Two of the world's biggest e-mail account providers, Yahoo Inc and America Online (AOL), plan to introduce a service that would charge senders a fee to route their e-mail directly to a user's mailbox without first passing through junk mail filters, representatives of both companies said on Sunday.
The fees, which would range from US$0.0025 to US$0.01 per e-mail, are the latest attempts by the companies to weed out unsolicited ads, commonly called spam, and identity-theft scams. In exchange for paying, e-mail senders will be guaranteed their messages won't be filtered and will bear a seal alerting recipients they're legitimate.
Both companies have long filtered e-mail by searching for keywords commonly contained in spam and fraudulent e-mail. AOL also strips images and Web links from many messages to prevent the display of pornographic pictures and malicious Web addresses.
Both practices sometimes falsely identify legitimate messages as junk mail, making life difficult for businesses that rely on e-mail.