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AOL's email tax - charities get reprieve

Not-for-profits, not charged

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AOL has said it will continue free delivery of emails from charities and "qualifying non-profits".

AOL said last week it was introducing a system of two-class emails - bulk email senders will have to pay a small fee per email to guarantee their marketing messages get into AOL inboxes and don't fall foul of spam filters.

But the plan has been critcised by a coalition of more than 50 groups led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which has joined forces to get AOL to change its mind. Over 32,500 individuals have also signed the group's online petition.

AOL's change of heart offers non-profit lobby groups and other charities two options. Firstly, if they agree to follow AOL's email policies, they may qualify for AOL's "enhanced white list" and will be treated "on a comparable basis" to commmerial users - except they won't be charged for it and their messages will not be certified.

Secondly, qualifying groups can use a third-party service and AOL will pick up the bill. The pro-bono scheme will be tested in the next 30 days and should be ready in 90 days. More details available from AOL here. ®

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