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  1. #1
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    Mar 2005
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    STOP AOL’s E-MAIL TAX

    STOP AOL’s E-MAIL TAX

    Visit the site to sign the petition

    From: [email protected]
    To: [email protected]
    Date: Tue Feb 28 13:00:00 EST 2006
    Subject: An Open Letter To America Online
    We wish to express our serious concern with AOL's adoption of Goodmail's CertifiedEmail, which is a threat to the free and open Internet.

    This system would create a two-tiered Internet in which affluent mass emailers could pay AOL a fee that amounts to an "email tax" for every email sent, in return for a guarantee that such messages would bypass spam filters and go directly to AOL members' inboxes. Those who did not pay the "email tax" would increasingly be left behind with unreliable service. Your customers expect that your first obligation is to deliver all of their wanted mail, and this plan is a step away from that obligation.

    AOL's "email tax" is the first step down a slippery slope that will harm the Internet itself. The Internet is a revolutionary force for free speech, civic organizing, and economic innovation precisely because it is open and accessible to all Internet users equally. On a free and open Internet, small ideas can become big ideas overnight. As Internet advocacy groups, charities, non-profits, businesses, civic organizing groups, and email experts, we ask you to reconsider your pay-to-send proposal and to keep the Internet free.

    A pay-to-send system won't help the fight against spam - in fact, this plan assumes that spam will continue and that mass mailers will be willing to pay to have their emails bypass spam filters. And non-paying spammers will not reduce the amount of mail they throw at your filters simply because others pay to evade them.

    Perversely, the new two-tiered system AOL proposes would actually reward AOL financially for failing to maintain its email service. The chief advantage of paying to send CertifiedEmail is that it can bypass AOL's spam filters. Non-paying customers are being asked to trust that after paid mail goes into effect, AOL will properly maintain its spam filters so only unwanted mail gets thrown away.

    But the economic incentives point the other way: The moment AOL switches to a two-tiered Internet where giant emailers pay for preferential service, AOL will face a simple business choice: spend money to keep regular spam filters up-to-date, or make money by neglecting their spam filters and pushing more senders to pay for guaranteed delivery. Poor delivery of mail turns from being a problem that AOL has every incentive to fix to something that could actually make them money if the company ignores it.

    The bottom-line is that charging an "email tax" actually gives AOL a financial incentive to degrade email for non-paying senders. This would disrupt the communications of millions who cannot afford to pay your fees-including the non-profits, civic organizations, charities, small businesses, and community mailing lists that have arisen for every topic under the sun and that make email so vital to your subscribers.

    And what if other Internet service providers retaliate and start demanding their own ransoms to accept mail from your millions of users? Your company works hard to simplify the Internet. Don't start a surcharge war that will complicate it with tiered services and dozens of middleman fees for every simple act of communication.

    We have always been happy working together with you to fight spam and phishing. We have a common enemy in spammers. We are happy to work together to develop open approaches that attack the problem of spam and phishing. But a pay-to-send "certified" system does not help to fight spam. It only serves to make the Internet less free for everyone. We stand together in asking you to reconsider your decision to use CertifiedEmail.

    Respectfully,

    Over five hundred groups, including our original signers:

    What's This About?
    In February 2006, AOL announced that it would accept payment for incoming emails. For these certified emails, it would skip its usual anti-spam filters and guarantee delivery for cash. Our coalition believes that the free passage of email between Internet users is a vital part of what makes the Internet work. When ISPs demand a cut of "pay-to-send" email, they're raising tollbooths on the open Net, interfering with the passage of data by demanding protection money at the gates of their customers' computers. Read More

    http://www2.dearaol.com/letter

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    540

    Re: STOP AOL’s E-MAIL TAX

    i just sent them a letter against this thing also. if it goes through, i guess i'll have a lot of addresses on my block list...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    canada
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    Re: STOP AOL’s E-MAIL TAX

    Pardon my inexperience - why not simply change your e-mail to another carrier?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    540

    Re: STOP AOL’s E-MAIL TAX

    Quote Originally Posted by linda49
    Pardon my inexperience - why not simply change your e-mail to another carrier?
    well, that could happen. i like aol & have a good rate with them, & i get used to a particular internet service & hate to make a change.....

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    171

    Re: STOP AOL’s E-MAIL TAX

    Explain how this affects you negatively if you have a personal AOL account? All the e-mail that is currently ignored by the spam filters will continue to be ignored and AOL will be able to immediately cut off anyone who purchases the license and sends spam.

    What's the problem here?
    I like stuff.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    2,272

    Re: STOP AOL’s E-MAIL TAX

    This is not an easy issue to sort through. The petition has a link from a reputable site.
    .
    http://www.eff.org/about/
    About EFF
    From the Internet to the iPod, technologies are transforming our society and empowering us as speakers, citizens, creators, and consumers. When our freedoms in the networked world come under attack, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is the first line of defense. EFF broke new ground when it was founded in 1990 — well before the Internet was on most people's radar — and continues to confront cutting-edge issues defending free speech, privacy, innovation, and consumer rights today. From the beginning, EFF has championed the public interest in every critical battle affecting digital rights.

    ianmatthews post seems to downplay the impact this would have. I'm not a lawyer. EFF an org. that takes on these types of legal battles seems to have concerns on the action.

    February 24, 2006
    Strange Bedfellows Unite to Fight AOL's "Email Tax"
    National Conference Call - Tuesday, 1pm EST
    http://www.eff.org/news/archives/2006_02.php

    Read up and decide for yourselves I guess.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    2,272

    Re: STOP AOL’s E-MAIL TAX

    Also at their site.

    AOL, Yahoo and Goodmail: Taxing Your Email for Fun and Profit
    February 08, 2006
    Remember the famous email rumor that made the rounds in the 1990s: "Congress is trying to tax your Internet connection, write in now!"

    Well what wasn't true in the 1990s is apparently coming true in 2006, only the beneficiaries won't be Uncle Sam -- it will be Yahoo, AOL, and a company ironically called Goodmail. Yahoo and AOL have announced that they will guarantee access to your email inbox for email senders who pay $.0025 per message. They will override their own spam filters and webbug-strippers, and deliver the mail directly with a "certified" notice. In the process, they will treat more of your email as spam, and email you're expecting won't be delivered.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    171

    Re: STOP AOL’s E-MAIL TAX

    Everyone, including legit organizations like the EFF, has their own agenda.

    Again, cutting through the rhetoric (and in your own words, not someone else's), explain to me how this negatively effects an AOL mail user.
    I like stuff.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    2,272

    Re: STOP AOL’s E-MAIL TAX

    Quote Originally Posted by icojones
    Everyone, including legit organizations like the EFF, has their own agenda.

    Again, cutting through the rhetoric (and in your own words, not someone else's), explain to me how this negatively effects an AOL mail user.
    Read my post.
    If you did you'll see I have some doubts on this issue.
    I have more to read up on at the moment and will choose a more solid position once I do.
    For the moment I seems to be a worthy topic of debate. It is not totally out of the picture to see that if AOL implements their plan there could be a downside for all of us.

    For the record here is a blog from the site I posted:
    http://www2.dearaol.com/blog
    Strong opinions on both sides.
    Last edited by Phinnly Slash Buster; 03-13-2006 at 05:39 PM.

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