Fred Wilson, over at his blog - has a story about AOL making marketers PAY to deliver email to their subscribers....(basically paying a toll to get to talk/send email to a AOL member)
Basically the email business is "permission based" - meaning that as consumers we opt in to recieve content, personal information, or promotions that WE request. It is communication at it's finest - and all your bills, statements, will soon "INCENT" (make it lucrative for you) - for them (marketers) to switch their correspondence with you online.
Spammers are kept out, because they do not abide by the rules of the road (or ISP's) - and generally spammers, cannot pay the "white list type fees" to a host of companies --- but there are NO companies that any ISP has said "you must deal with (insert company) to be able to get email into our subscribers."
Fred, who has a stake in Return Path - is questioning the decision by AOL to basically make all marketers pay a "toll" to reach the AOL subscriber, so that AOL reaps profit from allowing email coomunication by marketers into their world.
I'll let you decide (based on Fred's take) but, if this is true, its just another reason why AOL is lagging far behind Y/GOOG on all fronts online. Their peers are focused on different issues - one's that will have GREATER IMPACT on the future, and it shows based on where interest, and monies are flowing....
This one seems like a short term (stuck in the past) idea. I mean, can you imagine if I wanted to drive on the NJ Turnpike -- and they DID NOT accept EZ-Pass - they only took EX - Pass (a hypothetical competitor) - and, now I cannot drive on the Turnpike, or I HAVE TO SIGN up and pay potentially higher rates with EX PASS?
See Fred's take for yourself - HERE