AOL pay-for-email battle hitting high notes

The fight against AOL’s Goodmail implementation is hitting a crescendo, with more groups joining the MoveOn.org fight (a total 15MM aggregate members, at someone’s count).

I don’t have a problem with any of these groups, but I do have a problem with this statement:

“This is a big step in the direction of a locked-down Internet,” says Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn, an advocacy group that sends 3 million to 10 million messages per week. “If this had been around a few years ago, MoveOn would never have existed.”

So what you are saying, Eli, is you grew on the backs of others, but even though those backs (and those of their paying subscribers) are breaking under the strain of spammers, phishers, and other lethal elements transported via email, you still demand a free ride?

Nice. Let AOL bear the full burden of cost to shut down operations like this, while you go about your merry way.

Sorry, but that is not how the world works. Wake up, adapt to the changing conditions, or maybe, just move on.

There is a bottom line to all this – email is dying, particularly as a mass medium. Instead of heading down a “slippery slope” what we are heading into is a whitelisted world. Like the phone banks before it (decimated by the do-not-call registry), email is quickly becoming an ineffective means to gather support from the unaffiliated.

I suggest everyone start thinking long and hard about technologies like RSS, that is unless they are hell bent on resisting inevitable change.

***UPDATE***

Here is the movement’s open letter to AOL. Be forewarned – there is an awful lot of “spin” there.

***UPDATE 2***

My colleagues at EmailBattles say sign the letter. I side with the first comment in that post, but it is obvious by the growth in the protest that the campaign has too much steam.

Too bad.

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