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Monday, February 13, 2006

Will AOL and Yahoo's Email Tax Affect You?

A New York Times article about Paid Email Marketing was picked up by Marketing Sherpa who commented on the story.

This email tax is about AOL and Yahoo's indication that they are going to charge for guaranteeing delivery of email. If carried through it's going to sharply increase the costs to everyone who uses email marketing.

The talk is that they're going to use a company called Goodmail to process and charge for high volume email.

So, what does that mean if you're doing email marketing, or thinking of it?

  1. "Normal" email will continue as now, for the time being
  2. Cost to send bulk (thousands) of emails is going to skyrocket
  3. Guaranteeing delivery to inboxes still doesn't guarantee emails are opened
  4. Email lists will need to be cleaned more thoroughly so you're not paying for gone aways and inactive accounts
  5. Email marketing will become more narrowly targeted, so emailing is cheaper due to lesser email volume
  6. Marketeers are going to encourage their customer lists to move to RSS

The big question people are going to ask is, "does this move slash Spam at a stroke?"

The answer is "No."

When you think about it spammers will continue while their campaigns continue to make a profit - even if it's less because they're paying for email delivery.

Why do I call it an email tax?

Because it's a way for companies like AOL and Yahoo to make more money from their golden goose: email. It's not necessary, it doesn't deliver any real guarantee of extra sales and it'll be universally unpopular.

Just like TAXES!

Finally, The New York Times that raised this story originally added a correction to say that Yahoo and AOL hadn't even started testing this approach yet. So watch this space ...

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