Goodmail Systems will shut down this month, according to Direct Marketing News, who reports that CEO Daniel Dreymann says the main reason is an acquisition attempt by an undisclosed Fortune 500 company was taken off the table.
"We were on track to be acquired," Dreymann told the publication. "We got a terms sheet, and they left us at the altar at the last minute."
Five years ago, when Goodmail announced that AOL and Yahoo would implement their "pay-to-play" email authentication system, iEntry CEO and WebProNews publisher Rich Ord raised some interesting points about the company: "What exactly would publishers be paying for? Simply the right not to have their email publications distorted and made useless to subscribers by removing images and links? Paying a third party in order not to have my publications messed with seem a little bit too much like a Sopranos episode to me. As publishers we need to ask ourselves, does AOL have the right to distort our publications and damage our brands unless we pay?"
"Our newsletter subscribers asked to receive our emails," he added. "If an ISP takes on the service of offering email accounts, there is an expectation by the consumer that the ISP will not alter their email. An altered email deligitimizes a publishers brand and can cause the consumer to falsely report it as spam."
He then added, "What has become clear over the last few days is that Goodmail is not designed to combat spam. It's sole purpose is to generate revenue for itself and partner ISP's. The only companies who could afford to pay the Goodmail fee are the larger emailers which ISP's already identify as non-spammers."
Criticism of the service was even able to achieve bi-partisan support. WebProNews later reported: "RightMarch and MoveOn hold diametrically opposite positions in the political spectrum. To bring these two rival political action committees to a common ground usually requires a staggeringly horrifying event taking place, like the launch of New Coke. This time, it's the proposed fees for delivering bulk email to opt-in recipients that MoveOn and RightMarch find difficult to swallow." Still, even the White House would become a Goodmail client. After all, they want their messages to be received.
Goodmail lost Yahoo support last year, and according to Dreymann, the acquisition that never happened would have addressed this, but when it didn't happen, he says he had no choice but to shut down the service. "I could not sustain the losses," he said. Gmail had resisted the use of Goodmail in the first place. Google said that the power of email filtering should rest in the hands of its users.
Goodmail reportedly sent customers an email saying that they were working with ISPs on a transition process.