Chicago–Marketers looking for specifics on AOL’s implementation of Goodmail’s Certified Email system saw little new light shed on the issue in a question-and-answer session here Tuesday.
AOL announced last year it would begin using Goodmail’s Certified Email system, under which e-mailers can pay a fee to have their e-mail certified as not spam and guaranteed to be delivered into AOL users’ inboxes with graphics and links intact.
The announcement set off a firestorm of criticism from organizations claiming the scheme would, among other things, result in a two-tiered e-mail system where only those who pay will reliably get their e-mail delivered. AOL denies this.
Meanwhile, AOL postmaster Charles Stiles said implementing Goodmail’s system “has been challenging at times.”
When asked how long it will be before the system is implemented, Stiles said, “Soon. There is no beta on this. It has to work 100% of the time right out of the gate.”
Also, marketers have been wondering how much the service will cost. Goodmail has said it will cost a fraction of a cent, likely in the range of $0.0025 per e-mail.
Stiles said he has no idea how much the service will cost. “I have intentionally stayed out of that discussion,” he said.
When interviewer Ben Isaacson of CheetahMail asked Stiles to respond to critics’ charges that the Goodmail system is a tax on e-mail, Stiles said, “A tax is not voluntary. This is voluntary.”
Stiles also conceded that Goodmail certification could end up being adopted only by commercial e-mail marketers, and, as a result, Goodmail’s seal could mean by definition that the incoming piece of e-mail is an ad.
“But it will be from those who have passed accreditation, do have existing business relationships with these customers, so it can be recognized by these customers,” he said.