Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Postage stamps for e-mail? Yahoo and AOL have announced a new program for e-mail marketers who can opt to pay from a quarter of a penny to 1 cent per e-mail in exchange for bypassing their spam e-mail filters.
They say it is to provide legitimate e-mail marketers a way to bypass spam filters, but as with any giant corporation, the educated skeptic will take that with a grain of salt. Surely they've run the numbers and found that a fortune can be made even if a stamp costs as little as a quarter of a cent.
The big marketers will cough up the dough for a guarantee to reach every Yahoo Mail and AOL user in the world. And it's a worthy investment for those companies. But there's already a guaranteed way to avoid spam filters that we should all be using.
It's called RSS.
RSS may still be a bit wonky for the average bear, but the forthcoming IE 7 will change the game in a big way. By nature RSS is spam-free. The only way for a web feed to pop up in your RSS reader is for you to make it so.
Even Microsoft is taking the high road on this by adopting Mozilla's RSS icon as the standard, and pushing RSS hard in Windows Vista. So, please tell me why companies like eBay and PayPal aren't embracing this easy-to-adopt technology? People like me receive hundreds of phishing attempts at my PayPal password every month, and I haven't seen PayPal lift a finger to do anything about it. My conclusion? The big e-mailers don't take this problem seriously.
All PayPal would have to do is unleash a massive marketing campaign that explains the problem (uncontrollable phishing and spam), provide a clear solution (any number of RSS readers) and provide a deadline for a cutoff of all permission-based e-mails. It's that simple. If the eBays and PayPals truly cared about their customers, they would do this tomorrow.
These companies need to take responsibility for educating their customers, and should drag them into the new age of RSS, if necessary. RSS is the solution, and it would be so easy to make it happen, if they would just try.
As usual, Godin gets it. He's an "it-getter," in the wise words of Colbert. He thinks ISPs should serve as the RSS evangelists, but that seems very uncharacteristic for them. Again, I think the companies who are being misrepresented should take the RSS initiative. They have much more to gain than ISPs.
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Andrew's book, Winning Results With Google AdWords, (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed.), is still helping tens of thousands of advertisers cut through the noise and set a solid course for campaign ROI.
And for a glowing review of the pioneering 1st ed. of the book, check out this review, by none other than Google's Matt Cutts.
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