What if I told you that you would have to pay me a fee in order to guarantee that I receive your emails? Most likely you would never send me another email, and the only emails I would get would be from marketers trying to sell me something.
Well, that's pretty much what AOL plans to do to their members.
They're planning a new "CertifiedEmail" service, whereby if I want my emails to reach AOL users, I will have to pay to have my address certified. If I don't pay, maybe my emails will get through, maybe they won't.
They are announcing this as way of cutting out spam, but what it does is just help them make more money off of the spammers by collecting a fee from them up front. And, it penalizes individuals and small organizations who cannot afford to bribe AOL to "certify" their address.
A coalition of nonprofits and activists have organized to try and stop this and have published an open letter to AOL expressing their anger about the program.
In other online news, I've just found a site called "Squidoo" which is another self-publishing community. Users create one-page sites, called a Lens, on any topic and may include links, book recommendations, newsfeeds, and their opinions. I just created one about fundraising planning to help promote my new book on the topic.
The site is well set-up, and the pages are easy to customize. We'll see how well they do, and if it ever comes out of "beta" and into profitability.