<% @ Language=VBScript %>Dear AOL.....
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Dear AOL.....

April 13, 2006

Received some interesting "breaking news" in my inbox just now. The notice I received reports that AOL is censoring emails linking to and mentioning www.DearAOL.com, the coalition against the pay-to-send proposal which will make it harder for would-be "spammers" to send email.

Read this:

AOL is blocking delivery to AOL customers of all emails that include a link to www.DearAOL.com.  Today, after this was discovered, over 150 people who signed a petition to AOL tried sending messages to their AOL-using friends, and received a bounceback message informing them that their email "failed permanently." 



“This proves the DearAOL.com Coalition’s point entirely: Left to their own devices, AOL will always put its own self interest ahead of the public interest in a free and open Internet,” said Timothy Karr, campaign director of Free Press, a national, nonpartisan organization working on media reform and Internet policy issues. “AOL wants us to believe they won’t hurt free email when their pay-to-send system is up and running. But if AOL is willing to censor the flow of information now to silence their critics, how could anyone trust that they will preserve the free and open internet down the road? Their days of saying ‘trust us’ are over – their credibility is gone.”



While AOL may imply that censoring www.DearAOL.com is part of some anti-spam effort, their own customers are witnessing how faulty AOL’s spam measures would be if that was the case. “I forwarded www.DearAOL.com to my own AOL account and it was censored.  Apparently I can't even tell myself about it,” said one AOL customer, Kelly from Massachusetts .



So I decided to do a little bit of research myself.  I sent an email to an AOL address and mentioned www.DearAOL.com. Guess what? It didn't bounce back.  In fact, the person received it. So I wonder -- how extensive is this research and how factual are the statements in this bit o' news? It would be interesting to find out if this is, in fact, happening. And if it is, I'll be sure to let you know next time around.

Happy Spring!

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