Sunday, February 05, 2006

The end of an era?

Let this be your offical notification that the end of an era many of us have grown up with is just about over? No, I am not talking about the fact that Western Union has offically stopped doing telegrams, (but that is interesting to note, both of these stories came out on the same day)...I am referring to the fact that both AOL and Ya-Hoo, (two of the world's largest providers of e-mail accounts), are about to roll out their "Priority E-Mail" programs and the end of unlimited FREE EMAILING is over!

In a nut shell, this means that you, (as someone who wishes to send emails through them, or to their subscribers), can get "preferential treatment" of that mail, if you pay a quarter-cent, up to a penny for each message sent. So what the heck does preferential treatment mean? At AOL, (for example), they will go straight to users main mailboxes and will not have to pass through spam filters, which might divert them spam inboxes or strip them of thier attachments or links. The companies say they will still accept mail from all senders, but the paid emails will have special treatment and this process will help them cut down on the amount of junk e-mail, identity theft and other scams. Yeah right!

This is problematic for a number of reasons. One: raise your hand if you don't think well funded spammers will jump right on this, and use this paying feature as a way to bypass all those wonderful spam protections we all use, because they will get "special treatment"? Two: Don't be fooled by the humanitarian stance AOL and Ya-hoo are using to explain the reasoning for this...there is only one reason why they are doing this....BOTTOM LINE! Both AOL and Ya-Hoo are major companies that have quarterly reports and stockholders to report to. It was just a matter of time before they cracked the nut open, (so to speak), on developing an additional income stream for their email services.

YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST...This is just the beginning of this "taxing" of our emails, with each passing year, they will add more and more fees and take away more and more of the FREE-ness of our e-mail accounts, (I can hear it now...the price of preferenial treatment just got raised to 2-5 cents per mail, etc...) They know they are sitting on a literal goldmine here, if they can just get it off the ground without to much PR trouble.

So what can we do? Immediately send AOL or Ya-hoo a FREE email message and let them know if they do this, you will immediatley cancel your subsription and move to another provider that is not jumping in bed on this plan! It's the only way we (as individuals and small or home based businessman), can stop this thing. If we wait, it will be too late....because once it's up and running and the big companies buy into it and buy thousands of dollars of email postage up front...other companies will want to "join this gravy train" and then FREE e-mail will go the way of FREE PARKING!

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