Plan to charge businesses for e-mail triggers outcry
Report: Marketers say AOL's effort to certify messages and reduce spam amounts to e-mail taxation.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - America Online's plan to start charging businesses to send commercial e-mail messages is creating an uproar among some marketers, a newspaper reported Monday.

Some marketers argue AOL's plan to implement a certified e-mail system, which could charge advertisers $2 to $3 per 1,000 messages, is a form of e-mail taxation, USA Today said.

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Last October, AOL and Yahoo! both agreed to deploy a certified e-mail system designed by technology firm Goodmail Systems.

AOL is testing the program and plans to implement it within the next month or two, AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham told CNNMoney.com.

Yahoo! (Research), which said when it signed up with Goodmail that it would work with the company to certify messages containing bank statements, receipts and other "transactional" messages, is also expected to implement the system in coming months.

The certified e-mail system is designed to ensure users that messages arriving in their inbox are from a legitimate sender. Each message sent through Goodmail is embedded with a security token that must be detected before the message can be delivered to a user's inbox and identified as certified mail.

Goodmail negotiates the market rate it charges commercial e-mailers based on the volume of messages to be sent, and AOL receives a share of that revenue, according to AOL's Graham.

But some marketers say the system is merely designed to generate a new revenue stream for AOL, the Internet division of Time Warner. (CNNMoney.com is also a unit of Time Warner Inc.)

"It's taxation of the good guys with cash, and it does nothing to help the good guys who can't afford the cost or to deter the bad guys who spam anyway," Matt Blumberg, CEO of Return Path, an e-mail services company, was quoted as saying in USA Today.

Graham dismissed those claims as "competitive chatter" and said that any revenue generated from the certified e-mail system is "modest" and will be used to beef up the company's anti-spam efforts.

"This is an optional system, it's purely voluntary," he told CNNMoney.com. "The program benefits consumers as well as e-mailers."

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.