I'm a fighter, not a lover.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Stamps for email?

Nothing like stealing from Seth Godin's blog...

Anyway, at least one reader of this page will find this interesting. And that's in addition to me! After all, I do work for an email/interactive agency.

Essentially, Yahoo and AOL will start charging "postage" as a means of eliminating SPAM and confirming the identity of bulk mail senders.

Paying senders will be assured that their messages will be delivered to AOL users' main in-boxes and marked as "AOL Certified E-Mail." Unpaid messages will be subject to AOL's spam-filtering process, which diverts suspicious messages to a special spam folder. Most of these messages will also not be displayed with their original images and links. In other words, AOL stands to make a lot of dollars.

Read about it here.


Blogger Sara Z. said...

I don't see it so much as a means of eliminating spam as enabling spam. They are basically saying, "If you pay us, we'll let your spam through." And the consumer gets a box full of crap that had heretofore been blocked or filtered. We are all going to see MORE spam because of this. Boo.

1:19 PM

Blogger DMo said...

Not really, actually. Don't get me wrong... AOL and Yahoo! may be trying to portray themselves as noble here (and in some user's eyes, they may come across that way), but both companies stand to make a LOT of money from this idea.

In theory, you'll get less SPAM, because the idea is that in buying these "stamps", a company identifies itself. True SPAM is anonynmous. In other words, a lot of what you might consider SPAM is in fact legit.

Some of the initial concerns are that legitimate, permission-based emails, and potentially some personal email, will have a much lower open rate. Also, this could prove to be a very cost-prohibitive means of communication for non-profits and small businesses, when cost is (was) the real benefit of email to begin with.

Look for a BIG push in permission-based marketing messages via RSS feeds.

2:21 PM

Blogger Sara Z. said...

I have no doubt they're going to make an assload of cash. I just don't think it's wonderful news for the average consumer who already employs some sort of spam-filtering software, or, as you say, small to mid-sized businesses and non-profits.

OTOH, I may not know what the freak (I know you've missed that phrase since leaving UT) I'm talking about.

5:21 PM

Blogger J said...

it is important to note that AOL is still keeping their whitelist... so this does not mean that a email marketer has to buy a stamp to get their email through-- it just ensures that it will, although it will be "stamped" as such.

That said... Godin did a nice job explaining why the cost really shouldn't be a big deal to email marketers and should probably be embraced:

I say that the right metric isn't how much it costs to send a mail. It's how much sending a mail is worth! In other words, if an industry-wide .25 cent stamp eliminates spam, it's likely to double or triple the response rate to permission mail. A boon! If you send me 100 emails with stamps, and I read them all, you've spent a quarter. If you can't cost-justify that, you shouldn't be writing to me. If I were an email permission marketer, I'd love this... the same way the DMA should have embraced the do not call list.

8:16 AM

Blogger DMo said...

Good point, James (and Seth), but it's worth pointing out that it's ALREADY difficult staying on the AOL whitelist -- especially for smaller businesses and non-profits.

Generally, smaller organizations are forced to go with a (mediocre?) third-party vendor for email delivery. Often times, those vendors may already be on a blacklist, so that even if said organization is mailing for thr first time to its own list... no delivery.

10:12 AM

Blogger J said...

another interesting point is that we are lucky that email isn't "taxed" or "stamped" like snail mail.

some interesting points from Jason Calcanis:


11:53 AM


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