March 3, 2006 10:26 AM PST

AOL to pay e-mail tab for nonprofits

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America Online intends to pick up the costs for nonprofit groups that wish to send e-mails to AOL members, a move that comes less than a week after a consortium spoke out against the company's plan to charge for a new bulk e-mail service.

Dulles, Va.-based AOL said Friday that it will offer nonprofit organizations two new free e-mail options that possess many of the features, including images and Web links, of the company's premium service designed for commercial mass e-mail.

On Monday, a consortium of nonprofit and public interest groups, including MoveOn.org Civic Action, the AFL-CIO, Gun Owners of America and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, lashed out at the plan by AOL and Yahoo to charge a fee for guaranteed delivery of bulk e-mails.

Some opponents called the fee-based service an e-mail tax, while others said it would effectively silence less affluent organizations that can't afford to pay AOL's fees. AOL argues that the rise of phishing schemes and spam requires the company to create a certified e-mail so customers can tell good e-mail from bad.

Nicholas Graham, an AOL spokesman, said that though opponents were successful only in whipping up confusion, the new free services for nonprofits came in response to criticism.

"We want to make it crystal clear for not-for-profits as well as not-for-profit advocacy groups that they will have multiple avenues of having e-mail delivered," Graham said.

The first new free service, AOL's Enhanced White List, is for nonprofit organizations that meet the company's antispam and e-mail requirements. Messages will be handled and delivered in a way nearly identical to the company's fee-based certified mail.

Unlike certified e-mail, messages sent via the Enhanced White List will not be marked as "certified" and will be delivered for free. AOL will charge commercial companies up to a penny per e-mail for certified e-mail.

The second offering will allow nonprofits to use a third-party e-mail accreditation service to authenticate their messages. Such services charge a flat, nonrecurring fee, and AOL has pledged to pay those fees.

AOL is in talks with several accreditation providers and said it expects to complete tests of the new service within 30 days. This second offering should be ready for the public within three months, the company said.

Cindy Cohn, legal director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, commended AOL's move, calling it a good first step. But she worried about how AOL would determine which companies were nonprofits. She feared that AOL would recognize only those companies actually registered with the government as a nonprofit.

"A lot of people we want to protect are not registered," Cohn said. "Under this kind of plan, it would leave a whole lot of people, who run big and valuable mailing lists, out in the cold."

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24 comments

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Bribes...
Good job AOL. If you can't sell the policy on its merits, just bribe the people who are challenging you.

Now all the spammers just need to come together and form and advocacy group and they can get past the toll taker as well.
Posted by joecm (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SpeakEasy - philanthropic
A theatre group I volunteer with ReAct - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.reacttheare.org" target="_newWindow">http://www.reacttheare.org</a> 's is a beneficiary of Speak Easy - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.speakeasy.net/" target="_newWindow">http://www.speakeasy.net/</a> who provides commercial quality service to our organization. I think good philanthropy is built in to the company's culture and big stories don't have to be made of these quiet bits of giving success.

Speak Easy's been offering this service to ReAct since 1997, and no large press releases were sent about their giving efforts.

--Marilee Veniegas
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.iwantmyess.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.iwantmyess.com</a>
Posted by marileev (292 comments )
Link Flag
Agreed
Agreed. What about small business. Thanks AOL for crushing the small business.
Posted by canadaboy (14 comments )
Link Flag
Bribes...
Good job AOL. If you can't sell the policy on its merits, just bribe the people who are challenging you.

Now all the spammers just need to come together and form and advocacy group and they can get past the toll taker as well.
Posted by joecm (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
SpeakEasy - philanthropic
A theatre group I volunteer with ReAct - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.reacttheare.org" target="_newWindow">http://www.reacttheare.org</a> 's is a beneficiary of Speak Easy - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.speakeasy.net/" target="_newWindow">http://www.speakeasy.net/</a> who provides commercial quality service to our organization. I think good philanthropy is built in to the company's culture and big stories don't have to be made of these quiet bits of giving success.

Speak Easy's been offering this service to ReAct since 1997, and no large press releases were sent about their giving efforts.

--Marilee Veniegas
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.iwantmyess.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.iwantmyess.com</a>
Posted by marileev (292 comments )
Link Flag
Agreed
Agreed. What about small business. Thanks AOL for crushing the small business.
Posted by canadaboy (14 comments )
Link Flag
Another Failure for AOL
Since their merger with Warner Bros, AOL has gnashed its teeth on the fat of Old World Money without the responsibility to protect it with a fair and rational sensibility.

This is just another notch in that belt. What they see as a leg up will logically go one of two ways:

1) A greater exedus from AOL due to sensorship, the inability to get the email you want and the flood of PAID emails coming in.

2) This will amount to absolutely nothing at all except slightly more spam from companies who are willing to pay for the emails, yet not willing to engage the public into requesting information.


People who sign up for mailing lists, especially grass root efforts, social distractions and small businessess are going to EXPECT to get those emails. If AOL starts blocking them without payment, why keep AOL? And if people are asking you to send them mail, why pay?

The only people willing to pay are the people who are already playing the "Cost per impression" game. . . spammers.

AOL and Spammers. . . a match made in heaven.
Posted by wysiwyg22 (41 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL's e-mail scheme
Guess all they are hearing is kaching - and not the exodus of fed up users with another form of censorship.
Posted by Prism (2 comments )
Link Flag
Another Failure for AOL
Since their merger with Warner Bros, AOL has gnashed its teeth on the fat of Old World Money without the responsibility to protect it with a fair and rational sensibility.

This is just another notch in that belt. What they see as a leg up will logically go one of two ways:

1) A greater exedus from AOL due to sensorship, the inability to get the email you want and the flood of PAID emails coming in.

2) This will amount to absolutely nothing at all except slightly more spam from companies who are willing to pay for the emails, yet not willing to engage the public into requesting information.


People who sign up for mailing lists, especially grass root efforts, social distractions and small businessess are going to EXPECT to get those emails. If AOL starts blocking them without payment, why keep AOL? And if people are asking you to send them mail, why pay?

The only people willing to pay are the people who are already playing the "Cost per impression" game. . . spammers.

AOL and Spammers. . . a match made in heaven.
Posted by wysiwyg22 (41 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL's e-mail scheme
Guess all they are hearing is kaching - and not the exodus of fed up users with another form of censorship.
Posted by Prism (2 comments )
Link Flag
One of the most Clueless Companies of All Time
&lt;eom&gt;
Posted by anarchyreigns (299 comments )
Reply Link Flag
One of the most Clueless Companies of All Time
&lt;eom&gt;
Posted by anarchyreigns (299 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Why not pay for me?
Hey, AOL?
Please pay for me too. I'm a non-profit, or at least not as profitable as I'd like.
What are you thinking? THe whole point should be to reduce/restrict Mass Marketing Email (AKA Spam). And yet, here you are AOL, encouraging more of the same. Nonprofits already get substantial tax deductions, and tons of benefits. They shouldn't get more through AOL using my money to subsidize them. Have you no guts, AOL? Can't you see your way clear, just once, to being strong about something that makes sense and not bowing to the pressure from the first whiner to come along? What's next, maybe retirees get a price break? Why not the disabled? I can think of lots of individuals that deserve a break.
The point is that AOL and other ISPs should be allowing their subscribers 2,000-33,000 free emails per month (that would cover 98% of email useage) and charging one cent, one cent for God's sake! for Emails over the limit. That would stop overnight all the Mass Marketing Email (AKA Spam) from commercial Emailers and others because they would now have to actually "research" an Email list to see if the subscriber profile fit their product or service. And you can forget the "trolling" process that Mass MArketing Emailers (AKA Spammers) use to garner names for future emailing. It just wouldn't pay them to do it, they'd be out of business in a week.
So, AOL, please rethink your gutless approach to the marketplace, and do the right thing!

Diogenes
Posted by bdennis410 (175 comments )
Reply Link Flag
501(c)(3) 's email responsibly
Non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations like ReAct Theatre <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.reacttheatre.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.reacttheatre.org/</a> who I volunteer with have a rough time rallying for funds from year to year. Locally in Seattle our theatre efforts support local organizations like the LifeLong Aids Alliance, Woodland Park Zoo, etc. We still have rent to make for our productions and administrative costs - which for other 501(c)(3) includes things like paper, new props, and ISP fees.

We're happy that our local ISP Speak Easy - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.speakeasy.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.speakeasy.net</a> provides commercial quality service to us (and other non-profits) without tooting their horns via large press releases.

As far as SPAMs from 501(c)(3) notices from ReAct go to opt-in individuals who signed up at our shows or via our webform. We communicate show updates and fundraising efforts. I'd rather these updates than Cialis, Viagra or Ink-jet cartridges.

--Marilee Veniegas
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.iwantmyess.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.iwantmyess.com</a>
Posted by marileev (292 comments )
Link Flag
Why not pay for me?
Hey, AOL?
Please pay for me too. I'm a non-profit, or at least not as profitable as I'd like.
What are you thinking? THe whole point should be to reduce/restrict Mass Marketing Email (AKA Spam). And yet, here you are AOL, encouraging more of the same. Nonprofits already get substantial tax deductions, and tons of benefits. They shouldn't get more through AOL using my money to subsidize them. Have you no guts, AOL? Can't you see your way clear, just once, to being strong about something that makes sense and not bowing to the pressure from the first whiner to come along? What's next, maybe retirees get a price break? Why not the disabled? I can think of lots of individuals that deserve a break.
The point is that AOL and other ISPs should be allowing their subscribers 2,000-33,000 free emails per month (that would cover 98% of email useage) and charging one cent, one cent for God's sake! for Emails over the limit. That would stop overnight all the Mass Marketing Email (AKA Spam) from commercial Emailers and others because they would now have to actually "research" an Email list to see if the subscriber profile fit their product or service. And you can forget the "trolling" process that Mass MArketing Emailers (AKA Spammers) use to garner names for future emailing. It just wouldn't pay them to do it, they'd be out of business in a week.
So, AOL, please rethink your gutless approach to the marketplace, and do the right thing!

Diogenes
Posted by bdennis410 (175 comments )
Reply Link Flag
501(c)(3) 's email responsibly
Non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations like ReAct Theatre <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.reacttheatre.org/" target="_newWindow">http://www.reacttheatre.org/</a> who I volunteer with have a rough time rallying for funds from year to year. Locally in Seattle our theatre efforts support local organizations like the LifeLong Aids Alliance, Woodland Park Zoo, etc. We still have rent to make for our productions and administrative costs - which for other 501(c)(3) includes things like paper, new props, and ISP fees.

We're happy that our local ISP Speak Easy - <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.speakeasy.net" target="_newWindow">http://www.speakeasy.net</a> provides commercial quality service to us (and other non-profits) without tooting their horns via large press releases.

As far as SPAMs from 501(c)(3) notices from ReAct go to opt-in individuals who signed up at our shows or via our webform. We communicate show updates and fundraising efforts. I'd rather these updates than Cialis, Viagra or Ink-jet cartridges.

--Marilee Veniegas
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.iwantmyess.com" target="_newWindow">http://www.iwantmyess.com</a>
Posted by marileev (292 comments )
Link Flag
AOL fees
I have 300 + names in my address book. Less than 1% have AOL accounts. I can do without sending mail to these addresses until they make other arrangements
Posted by fhowden (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL fees
I have 300 + names in my address book. Less than 1% have AOL accounts. I can do without sending mail to these addresses until they make other arrangements
Posted by fhowden (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL
The point is that AOL and other ISPs should be allowing their subscribers 2,000-33,000 free emails per month (that would cover 98% of email useage) and charging one cent, one cent for God's sake! for Emails over the limit.

Mihai
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://newstalk.media-press-release.com/" target="_newWindow">http://newstalk.media-press-release.com/</a>
Posted by ipfresh (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
AOL
The point is that AOL and other ISPs should be allowing their subscribers 2,000-33,000 free emails per month (that would cover 98% of email useage) and charging one cent, one cent for God's sake! for Emails over the limit.

Mihai
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://newstalk.media-press-release.com/" target="_newWindow">http://newstalk.media-press-release.com/</a>
Posted by ipfresh (13 comments )
Reply Link Flag
From a Non-profit
There are legitimate mass e-mailer's like us at &lt;a href="http://www.apologeticspress.org&gt;ApologeticsPress.org</a>. We ONLY send to individuals who make a point to sign up for our mailings by making them reply to an e-mail saying that they really did want to sign up for newsletters. Do those individuals want AOL to block our e-mails? No, they want to stay informed. However, AOL Yahoo and others need to find a way to make certain that standards are kept by all mass mailers. So that those who don't want e-mails are not on their lists and have a legitimate way of removing themselves from those lists when they decide to do so.
Posted by kermitgrn (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
From a Non-profit
There are legitimate mass e-mailer's like us at &lt;a href="http://www.apologeticspress.org&gt;ApologeticsPress.org</a>. We ONLY send to individuals who make a point to sign up for our mailings by making them reply to an e-mail saying that they really did want to sign up for newsletters. Do those individuals want AOL to block our e-mails? No, they want to stay informed. However, AOL Yahoo and others need to find a way to make certain that standards are kept by all mass mailers. So that those who don't want e-mails are not on their lists and have a legitimate way of removing themselves from those lists when they decide to do so.
Posted by kermitgrn (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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