More on when will email cease to be free?

This issue was raised in this blog on Wednesday, but I thought it interesting to posit the idea that perhaps that rather than all-free email or all-pay email, we could be seeing the introduction of a two tiered system. This is certainly the allegation that is being levelled at AOL (see this Financial Times article).

Is there anything wrong with a two tiered system? If users are prepared to pay for an email system that guarantees increased speed and authentication, why shouldn't just accept that it is their right to do so? It all comes back to the fundamental questions: should email be free, and why?

Comments

Corrina said…
I wouldn't be surprised if paying for email services is something that occurs in the very near future. So many people have come to use email now and it is so integrated into people's lives that it would be easier to pay the 25c, rather than change your practices, or revert to the 'old days' of letter writing. It reminds of when the telco's gave mobile phone users free sms messages just long enough to get people hooked before they attached a price tag!
Floris said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Floris said…
There are many different view points and considerations that need to be taken into account when determining whether email should be free.

Charging a fee for emails would impact upon the amount of spam and advertising sent. On the other hand, a fee may make people think twice about whether the email they are drafting is really necessary. A fee may detract from people’s ability to communicate with, and state their opinions, to large groups via their mailing lists.

A two tiered system may be the solution since it allows for freedom of choice. If a fee is charged, it should be reasonable to ensure that email remains accessible.

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