SPAM the Libertarian way!

AOL, Yahoo! to let e-mail senders pay to skirt spam filters

Associated Press Feb. 6, 2006 12:00 AM

SAN FRANCISCO - Two of the world's largest e-mail account providers, Yahoo! Inc. and America Online, plan to introduce a service that would charge senders a fee to route their e-mail directly to a user's mailbox without passing through junk-mail filters, representatives of both companies said Sunday.

The fees, which would range from 1/4 of a cent to 1 cent per e-mail, are the latest attempts by the companies to weed out unsolicited ads, commonly called "spam," and identity-theft scams. In exchange for paying, e-mail senders will be guaranteed their messages won't be filtered and will bear a seal alerting recipients they're legitimate.

AOL, a division of New York-based Time Warner Inc., will start offering the service in the next two months. Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Yahoo! will begin offering a similar service in the coming months.

The plan, while it's optional and would apply to only a fraction of people sending e-mail, amounts to a reversal in the economics of the Internet because it would charge message senders rather than those receiving them. AOL and Yahoo said the program, which is being offered through Goodmail Systems, will target banks, online retailers and other groups that send large amounts of e-mail.

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