Nail in the coffin?

Make no mistake about it: AOL is about to commit suicide. Their risky plan to make senders pay for email delivery is a bone-headed idea if there ever was one. Though in the grand scheme of things it is not unexpected. AOL has long held on to its naive view that it can own people's connection to information. For the longest time they tried to ignore and then later awkwardly accepted the presence of the Internet.

Indeed at one time the company's services were popular enough to have their trademark new-mail phrase associated with a mass market movie. But then along came the internet. AOL reacted and put a little "view" of the internet into their product but seemed to keep digging the hole that was their online service. Now with strong opposition to their latest scheme their spokesperson refers to the broad coalition of opponents without respect.

AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham replied: "No matter what the political rhetoric is, AOL will remain resolute in our pursuit of improving e-mail safety and security in doing what is right for our members. That simply is not going to change.

"There is no substantive news here, just because some disparate groups of advocates have come together for an event reminiscent of the bar scene in the first ‘Star Wars' movie."

So the claim remains safety and security. Other sources have suggested email customers won't mind missing a few legitimate emails in favor of having senders pay a tax to guarantee delivery. I'm not sure what planet these folks are from, but the users I support don't have the same view. In fact I tend to get a message about each and every undelivered mail.

My prediction is that with the implementation of this bad idea AOL will ignite a hemorrhage of customers to superior services that don't extract either the tax on customers or those they do business or associate with. Gmail for example will see a large increase and soon AOL will be relegated to an old memory, reminiscent of watching science fiction movies in theaters.