AOL is a Product unto Itself. The Internet is Something Altogether Different.
Feb 09,2006 00:00 by bendweekly

Two of the world's biggest e-mail account providers, Yahoo Inc. and America Online, introduced a service that will charge senders a fee to route their e-mail directly to a user's mailbox without first passing through junk mail filters.

All I can do is block any and all AOL originated connections from any Internet resource I have influence over. That's now done - and should've been done long ago. AOL is a product unto itself. The Internet is something altogether different. 

The Internet is divided into two classes - those that use it and those that are used by it. I refuse to further facilitate and/or enable the continued abuse of the 'not yet educated'. Instead I vow to support, educate and lead 'newbies' into effective and responsible participation and membership in this worldwide community.

Yea, even if it's *just* helping my neighbor get Firefox installed - every bit helps. Hell, at least I got him OFF of AOL and onto a local ISP that provides a real Internet experience (FF was just the beginning). The Internet is not a shopping mall packaged and pablum loaded empty calorie gorging of other's sweet waste. That's AOL - an empty, but well packaged product leeching off of the reality and efforts of the Internet and it's citizens - and making a mockery (and profit) of it.

Spam needs to be fought, but like so many social ills, it's a symptom of a larger, not an intrinsic 'evil' in itself. The problem is blatant commercialization. The same economic drive that's turned television into a mindless, soul robbing robotic eye into a two dimensional fantasy.

You can go and reinvent the wheel, come up with another way to push content onto your users. If it gets popular enough it will be spammed. And yet there will still be a need to push content. Or maybe you could try something like RSS, if you wanted to install and set up a server that would be hit up every hour by whatever fraction of your users decided to even try "that newfangled RSS thing". Newsgroups are designed for just this purpose, but they of course have their own spam problems and many users don't know how to use them.

But this stupid and greedy decision on AOL's part is an attempt to grasp and retain power over the infrastructure. By sheer mass, an attempt to turn a profit over what many consider a basic human communication. Mmm, maybe we need an Open Internet....

Anyone who buys into the idea that this is some kind of altruistic maneuver for the good of all needs to return their Willy Wanka bars. The freak'n elevator was a special effect and you ain't gonna see no Munchkins - no matter what the wrappers say.