Charging for Email – would it be so bad?

There’s news that AOL and Yahoo are planning on implementing a certified email system based on Goodmail System’s CertifiedEmail technology. Bulk email senders, who must represent that they have the recipient’s consent, can pay a small fee to get priority treatment by spam filters. Personally, I think this could be a good thing and would like to see it expanded to more easily include corporate email systems running Microsoft Exchange. Ideally, each system should be able to also include its own whitelist of senders who can send emails at the same priority without paying a fee. Such a system could then act to discourage unsolicited email. Sure there would be a small cost when email is sent to someone without a pre-existing business relationship, but that would not be different than the cost being paid today by many businesses and individuals for email spam filtering services. Such a cost could even be offset if Goodmail or a competitor decided to share a portion of the fee with the recipients. “Buy our system and start receiving revenue on unsolicited incoming mail” Potentially a great way to encourage adoption.