AOL and Yahoo: "You get the mail and we get the money"
OK, I'm starting to feel naive about trusting the new age corporations to actually give a sh** about users. AOL and Yahoo are now going to charge companies to bypass their filter in order to solicit users with mail they are unlikely to want. AOL and YAHOO that would be the USERS that have made you successful rich companies!
There appears to be a lot of rationalization going on, and I certainly agree you need to make compromises in business, but I'm no longer convinced that the dialog about "corporate responsibility" is trumping the marketing and revenue and SNEAKY BASTARD considerations, even at places like Google which claim to make that a key operating principle and I think really DID make it a key principle....in the past.
As many have pointed out there's nothing *necessarily* wrong with the ruthless biz first, biz last approach - some would say it's the approach that has made America number ONE. I'd agree that a combination of ruthess capitalism and caring at the corporate level have created our thriving entrepreneur-friendly fast and frenzied business climate, and that on balance this is good for most people in the USA and even most people OUTSIDE of the USA by powering up a thriving global economy which feeds more people than a crappy (or socialistic) global economy ever could.
But why be so hypocritical about this and pretend you care about the users more than the cash? I actually would be a lot more respectful of these money plays if you said "screw the users, we want the money!". But I'm asked too often to give you the benefit of the doubt when you sacrifice my needs for yours. That's over now.
First Google buys a stake in AOL and gives them and other big advertisers preferential treatment in a variety of venues, then it's Yahoo, MSN, and Google helping China censor politics, and now Yahoo and AOL are going to charge businesses to spam people with offers. For a penny you can dodge the filters and get to the users.
The problem is not so much the charging or even the increase in the amount of marginally relevant crap mail we'll see from this. Rather it's that as USUAL the big guys are sacrificing user satisfaction for money WITHOUT enough respect or recognition of the rold of the user in the big picture.
I can only hope this is at the great peril of the big companies.
I'm looking forward to a sort of user/publisher revolution where people start to recognize that commercial considerations are driving the web in irrelevant ways and we need to take back the web which should remain by the people and for the people, with the people reaping the benefits of the new medium more than the company best poised to exploit us.