It appears that Mr. Gates' prophetic prediction that charging marketers to send email across Microsoft email networks (MSN and Hotmail) to cut down on Sp*m is about to come true.
According to CIO Today, Microsoft is now employing "IronPort Anti-Spam Technology."
"IronPort" is a paid "white-list" for people who send "mass email" (including newsletter publishers, ezine publishers, affiliate managers, mini-course operators, and basically anyone who has a list of opt-in emails).
If you send any type of email where you do a broadcast to everyone on your list, this applies to you.
If you want your email broadcasts to get through their filters, you must pay a hefty fee and post a "bond."
Here are some facts about this developing story:
1. They charge by how much email you send a month, but minimum charge is a: $375 Application Fee, plus $500 Annual License Fee, plus $500 "Bond" fee. That's $1,375.00 just to get in game.
If you want to see complete breakdown, go here https://www.bondedsender.com/fees.jsp
2. If you go over "complaint" threshold of 1 complaint per month, then they will debit $20 from your bond fee for each complaint to "fine" you for being naughty.
Now that sounds good on surface, but here's a scenario to try on for size:
Your competitor / enemy / Net "psycho" signs up for 50 fr~e email accounts at HotMail and complains about you every month when you send your newsletter.
49 complaints (50 - 1 allowed complaint) times $20 a complaint comes out to $980 in fines.
Now, can you dispute fines? Sure, absolutely!
But how much will you lose in time, energy and effort disputing allegations? (My guess is, a whole lot more than that.)
You can check out all "rules" here https://www.bondedsender.com/fees.jsp
Here are details of program straight from horse's mouth... https://www.bondedsender.com
Here's my take on this whole thing (which dropped on me out of blue today):
First, don't get me wrong... I hate sp~m with a passion!
I spend at least an hour a day fighting it (down from 3 hours a day just a few weeks ago before I shut down about 2 dozen email addresses that got harvested by spambots over last few years).
With that said, this whole "IronPort" thing sounds and smells to me like "white list" extortion.
Here's basic premise: "Pay to get your email through our filters, or else you run very likely risk of not getting your email through at all."
In fact, here's a *direct quote* from their website https://www.bondedsender.com/faqs/sender.jsp:
<-- Start Quote -->
"What happens if I don't bond my email? You're rolling dice and taking your chances with spam filters, black lists and bulk folders. Some days all of your email may be delivered; other days 30-50% could be blocked."
<-- End Quote -->
Kind of reminds you of a cheesy mafia movie on late night TV:
Me: "Hey Bugsy, what happens if I don't pay my 'protection' money this month? What if I stand up to you and refuse to pay?"
Bugsy: "Well, maybe nothin' will happen to you because Boss ain't payin' attention when I tell him you decided not to pay. On other hand, maybe I'll just smack you around a little bit... or maybe-- I'll BREAK YOUR LEG with this baseball bat! Go ahead and not pay us... then we'll see what happens!"
Now, back to my question: "Why should I have to pay a huge fee to send email to people who have opted in to my lists?"
The argument from Microsoft (and soon to be other ISP's) is that uncontrolled sp~m on web is costing them a lot of money to deliver email nobody wants to read.
Well, if that's case, aren't email users shelling out cash or credit to pay their ISPs for email services (mine charges me $40 a month for cable), or paying for free services like HotMail or Yahoo Mail through viewing advertising on every page?