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Is AOL Blocking Out Their Opponents’ Email?

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This is really a two-headed story.

First off, it looks like MoveOn.org — along with CNET News — caught AOL blocking its subscribers from sending or receiving email that contained the URL “Dearaol.com.”


Because Dearaol.com is opposing AOL’s imminent adoption of GoodMail’s CertifiedEmail (an anti-spam program) that would require companies to pay to ensure delivery of their e-mail messages and clearance of spam filters. (This is where the two-headed thing comes in.) So, if the organizations and companies don’t pay, then their email may just be put right into the spam folder. Kind of reminds me of the old mafia days and movies where the store owners had to pay for protection, otherwise their businesses may just get broken into and robbed.

Kudos to CNET News who, upon hearing the claims that AOL was blocking email, sent out a test email to an AOL.com address with the URL “Dearaol.com” inside it. Well, the email came back to them with a system administrator note that read “The e-mail system was unable to deliver the message, but did not report a specific reason.” Hmmm…seems a bit fishy to me.

Now back to the second part of the story. Apparently the fee that AOL is planning to charge when it adopts this new CertifiedEmail program (which is being likened to an “e-mail tax”) could end up being pennies per email. That’s quite a sum for organizations that have lots of subscribers and send daily (or even weekly) email newsletters out. I can think of a few companies that I get newsletters from (The Washington Post, Audible.com, Netflix) that apparently would have to start paying if they wanted reliable delivery of their email.

If you head over to Dearaol.com you can sign a petition against AOL’s adoption of this program. Already around 350,000 people and 600 organizations have done so. I recommend that you join in. I find it outrageous that AOL is not only blocking their subscribers’ email (the ones who pay them money!) but are also about to adopt this so-called anti-spam program.

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About Cameron Graham

  • I just signed MoveOn.org’s letter using my AOL account and forwarded it to all my AOL friends.

    Thea reality is that paid e-mail will not stop SPAM. I only know this because I pay around $100 or so at least once a month to send a marketing e-mail to my active buyer’s list, which features more than 5,000 active home and condo buyers who have contacted me previously. I pay a fee and I still do it. If AOL blocks my e-mails, they’re wasting my money and should pay me for each one blocked.

    Commercial e-mail is already paid for the most part, and spammers have not been stopped by it, and I doubt they will be stopped by it, as they typically find a way around everything anyway. Take for example the numerous bots that market to me at least once every house when I am on AOL.

    AOL should not be able to decide who gets what in their AOL inbox. That’s up to the consumer, and that’s the way it should always be. AOL SPAM filters work great. There needn’t be any additional items added to it, and even if there were, bots would still bug me non-stop when I’m online sing AOL. If AOL wants to solve a problem, that’s one they still need to fix. Find a way to charge those bot owners and I’m all for it. Charge me or the recipient of a commercial e-mail they have opted in to receive, and you can lose my business, as I don’t do business with dictators or out of touch companies when they force things down my throat.

    I have used AOL since 1995. If they dictate what kind of e-mail I choose to receive, I’ll join an ISP that allows me to choose my content, rather than dictate it like Communist China dictates what its people can find in Google. This is America, not the America Online Communist Republic, and AOL should recognize that and keep their e-mail service free.

    If AOL does implement this, then everyone should drop their service and move to Earthlink or another ISP that allows consumers to receive the e-mail they choose.