Peter Stewart, the chairman of anti-spam vendor New Millennium Solutions says the Yahoo and AOL scheme could lead to a constant deluge of unstoppable spam from major marketing and advertising companies that pay ISPs for the privilege.
Yahoo and AOL confirmed their plans this week. They say that businesses with proven legitimacy and email track records will be assured of message delivery to recipients' main Yahoo or AOL inboxes for a quarter of a US cent to one cent per message.
According to Goodmail Services, which worked for more than two years with AOL and Yahoo on the certified email service intended to thwart phishing and other online scams, the certified email will bypass spam filters and be routed directly into recipient's main in-boxes.
Peter Stewart said, "This approach could lead to all the accredited sales and marketing companies having open slather on the in-boxes of millions of users, guaranteed delivery. If it works in the USA for the ISPs, it will catch on in Australia.
Then we can look forward to receiving guaranteed junk emails, with no protection from rampant marketers. It begs the question: should ISPs be permitted to deliver unwanted email in this manner? I believe it would certainly pose ethical problems, but could there be legal ramifications too?"
Stewart bleieves that the Yahoo/AOL scheme highlights the deficiencies of anti-spam solutions that rely on filtering unwanted emails.
Despite Mr Stewart's fears, however, there is a strong view among major IT vendors, including Bill Gates himself, that the most effective way to eliminate spam is to charge users for sending emails.