ISPs Start Charging For E-Mail

In a move that was imminent given the rise in unsolicited commercial e-mails, some internet service providers have begun to start charging for the privilege of sending e-mail.

Internet service providers Comcast, Cox Communications, Road Runner and AOL will now charge legitimate mass-mailers, such as banks, inestment firms and retailers, for the privilege of delivering their legitimate e-mail messages to the ISPs’ respective subscribers. Employing a system known as CertifiedEmail, a company can pay $.0025 per message to bypass ISP spam filters and guarantee that the message will be received by the recipient.

The system is designed for e-mailers such as banks, large retailers and others that may find the fee worth the result of greater deliverability of e-mail to customers. Non-profit groups can receive the service for about 10% of the cost of the commercial version. The ISPs receive a portion of the proceeds collected as a resut of the service.

No one will be prevented from e-mailing users of the participating ISPs, whether for commercial or personal reasons, but mailers that do not use the system “mail at their own risk” that the message will not be delivered to one of the participating ISPs subscribers.

Bottom Line: The meteoric rise of spam, phishing schemes and other cyberthieves ensured that the economics of free e-mail would one day lead to this unfortunate result. Legitimate companies employing e-mail communications have virtually no choice but to employ pay-systems to ensure that their customers can separate the wheat from the chaff in their inboxes.

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