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Now pay for direct emails

A new digital divide is set to separate the haves from the have-nots, with two internet giants endorsing new system.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 14:44 IST

A new digital divide is set to separate the haves from the have-nots, with two internet giants endorsing a system that gives preferential treatment to emails sent by paying subscribers.

America Online (AOL) and Yahoo, two of the world's largest providers of email accounts, plan to start charging an optional fee to send email directly into user inboxes without going through junk mail filters, a media report said here.

Users will now have to pay from a quarter of a cent to 1 cent per email to ensure their messages are marked as certified and grab the attention of the receiver.

"The Internet companies say this will help them identify legitimate mail and cut down on junk email, identity-theft scams and other scourges that plague users of their services," the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The companies also stand to earn millions of dollars a year from the system if it is widely adopted, the daily said.

In the next two months, AOL will start accepting email processed by the US-based Goodmail Systems which will collect the electronic postage and verify the identity of the sender.

Unpaid emails will be subject to AOL's spam filtering process which diverts suspicious messages to a spam folder.

Meanwhile, Yahoo has said it will start trying out Goodmail's system in the coming months but has not yet decided how paid email will be differentiated from unpaid.

"In a broader sense, the move to create what is essentially a preferred class of email is a major change in the economics of the Internet. Until now, senders and recipients of email...Each covered their own costs of using the network, with no money changing hands," the daily said.

First Published: Feb 06, 2006 12:12 IST