Tag: AOL

Getting logical on AOL pay-for-mail

This, from a commenter at Slashdot’s AOL Won’t Budge on Email Tax:

If an AOL user has you in their whitelist, you bypass all spam filters. No fees, no forms to fill out, no feedback loop to maintain, nothing. So all these charities just need to tell their users to put them in their whitelist before signing up for mailing lists or whatever. Lots of sites do this already, because they are aware of spam filters.

Haven’t found this tidbit in any of the flaming rhetoric floating around to date (and I frankly can’t verify AOL functionality because I am not with them), but it has been discussed before – personal whitelists.

AOL insider speaks out on Goodmail

Carl Hutzler gives some serious information on the whole AOL/Goodmail issue. In depth, and a heck of a lot better that AOL has dispensed to date (link compliments of the Happy Software Prole).

More “straight from the horses mouth” that AOL, Goodmail, or the DearAOL campaign, and certainly heads above my crap. Thanks Carl.

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.

AOL finding uphappy median on spam

Email Battles notes that AOL lingered and malingered regarding email authentication, eventually pushing Yahoo!’s DomainKeys aside for the email postage concept that is causing such a ruckus. Or instead of ruckus, maybe we should call it whining.

MoveOn.org, a political group with a contact list 3,000,000 strong, is now pissing and moaning about AOL’s move, saying there is a growing list of not-for-profits like them that can’t afford that postage.

I say tough luck, to both sides.

If AOL choses to move their business by bucking the standards trend, that is their choice. Their customers have a choice too. Miss your favorite newsletter, point that subscription to a different address. Its that simple. By the same token, MoveOn should not expect preferential treatment, just because they have 501 status. Nor should any others in that bucket. Tell your members to change their address. Its that simple.

Simple, unless someone is thinking AOL’s move is somehow part of some vast conspiracy to shut down political action groups. If I heard that story, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

The internet gave small organizations a competitive edge, turning little guys into big guys. As a result of spam, phishing and other problems, the transport and delivery providers (the ones those once little guys rode on the backs of) have to make changes. Whether those changes are smart, or not, everyone has to adapt. Whining isn’t going to help anyone.

Widespread panic about to ensue over email “postage”

postage.jpgAOL (and Yahoo) are about to implement Goodmail sender payment systems into their email, and it has already been noted that individuals have little to fear – the process is for bulk mailers. Invariably, there will be a few delivery problems, but the onus will be on Goodmail and their clients to figure this out. Or, users will simply go to another provider.

Unfortunately, the news will probably cause more problems than the system, as people will misinterpret it as a hit on them. Why do I think this? Because the news is traveling fast – I get this, this, this, this, this, and this in my “inbox” on SuperBowl Sunday.

A Cure For AOL Rejection

Its easy, just shut up about it already. There has been a lot of chatter about AOL dropping its whitelist in favor of Goodmail certification, mostly from people who don’t understand how it is going to affect them.

For most, it isn’t. The whitelist, and the new program, are for bulk or “high volume” mailers. If you have a web service that requires signup and email confirmation, you may have a problem and you may wind up paying. Of course, you could just require your subscribers to use an address other that AOL.

For the individual, you will still be able to send email to your great-great-great-great grandmother.

SpamCop fills the paddy-wagon

And again, its GMail users in the shackles. SpamCop recently added several Gmail servers to its blacklist. The reason: some spam came from those servers, and Google doesn’t pass the originating IP address of the email user. They prefer instead to push their own IP in place of the standard “X-Originating-IP” header line delivered from competing webmail providers, so SpamCop added the whole server(s).

I am not sure what Google’s beef over privacy is here, but it makes little sense to me.

Prime-time security

I click on the tube (an infrequent action) and catch an ad from AOL. It is a pitch for AOL’s security offering, and it got me thinking. If the Walmart shoppers buying those cheap laptops go home and sign up for AOL, things might not be so bad after all.

The AOL service is providing anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam measures, as well as firewall software. Bundling security products may be the wave of the future, but I’m glad I don’t watch much TV.

Email certification gets money and power

Goodmail Systems, developers of an email certification platform, recently inked a deal for $8 million from Doll Capital Management and Emergence Capital Partners. The Company has brought in two new board members from the VCs as well.

On blogging: Proven wrong again

I once said that blogging is no venture. It seems I have been proven wrong once again, as AOL bought Weblogs, Inc. for a purported $25 million. Granted, Weblogs, Inc. is a bit more than just blogging – it is a network of blogs that drives ad revenue. I won’t back down – I was wrong….maybe.

Note that AOL may have paid a “bubble” price considering all the hype around blogging. The network drew in ad revenue that was supposedly in the tens of thousands of dollars per month. And then there are all the underpaid bloggers that made the Weblogs, Inc. network churn out the content in the first place. Will they continue on their $500 per month track? I doubt it. A more likely scenario is they extort bigger bucks from AOL or just set off on their own.

So, you have an asset churning minor cash flow, using an un-naturally low cost infrastructure that builds all your value, and has legs with which to walk out the door. This thing will no doubt need some work to justify the price.

Congrats to Jason Calcanis and Co. – to AOL, well good luck!