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Sunday, February 05, 2006
Tip of the E-Iceberg?

The New York Times is reporting that America Online and Yahoo will begin giving preferential treatment to the email messages of companies that pay 1/4 cent per message sent. (Hansell, "Postage Is Due for Companies Sending E-Mail," NY Times, 02/05/06). The preferential treatment includes being delivered straight to the recipient's Inbox, without having to pass through the gauntlet of spam filters that often divert legitimate messages.

The Internet was founded on a neutrality principle -- every packet of data treated identically and able to be read by any other system on the network. As the Net becomes bigger and bigger business, this principle has been harder to realize.

Are we heading towards an Internet where paid-for emails arrive instantaneously, but free emails take a few hours? Where you can only send attachments if you pay a small fee? Where certain individuals can pay to have their information/data routed more quickly? This certainly would violate the original spirit of the Internet, but in a world filled with spam, viruses, and truly, a great deal of junk on the web, is creating some form of market such a bad idea?


Yes, it's a horrible idea to make people pay to use email. The post office is reeling from less and less mail sent, since we have email now.

I think we will see something like a "pay for XXXX" coming down the pipes in the next few years, where companies will *try* to make us pay for every email sent, or every megabyte downloaded (or perhaps every blog post posted???) but I personally think it's a horrible idea.


Anonymous Stephen -- 2/06/2006 7:28 AM  

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