam coming into AOL and Yahoo inboxes, it will also block out legitimate bulk mail -- such as the infopackets email newsletter -- from reaching its intended recipients. And according to my calculations, AOL and Yahoo users make up 39% of the infopackets email list.

Putting it another way: even at a fraction of a penny, there's no way in hell I can afford to pay to send out almost 95,000 emails 3 times a week. Sorry! I'm not that rich (yet). Maybe if I start advertising Viagra or some porn ... or no, wait, that's a bad idea. ;-)

Vicious rumors are already circulating around the 'net that AOL and Yahoo will receive "kickbacks" from Goodmail Systems for getting big-name companies (such as Dell, for example) to pay the email tax. Hence, the reason why this article was titled "Goodbuy AOL, and Goodbuy Yahoo users!". Get it? Goodmail ... good buy ... goodbye ... goodbuy.

OK? Yeah, the title wasn't a spelling mistake.

All kidding aside -- what does all this mean if you're an AOL or Yahoo user currently subscribed to the infopackets email newsletter?

In all likelihood, either: you won't receive our newsletter (at all) in the future, or our email newsletter will be redirected (er, "automatically filtered") into a spam folder. In the latter case, you probably won't receive our email newsletter (at all) unless you check your spam folder on a regular basis. And, oh, what fun that can be.

But don't fret, because there are other, much more appealing alternatives!

1. Subscribe to our news feeds using RSS (highly recommended!). RSS doesn't use email so you're *guaranteed* to receive our articles in a timely manner. And best of all, it's free!

How to use an RSS Reader

2. If you're hell-bent on receiving our newsletter via email, you'll have to subscribe using another email address from *another* service provider (hint: not AOL or Yahoo). But even with that said, our email newsletters may get filtered and inadvertently marked as "spam" and you may end up not receiving anything at all. In that case, please refer to suggestion #1. ;-)

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