AOL is watching you.... They want you to help them in their noble quest to become richer by quietly and joyfully accepting a whack of spam from advertisers they are giving guaranteed delivery to YOUR email box to, all for a very tiny fee.
It has been with much interest that I've been following the debate over AOL et al.
My advice to anyone who is worried about AOL and friends charging advertisers for delivery of commercial email to their members is this - if you want to get your email, don't use AOL or anyone with similar policies.
For a long time, now, good lead companies have been excluding certain ISPs - especially AOL, as it has been virtually impossible to send commercial messages to AOL customers for a LONG time.
AOL has become so bad that children sending birthday greetings to their aunties are having their email bounce, simply because AOL has blacklisted their local ISP or because several innocuous words in the body of their email, like, perhaps, "Hi," have triggered AOL's draconian spam filters.
This new pay-to-mail system is NOT the death knoll for email marketing - it opens up a HUGE market to those who want to pay a small fee to guarantee delivery of their mail to practically half the market (yes, AOL is that huge). Remember that it has been virtually impossible for several years now to send commercial email to AOL users. Now, for a small fee, it is guaranteed!
However, for AOL users, this means that their spam holiday is over. Now, while Aunty may still not receive that cute e-card from her little nephew, Aunty will DEFINITELY receive plenty of junk mail, AKA AOL-approved spam.
In my opinion, it's high time people stopped fighting AOL and others like them, and started looking for smaller, freer, more open and user-friendly services.