TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Postage Is Due for Companies Sending E-Mail

Postage Is Due for Companies Sending E-Mail

Monty Solomon (
Sat, 4 Feb 2006 22:48:12 -0500


Companies will soon have to buy the electronic equivalent of a
postage stamp if they want to be certain that their e-mail will be
delivered to many of their customers.

America Online and Yahoo, two of the world's largest providers of
e-mail accounts, are about to start using a system that gives
preferential treatment to messages from companies that pay from 1/4
of a cent to a penny each to have them delivered. The senders must
promise to contact only people who have agreed to receive their
messages, or risk being blocked entirely.

The Internet companies say that this will help them identify
legitimate mail and cut down on junk e-mail, identity-theft scams and
other scourges that plague users of their services. Thy also stand to
earn millions of dollars a year from the system if it is widely

AOL and Yahoo will still accept e-mail from senders who have not
paid, but the paid messages will be given special treatment. On AOL,
for example, they will go straight to users' main mailboxes, and will
not have to pass the gantlet of spam filters that could divert them
to a junk-mail folder or strip them of images and Web links. As is
the case now, mail arriving from addresses that users have added to
their AOL address books will not be treated as spam.

Yahoo and AOL say the new system is a way to restore some order to
e-mail, which, because of spam and worries about online scams, has
become an increasingly unreliable way for companies to reach their
customers, even as online transactions are becoming a crucial part of
their businesses.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: This abreviated version of the original
article we had in yesterday's digest was sent in again today by Monty
Solomon, and is reprinted as a reminder to commercial emailers on what
to expect in the near future. PAT]

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