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Email ransom – AOL turnaround

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Wednesday February 8, 2006 )

Wow; things change quickly in this industry. Yesterday I reported on AOL’s apparent decision to attempt to force companies to pay for assured email delivery, i.e. a “pay for play” strategy allowing marketing and other commercial communications to bypass their filters. My prediction was that if the service was introduced, it was conceivable that filters would have been tightened to such a degree that increasing amounts of legitimate marketing communications may wind up in AOL users spam folder or blocked altogether.

According to an article on MediaPost and several other sources published since that time, AOL has done somewhat of an about face in relation to the GreedMail, oops, I mean GoodMail Certified Email program.

AOL stated that the purported June 2006 phase-out date for their enhanced whitelist was in relation to a draft proposal; it wasn’t official policy. Supposedly, the GoodMail certification system will still be used, but as an option for marketers; their current whitelisting mechanisms will stay in place.

Whatever; it’s good news… for the time being. I read of one company stating that if AOL had gone ahead with the service, for them to use the GoodMail certified email could have cost a quarter of a million dollars a month.

I do wonder how long before either AOL or one of the other ISP heavyweights takes another crack at introducing it in a similarly confrontational way, and if successful, the almost inevitable snowball effect as other ISP’s scramble to make some extra bucks.

My advice remains the same – start investigating the possibility of using RSS (Really Simple Syndication); not as a replacement for email marketing but as a complementary marketing/client communications strategy.

Read the MediaPost article


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