AOL Charging for emailon March 1, 2006 at 11:22 am
Many of you have probably heard about the Goodmail scandal at AOL. Basically, they are trying to implement a system where people / organizations can pay to get better email service. They may not sum it up in some people’s minds, but that is essentially what it comes down to.
Now, I am a security person, so I am paid to be paranoid. That means I am essentially skeptical of anything I hear and read (I know, it is sad, but it is something life has taught me, and it makes for good security as well). In other words, I should have been born in Missouri (leave a comment if you don’t know what that means). That also means that when I see sites popping up like http://www.dearaol.com/, which is slamming AOL for this whole thing, I don’t take their word as truth (believe me, my inclination is to jump on the “stomp on AOL” bandwagon – the initial proposal by AOL made my hackles rise REAL high).
But, in the interest of fairness, justice, the American Way, etc., etc., etc., I have decided to do some more digging. I went to AOL’s site, but there was nothing immediately apparent that was discussing this. So, I went to Goodmail’s site. They have a “Get the Facts” page at http://www.goodmailsystems.com/certifiedmail/index.php. Again, I am cynical, so I can’t take this page for the its face value either. But I have to say that much of their argument is sound. They have stringent criteria for getting certified from what I can see on the page. That is located at http://www.goodmailsystems.com/senders/qualifications.php.
Even with these two sites, their FAQ pages, and many arguments from many people, I have not completely made up my mind on this. As an argument against AOL, I can see phishers duplicating this certified insignia and putting it in their emails, so it might actually make phishing more effective. And with the advent of spear phishing, this could really get dangerous. However, I am not as concerned that AOL might make a business decision to not keep anti-spam, etc. up to date for your general user. I can see the fallout if they at all slack on this, especially since this uproar has risen. Also, there is an argument that this will make some people have a “non-guaranteed” email system. OK. Since when has email been guaranteed? Just because a provider says it doesn’t mean it is so. Anyone with half a technical brain knows the Internet itself is not guaranteed, much less email to your grandma. Sheesh.
Anyway, I can’t just sit back and start arguing, fuming, and screaming like like so many are doing. I am not saying http://www.dearaol.com/ is doing this. What I am saying is don’t make a knee-jerk reaction. Take a look and make and informed decision. Don’t read troller comments. If you still come down against AOL, then so be it. If not, so be it. Just don’t be ignorant.