The idea of charging postage for e-mail in order to combat spam has been around for several years. The principle is simple: reduce unwanted e-mail messages by sucking some of the profit from their transmission. Spammers worldwide send billions of messages each day, only the smallest percentage of which get a response. Since it costs next to nothing to send an e-mail, spammers profit, despite the low response rate. However, if each e-mail cost ¼ of a cent to send, then the transmission of a billion e-mails would cost 2.5 million dollars, which would sharply reduce spammers’ profits.
Yahoo and AOL are planning to implement such a fee for sending an e-mail. The fee will ensure that the e-mail receives preferential treatment, bypassing the spam filters that these companies employ. There are some concerns that this will create a two-tier Internet, and that the costs to legitimate mass mailers, such as newsletter providers, may be quite high. Yahoo and AOL defend the scheme by comparing it to conventional mail, which already has multiple levels of securing delivery, such as certified mail or courier as well as conventional mail, and argue that e-mail requires a similar system in order to remain a reliable form of communication for businesses and consumers.
For news articles, see:
Summary by: James Kosa