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What Is the Real Future of Email?

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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 http://thePhantomWriters.com . Do you need
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What Is the Real Future of Email?
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