In a bid to prevent spammers, AOL and Yahoo! have firmed up plans to charge for delivering email messages within the next few months.
The two Internet service providers plan to charge up to one cent per message to those who opt for this service and provide them prioritised delivery. Those opting for the pay service can avoid having their messages go through spam filters and are guaranteed to arrive, bearing a stamp of authenticity. The service is intended to tackle spam by making it expensive to send messages. Currently email messages can be sent for free enabling spammers to make money even from a low response rate.
The optional service is meant for organisations who have a high number of outgoing mails and do not want their messages to be mistaken for spam. Under the plan, senders of paid email will be charged fees ranging from one-quarter of a cent up to one cent to get messages through to AOL and Yahoo! users.
These bulk senders can buy the electronic equivalent of a postage stamp if they want to be certain that their e-mail will be delivered to many of their customers. However, they must agree to send their mails only to those who have agreed to receive their messages, or risk being blocked entirely.
In return for the fee, the subscribers to the email services of these two ISPs will not send the messages through spam traps and filters that typically strip out all images and weblinks in an e-mail.
Internet businesses take these steps to shield people from pictorial pornographic intrusions; to remove specially crafted images that report back to spammers that an e-mail address is live; and to take out booby-trapped weblinks that take people to phishing websites.
AOL and Yahoo! have signed up with Goodmail Systems, to run the service on their behalf.