The End of the Free Internet?

July 2006
by Reid Goldsborough

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A key reason the Internet has
succeeded as it has is that it’s largely free, aside from the costs of getting
onto it. But its success has been accompanied by more and more efforts to capitalize
on it, from both private enterprise and the government. More changes loom
ahead.

 

Protesting Pay-to-Send
Schemes

 

One of the biggest online players,
America Online, recently made the controversial move of giving preferential
treatment to large emailers if they pay a fee to bypass its spam filters
through Goodmail Systems’ CertifiedEmail service (www.goodmailsystems.com).

 

This has people in an uproar.

 

One concern is that AOL’s move
will increase junk email, already a huge time-wasting, productivity-sapping
problem. Another concern is that AOL is creating an unfair two-tier email
system, with large companies able to pay to bypass AOL’s malfunctioning spam
filters, while small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and individuals are
unable to reach many intended recipients. And a third concern is that if AOL
succeeds with its project, everybody will eventually have to pay to be assured
of fast and reliable email.

 

In response, hundreds of small
businesses and nonprofit organizations have teamed together to create the
DearAOL.com Coalition (www.dearaol.com),
applying pres…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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