Start Buying Stamps to Send Commercial Mail to Yahoo and AOL users
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. They also stand to earn millions of dollars a year from the system if it is widely adopted.
You can read the details of the story here. While the two portals say this is to help them deal with the overwhelming problem of spam, it seems to me it’s a tax for those of us that stay white listed. The good guys are paying for spammer behaving badly once again.
I also bet this will change the economics of retention email for retailers since to send out one million emails to people with AOL or Yahoo email addresses will cost $2500. While I still think this will be the most cost effective channel for retailers, this move will clearly add costs.
The story also points out this move changes the economics of email on the Internet:
In a broader sense, the move to create what is essentially a preferred class of e-mail is a major change in the economics of the Internet. Until now, senders and recipients of e-mail – and, for that matter, Web pages and other information – each covered their own costs of using the network, with no money changing hands. That model is different from, say, the telephone system, in which the company whose customer places a call pays a fee to the company whose customer receives it.
This just makes you wonder how the status quo might change.
As a final note, as consumer I’m actually rather upset. I want emails that I’ve opted into receive. Being true to my gender, I wait for those JCrew final sale emails. Since one needs to be fast to get the best deals from these emails, if JCrew decides not to pay Yahoo (my personal email provider that I pay for premium service), I might miss the sale. Now I wonder if I should send those emails to my gmail account. Wonder how Yahoo feels about losing those ad dollars from the banners served in the mail interface?