AOL and Yahoo to charge optional fee for sending Commercial E-mails soon.

Yahoo Inc. and America Online are planning to charge an optional fee to businesses for send commercial e-mails in the coming months. This means that these paid messages will bypass the junk mail filters and will be delivered directly to the inbox of the account holder.

The program is being offered through Goodmail Systems and will target banks, online retailers and other groups that send huge amount of e-mails. According to AOL, Goodmail will negotiate the market rate it charges commercial e-mailers based on the volume of messages to be sent, and AOL will receives a share of that revenue.

The fees would be about 1/4th cent to 1 cent per e-mail. Both the companies claim that this is an attempt to weed out spam and unwanted advertisements and also to reduce identity-theft and phishing scams.

This announcement has drawn a huge protest from the business community. According to a New York Times report, a campaign is being organized by MoveOn.org, a liberal advocacy group, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet civil liberties group. A Web site called: www.dearaol.com has been set up by the group with an online petition for users to sign.

If the businesses choose not to pay, then the e-mails will be delivered as they are being done now as the program is purely voluntary and optional.

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