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.
Hopefully this will encourage users to avoid using AoL and Yahoo as email providers.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.
Actually it will increase the junk email to AoL and Yahoo customers since the sender will know that by paying a small fee it will be guaranteed to be delivered.They also stand to earn millions of dollars a year from the system if it is widely adopted.
Which is the main reason they are doing it. It has nothing to do with helping their customers.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.
So they can send all of the spam they want, they just have to pay a small fee to do it.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.