Marketing Momentum

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Email Postage: AOL & Yahoo

With AOL and Yahoo! partnering with Goodmail, and recently announcing its a per-message fee for commercial e-mail senders to gain certain privileges, it's no surprise that AOL had received much backlash from email senders and other stakeholders on phasing out it's Enhanced Whitelist.

AOL's CertifiedEmail service would require emailers to pay for the automatic display of images and hyperlinks - privileges that had previously been available for free to senders who earned placement on AOL's Enhanced Whitelist for good sending behavior, and who maintained very low complaint rates.

Matt Blumber, Return Path's CEO told ClickZ, "It seems unfair to mailers who have permission relationships with their recipients, have maintained low complaint rates, and have earned their way onto a whitelist. The big issue is the lack of an unpaid way to get those privileges. If Goodmail is a better solution, the market will decide, but the senders who already do everything right shouldn't be punished."

Instead of phasing out the Enhanced Whitelist in favor of the new CertifiedEmail, AOL will offer both, but it has yet to publicly state how much the per-message fee will be other than a fraction of a cent per e-mail and that discounts will be offered to early-adopters in the first year.

This is just another step in the movement towards permission based marketing and supports the importance of seeking out-in communication like RSS.

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