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Are AOL and Yahoo rabid extortionists or just plain stupid?


New Member
Today I met a client for lunch. He runs a ticketing agency in Vienna and complained about confirmation emails not getting through to customers with an AOL or Yahoo email account.

In an article he recently stumbled upon, it refers to: "AOL and Yahoo are planning to begin charging what amounts to postage for those sending multiple email messages to their subscribers." Although they're positioning it as an anti-spam measure, it will have the effect of hampering the distribution of free information by small and non-profit publishers.

It goes on to say: "It's not only mass emailings that would be affected by the system. Order confirmations...that send large amounts of email would be treated as trash under the new system unless the fee was paid."

They use the future tense, whereas my client says that customers are now either complaining about not getting confirmation messages or turning up in Vienna without knowing where to collect them from, thus making his business look inefficient.

Another client recently complained that emails to partners in his weekly lottery are never received now if the email is sent from his commercial account to AOL.

It would be polite, if nothing else, if these two corporations would at least inform businesses about their dodgy business tactics which are already in operation.

What this means is that the quasi-rich guy can send a free email to another quasi-rich guy, but if he wants to communicate with a quasi-poor guy, he has to pay for it. Logical!

My client said that if he posted a letter he would have to pay the post office for its services and hence he didn't mind paying a fraction of that online. But snail mail doesn't have corporate advertising on it for one thing and at least he is asked to pay for the stamp, rather than the mail not being sent, which is what is happening with AOL in particluar.

Many publishers and organisations that send large amounts of legitimate email might now urge their readers to switch to Google or Microsoft email or other services that don't levy a fee on senders. Or we can all set up AOL and Yahoo accounts and send commercial mail from those accounts.

This is possibly one of the most stupid online business plans that has ever been ill-thought-out. Does this means that, for example, a ticketing agency will have to scan their database and inform AOL and Yahoo that they plan to send a confirmation letter to a customer, micro-pay a quarter of a cent to both, before they do the mail-out?

Media Director of V9 Design & Build (, providing both local and outsourcing web and SEO services: we provide both brochureware and custom-designed websites, with tasteful design and branding, professional design and build, proven and successful SEO and e-marketing, e-commerce-driven database integration and content management systems.