by CIO Staff

AOL, Yahoo E-Mail ‘Postage’ Plan Prompts Protest

Feb 28, 20062 mins

On Tuesday, a number of non-profit and civil liberties groups will launch a campaign to protest America Online (AOL) and Yahoo’s e-mail “postage” plan, which entails charging users who send large amounts of e-mail to pay a fee for guaranteed delivery of their messages, The New York Times reports.

The two Internet firms are working in conjunction with Goodmail Systems, a Silicon Valley e-mail certification company, and the fee for most messages will be between a quarter of a cent and a penny each, The Times reports.  Goodmail will charge the fees, but AOL and Yahoo will collect the bulk of the payment, according to the Times.

The Goodmail system could be in place at AOL within 30 days, and Yahoo will begin testing the service in a few months and will only charge for messages pertaining to financial transactions or purchases, The Times reports.

According to The Times, the campaign against e-mail postage is being led by, a public interest group that employs a list of some 3 million e-mail addresses to raise awareness of relevant issues and garner funding, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a Web civil liberties organization.  A number of other organizations have already expressed support, including the Gun Owners of America, the Democratic National Convention and the National Humane Society, The Times reports.

Adam Green, a spokesperson with Civic Action, the organization’s non-political division, told The Times the fee would negatively affect “charities, small businesses, and even families with mailing lists that will have no guarantee their e-mail will be delivered. The magic of the Internet is that it is free and open to everybody so small ideas can become big ideas.”

America Online Spokesperson Nicholas Graham told The Times that e-mail from non-profits, charitable groups and the like, will continue to be delivered as they have been in the past, with a combination of technology and manpower used to sort the legitimate messages from the spam.

For related coverage, read Political Rivals Unite Against AOL, Yahoo, Antispam Vendor Blasts E-Mail ‘Postage’ Plan and AOL, Yahoo to Charge E-Mail ‘Postage’.

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