EFF: AOL, Yahoo and Goodmail: Taxing Your Email for Fun and Profit

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.

And as the article states,

Spam is a real problem demanding real solutions, but taxing the Internet, even if the tax is “voluntary” and even if the money goes to ISPs, isn’t one of them. The best solution is to put more power in the hands of users to control spam filters and a robust market in those filters. Allowing ISPs to auction off access to email boxes and ransom free speech solves nothing.

EFF is working on an extended and more technical description of the problems with Goodmail, but this is a bad idea we think should be nipped in the bud. We urge AOL and Yahoo subscribers and those who communicate with them, to tell them that taxing email is not the right way to go.

I have had trouble at times getting to friends, family and clients who are on AOL from my email address at my jim-fran.com domain, all because of my free newsletter site (free, and subscription based) for days at a time, with no relief by talking to the “AOL Postmaster” who says it would just time out in time.

This problem eventually led to my no longer sending out email notifications about the newsletter despite the fact that the subscribers wanted them. They would simply not arrive at their destination if any of them were AOL subscribers, along with my own personal emails sent to any friends, family or local clients, if sent from my domain email address.

And now this!

I have signed the petition at Dear AOL. I hope you will take a minute and read over the links and do the same.

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