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AOL's paying email plans backfire

AOL's plan to charge email senders (opens in new tab) for what used to be a free email service has a growing number of organisations rallying against it. Charities, Trade unions, health care groups and other non government organisations are regrouping together to prevent AOL from getting the upper hand.

Although, the charge per email would be relatively insignificant, some cash-strapped NGO's would still be facing bills running in tens of thousands of dollars every year; money which could of course be diverted to other more important priorities.

AOL is using a technology based on Goodmail systems which uses whitelists as opposed to blacklists. It is not difficult to see that AOL is also looking forward to cash on the increasing amount of emails the US-based ISP manages . It also echoes the likes of the Baby Bells who want to have a multi-tiered Iinternet with premium rates for those looking for premium quality of service.

There is also a distinct fear that other Internet Service Providers (ISP) like Hotmail and Yahoo could follow AOL's path if ever this scheme proved to be relatively successful. But there's also the threat that the ISP concentrate more on getting increasing average revenue per user (ARPU) rather than putting a constant fight against the email spammers.

A more convenient and popular method might be to impose a limit on the number of emails a particular email can send to an ISP user. Anyone wanting to send more emails would have to register first with the ISP and use a special remailer. You can also find a previous blog post on AOL's plans here

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.