[Mailman-Users] Goodmail spells doom for mailing lists?

Stephen J. Turnbull stephen at xemacs.org
Thu Mar 2 07:07:11 CET 2006

>>>>> "Brad" == Brad Knowles <brad at stop.mail-abuse.org> writes:

    Brad> 	If anyone wants to see a more completely laid out and
    Brad> fully explained discussion of why Goodmail is such a bad
    Brad> idea, please see <http://www2.dearaol.com/faq> and
    Brad> <http://www2.dearaol.com/blog>.

*sigh*  I see lots of explanation of why this is going to hurt
"legitimate" bulk emailers there, but ... isn't that obvious?  OTOH,
very little about how it hurts the typical AOL customer.  In fact,
it's not crystal clear to me that it does, on average.  Remember, this
is the same class of user that you denigrate as "if you think that's
stupid AOL customer behavior, let me tell you it get MUCH worse than
that".  Maybe it's worth it to such users to lose a few mailings from
non-profits in order to instill more discipline in the less
professional half of bulk-emailing businesses.

>From the point of view of the professional economist (that's me), "pay
per mail" (even pay-per-byte) is a concept that should be seriously
considered.  It's obvious that there are problems with managing the
payments, that it will be expensive---but both the monopoly USPS and
the fairly competitive courier services manage such businesses.  And
it's easy to see that it will have some disciplining effect on the
"gray-zone" bulk emailers.[1]

That said, I'm perfectly willing to believe that the move to
pay-per-mail is bad for everybody (even for AOL and Goodmail in the
long run).  In fact, I do believe that.  And I believe it's clearly
socially detrimental as implemented by Goodmail.  But I would like to
see the case made more strongly, because I know a lot of business
people and economists who _won't_.

    Brad> 	While I definitely believe that they are right, and I
    Brad> do have personal experience with how the AOL marketing
    Brad> department works, I believe that these efforts are unlikely
    Brad> to be successful -- at best, I fear that they may only
    Brad> slightly delay things.

"Imminent death of the 'net predicted!  Film at 11."

[1]  For example, I've recently begun to receive a lot of invitations
from people I don't know to speak at conferences at my own expense.
Some of these are almost worth considering, but really, I'd like them
all to go away.  And some of them are sufficiently far from my field
or the fields of plausible sources for "carefully selected
advertisers" that they're really spam in spirit, even if the list came
from an organization where I opted in on the "occasional mailings".

School of Systems and Information Engineering http://turnbull.sk.tsukuba.ac.jp
University of Tsukuba                    Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
               Ask not how you can "do" free software business;
              ask what your business can "do for" free software.

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