A motley crew comprising civic and political groups has begun what it hopes will turn into a protest movement against AOL's plan to charge marketers for some email - rather, to ensure bulk email delivery into inboxes (rather than junk folders) in return for a fee. Red Herring reports that nearly 50 groups - ranging from the National Humane Society to the Gun Owners of America - have set up a web site, www.dearaol.com, which declares, "Stop AOL's Email Tax." An online petition on the site demands that AOL keep email free for all.
Groups such as MoveOn.org Civic Action, the Democratic National Committee, the Association of Cancer Online Resources, and RightMarch.com via the petition ask AOL not to provide "preferential access" to corporate emailers, leaving individuals members to wonder whether "their emails are being delivered at all."
AOL spokesperson Nicholas Graham was undeterred: "We will go ahead with the implementation in the next 30 days. Mark it on your calendars. These are organizations that exist to protest and perform political fundraising online, and they've selected the wrong target in AOL."
Both AOL and Yahoo partnered last year with Goodmail Systems; it markets CertifiedEmail, which ostensibly assures that emails are from a trusted sender.