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Goodmail vs. Signed SSL Certificates


Permit me to nerd out for a second...

A huge controversy has erupted on the Internet as AOL and Yahoo have decided to implement Goodmail CertifiedEmail service for it's users. The kneejerk reaction from the community has been that AOL and Yahoo are "taxing" legitimate senders of email. I have read many moronic misconceptions about the service, including:

  • All email that hasn't paid the toll will be blocked by Yahoo and AOL

  • Spammers will use the service to bypass normal spam filters.

  • Non-profits will have to pay the tax to send bulk email.

Compare the Goodmail system to signed SSL Certificates that EVERY commerce website uses to establish trust. NOBODY complains about having to buy a certificate from a trusted authority who is supposed to verify that you are a legitimate company. If you don't buy a certificate, you can still sign your own certificate, but your users will be warned by their browser that your certificate is not "Trusted". This is almost identical to the Goodmail system. If you do not pay to be certified by Goodmail, your email can still get through. It will just have to go through the normal spam filters that we already deal with EVERY DAY.

Nothing is being taken away from senders or receivers. Legitimate email senders using opt-in lists now have the option to guarantee delivery as long as they obey the strict Goodmail rules.

Goodmail has every incentive to make sure that it's senders are following it's rules. Mailbox providers still have the incentive to make sure that legitimate non-certified email makes it into every users inbox. Illegal spammers will not be able to maintain any kind of certified status, and thus they will have to fight the same anti-spam mechanisms that they always have. As a legitimate bulk email sender, a frequent recipient of opt-in newsletters, and a spam deleting user, I say that certified email is a step in the right direction for everybody.


Trav, I couldn't agree more. Thanks for a level-headed view on this issue.

By Blogger Peter, at 1:50 PM 

Thanks Peter.

By Anonymous Travis, at 5:44 PM 

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