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  • What Is the Real Future of Email?
    Copyright 2003, Bill Platt

    Weekly, I keep an eye to the horizon to assess new developments
    in the Internet environment. In noting the changes, I sometimes 
    begin to feel overwhelmed by feelings of doom.
    
    The S~P~A~M problem is one such item that leaves me at times
    in much distress. I fear the trends of the ISP's in their 
    efforts to get control of the S~P~A~M situation.
    
    The ISP's are pushed and prodded by the ISP's customers as they
    begin to feel overwhelmed by the volume of unappreciated UCE
    email.
    
    Now and again, companies spring up to promise a new technology
    to combat the growing problems faced by the ISP's and their
    customers.
    
    Early on, the promising technologies included blacklists and
    email filters. I say "early on" because I have been fighting
    to overcome S~P~A~M filters for the last five years. The people
    who receive mail from me in the form of ezines or newsletters
    have ALL double-opted-in to receive my publications. 
    
    The sad thing is that as long as I have been publishing an 
    ezine, I have had subscribers who could not receive my
    publications due to email filters. 
    
    Just a few months ago, I was feeling very depressed about the 
    future or lack of a future for email. It seems that the filters
    are becoming so intrusive that very few emails will actually 
    reach their actual and intended recipients. And it seems the 
    problem will only get worse. 
    
    Now, we have a company offering a new solution that is almost
    more Draconian than email filters. Habeas, Inc. has created
    an email header and filters to assure that the people doing
    the mailings are authorized to do so by the anti-S~P~A~M
    zealots, a.k.a. the Habeas, Inc. accountant.
    
    Habeas believes that online commercial enterprises should pay
    them a fee to guarantee that their email will be delivered to
    those who have asked to receive mail from them.
    
    Personally, I am hoping someone will use the one keyword that
    has most damaged the Internet to damage the future of the
    Habeas concept. That one word is "free". 
    
    Think about this. If someone was to feel secure enough to 
    stand up to the Habeas saber rattling about Copyrights and 
    Patents, and to offer a very similar service for FREE, then
    we can as a community destroy the pay-to-send-email concept
    before it has a chance to build any real momentum.
    
     
    Today I read a small story about a email hoax perpetuated by
    a student at Yale University:
    
    http://www.yaledailynews.com/article.asp?AID=22111
    
    The interesting thing that came out of this story is that the
    Yale Administration came up with a simple solution to this 
    problem. They have directed their IT department to add a link
    to every email that shows the URL where the official copy of
    the email being sent can be seen on the secured Yale website.
    
    The solution is that if the link does not appear with the email
    pointing to where the communication can be seen on the Yale
    website, then the reader is to assume that the email is a hoax.
    
    Interesting, eh?
    
    
    Like I said, a few months ago, I felt very pessimistic about
    the future of email. These days, my outlook is not nearly so
    bad. 
    
    When I realized that I would change the format of my own
    publication, I also realized that I would move the publication
    to my own mail server and I would also send two copies of the
    ezine. The first copy would be a full HTML copy of the ezine,
    and the second copy will consist of only a link to the URL 
    where one can view the ezine online. The second mailing is 
    only for those whose ISP blocked the original mailing.
    
    Imagine that. There are in fact ways out there to conquer the
    email hoax perpetrators and there are ways out there to conquer
    the email filtering software. And finally, there is in fact a 
    way to defeat the Habeas, Inc. pay-to-send-email program.
    
    The future does not look so dim anymore.

    Bill Platt owns *Bite-Sized Marketing Tips*, which exists as a blog and ezine. You have just read a posting from BSMT archives. WEBSITE: http://byte-sized-marketing.blogspot.com/ SUBSCRIBE: mailto:byte-sized-marketing-tips-subscribe@yahoogroups.com ---> Do you writer your own articles? Let us distribute them to 6000+ publishers/webmasters: http://thePhantomWriters.com



    This article was originally written: March, 2003


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