AOL and Yahoo both recently announced a special email delivery service with an associated postage fee. For a penny per email both services will deliver your mail to the intended recipient using a ‘certified email system’ that bypasses the recipient’s spam filter. The thinking is that businesses relying on email communication might be willing to pay to end spam confusion and ensure that their legitimate messages are never mistaken for spam again.

Is this the start of something much bigger? Will all of those urban legends about paying a required per-email delivery fee finally come to pass? I doubt it. A precedent has been set and the public has an expectation around how email service is accessed and used. The public will likely demand that spam filtering be improved, spammers be forced offline, and AOL and Yahoo go back to improving the high quality services they’re already commited to delivering as part of their existing agreements with customers.