Dear AOL: Practically Everyone Says You Suck

Dear AOL is a website that has been set-up to educate and combat AOL’s recently announced email taxing system. The coalition that put-it together is so diverse it defies belief:,, Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, the United Farm Workers, the Gun Owners Society of America, Friends of the Earth etc. It’s worth visiting if you want to read a cogent rebuttal to AOL’s scummy money-making scheme to degrade the quality of the Internet.

Here’s an interesting passage from the site:

Perversely, the new two-tiered system AOL proposes would actually reward AOL financially for failing to maintain its email service. The chief advantage of paying to send CertifiedEmail is that it can bypass AOL’s spam filters. Non-paying customers are being asked to trust that after paid mail goes into effect, AOL will properly maintain its spam filters so only unwanted mail gets thrown away.

Is that really perverse though? Really, it’s just business as usual — board-room meetings where sausages-in-suits sit around contemplating how to change the parameters on a responsibility (consequently, in their minds, a business weakness) into an asset. In this case, AOL’s boardroom execs are looking for strategies to both fuck-off on their spam filters and make money for their laziness, in which case (if their customers don’t completely revolt over the prospect of an email tax) this is a win-win solution.


Edit Your Comment

  1. AcidReign says:

    …..I’m an AOL customer, and I’m bracing for a flood of spam due to this email tax. I find it hard to believe any company would pay it unless it’s to deliver sales junk. (Which is what it is SUPPOSED to combat.) The AOL spam filter is notorious for throwing away good mail, like receipts, which is why I, like many users, turn the damned thing off.

    …..No, the 419ers, the penis pill people, the pump ‘n’ dump stock swindlers, and the sexy web cam folk probably won’t be allowed, but I’ll bet the new spam will be from companies like Capital One, who’ll no longer have to send me a big manilla envelope-sized credit card offer twice a week via snail mail.

  2. CTSLICK says:

    It a tacit admission from AOL that their filters don’t work that well but some genius actually figured out a way to bury that fact AND make money while doing it. Brilliant in theory.

  3. Anabelle says:

    You mean…. people still use AOL?

    (insert “The Scream” icon here)

  4. Papercutninja says:

    Uh…how come GMail filters are so good? Oh yeah….because Google is in the 21st century, and AOL still thinks it’s 1998. My only problem is AOL setting a precedent for these shenanigans.


  5. GenXCub says:

    AOL is going for another increase of their monthly to $25.95 (still the same $14.99 for BYOAccess). They could turn this WAY around and make it opt-in for their customers. Those who opt-in would actually get X off their bill, and it would be a marketing success… kinda like the old NetZero and Juno… free, but with ads.

  6. bifyu says:

    There has been a lot of misinformation being bandied about regarding this latest so called “email tax” — not the least of which by MoveOn (who irrespective of their politics has terrible email practices) and the EFF (who despite many admirable actions gets it wrong pretty consistently when it comes to spam, imo).

    Here are two sites which attpemt to inject a little fact into the matter:

  7. SecureLocation says:

    But I really do want a bigger penis

  8. CTSLICK says:

    bifyu: How dare you inject fact into my frothing at the mouth rolling about tantrun ;) I guess I can see what they are aiming for but I stand by my comment. They can’t make their current spam filtering work any better but they figured out a way to make money at it.

  9. SamC says:

    bifyu, i looked at those pages, but we’re on a slippery slope here. They now have a white list based on cash money. Eventually, the only way to get past the filter will be to be on that white list.

    I would be more amenible with this proposal if I got part of the proceeds. For a few cents per email, I’d be willing to upgrade those paid ads from the ‘spam junk’ folder to ‘premium spam’ folder.

    Seriously, show me the money.

  10. Ben Popken says:

    SamC: The white list is not based on cash money. All you have to do is apply for it and answer the questions correctly i.e. lie.

  11. AcidReign says:

    …..If you call AOL up every six months and threaten to cancel, they’ll give you six months of $9.95 BYOA access, which is what I do periodically. The AOL community stuff is what makes it valuable to me. We consume a lot of their content.

    …..On the other hand, if AOL stops allowing my friends to email me without paying a tax, I’ll switch to my Bellsouth email, which currently only gets spam from Bellsouth.