MoveOn.org Civic Action: Democracy in Action
There are very few political leaning sites I visit with any regularity due to the being swallowed whole overwhelm I feel when I don't 'get it'. Which happens with great regularity.
I subsume easily and need issues dumbed down profoundly in order for me to understand them or otherwise I don't/won't read it and, therefore, it doesn't exist. It's the web version of the la la laaaaaa I can't heaaaaar you song.
Moveon.org works tirelessly as a watchdog for both civic and political actions. This particular AOL issue that has me fuming today is a lesson in civics, and I read up on it a little before MoveOn.org had organized their petition. Even so, I'm delighted to contribute my voice to those of others in asking what kind of crack AOL folks have been smoking. Charging fees for sending email is ree-dee-que-lus, stoo-peed; dumb, with added emphasis on the -buh.
Here's a tidbit of the moveon.org campaign against AOL's proposed email tax:
AOL recently announced what amounts to an "email tax." Under this pay-to-send system, large emailers willing to pay an "email tax" can bypass spam filters and get guaranteed access to people's inboxes—with their messages having a preferential high-priority designation.1
Charities, small businesses, civic organizing groups, and even families with mailing lists will inevitably be left with inferior Internet service unless they are willing to pay the "email tax" to AOL. We need to stop AOL immediately so other email hosts know that following AOL's lead would be a mistake.
I told you AOL has a dumb idea going - was I wrong?
Come on, let 'em know you think it's laughable.
Add your name to mine here.
Or if you're more of a phone caller kinda person, moveon.org suggests the following:
Please ask AOL not to auction off preferential "certified" access to people's inboxes to giant emailers, while leaving everyone else wondering if their emails are being delivered at all. AOL's proposed pay-to-send system hurts the Internet.
Phone: (703) 265-1000
Press 0 for operator or 3 to leave a message. (If AOL transfers you to a tech support person, just let them know your concern and thank them for their time.)
Help track our impact by letting us know you called at this link. Before calling, it would be good to read the below summary of "AOL Claims & Reality" so you are prepared for what AOL may say.
After calling, please take a moment to invite your friends to sign the petition—especially those who use AOL or care about keeping the Internet free. You can just forward the sample letter that's below.
Spreading the word is critical, but please only pass this message along to those who know you—spam hurts our campaign.
Thanks for all you do.
–The MoveOn.org Civic Action Team
AOL CLAIMS & REALITY
CLAIM: Nothing would change for non-paying email senders. This is just an extra service for paying senders.
FACT: AOL currently has a financial incentive to put top-notch maintenance into their free email system and make sure legitimate emails don't wind up in spam filters. This helps everyone--corporate senders, non-profit senders, and regular senders. The moment AOL switches to a world where giant emailers pay for preferential treatment, AOL faces this internal choice: spend money to keep spam filters up-to-date so legitimate email isn't identified as spam, or make money by neglecting their spam filters and pushing more senders to pay for guaranteed delivery. Despite their denials that things will change for regular email senders, which choice do you think they'll choose?
CLAIM: Charging a fee will help deter spammers.
FACT: AOL hasn't officially made this claim, but they've let it be implied in news articles and it's completely untrue. AOL's "email tax" would not prevent giant senders from sending email, especially since many of these same senders are willing to pay a lot more money to send advertisements through the postal service. AOL's pay-to-send system would actually make it a sweeter deal for them to send masss emails - giving guaranteed delivery to people's inboxes with a preferential high-priority designation. Additionally, those who break the rules and spam recklessly right now have no incentive to reduce spamming because of AOL's proposed policy.
CLAIM: This is not an "email tax."
FACT: If AOL has its way, the only way to guarantee mail is being delivered will be to pay. For email senders, it amounts to an email tax--except the money goes to AOL instead of the government.
CLAIM: This MoveOn email is a hoax, we will not charge email senders.
It most definitely is not a hoax, and the charge to email senders has been publicly announced in the New York Times, the Associated Press, and other media outlets.
"Postage is due for companies sending e-mail," New York Times, February 4, 2006
"Yahoo and AOL to Charge Some E-Mail Senders," Associated Press, February 6, 2006