Apr 9, 2004
Comments Off on should spam filters be free for ISP users?

should spam filters be free for ISP users?

– need for premium email

I wanted to make some comments in relation to both this syndicated article and to a recent thread on ISP-CEO about whether “for pay” spam filtering (us, postini, brightmail, etc.) could be charged for or need be included for free to access customers.

The opening in the article is very important:

“Drumroll please. I'm here to unfurl the E-Mail Declaration of Independence.

Article One: Your e-mail address should be your personal property, not tied to your Internet service provider, employer or school.

Article Two: Your e-mail should be managed online, so you can retrieve both new and saved messages from any computer or mobile device that's connected to the Internet.

Article Three: If you've followed Articles One and Two, you are free to change your e-mail host and your Internet service provider at any time without the hassle of having to tell family, friends and co-workers that your address has changed.”

I have talked in the past about the big problem with email and service providers being that they view email exclusively as a cost centre and not as a profit centre. This has the effect of thinking about it as a necessary evil that need be provided as efficiently as possible. Even Mike Langberg gets that this is not the case.

Email is used by every Internet user. Only 10% or so need websites. Yet we as an industry sell websites and give away email.

When a service provider thinks about email as a source of revenue, as a profit centre, they start looking at it through a different prism.

EVERY service provider, each one of you, whether ISP, hosting company, web designer or other, should have a premium email offering that includes:

– domain name

– webmail

– LOTS of storage


– top-tier spam filtering

– anti-virus

You should also have a low-end free offering (“1000 free pop boxes with the $3.95 shared hosting package!” which to me is like free peanuts at a bar) which should be viewed as a cost centre AND as a contrast to the premium offering.

Look at what the guy in the article is paying! $95 for a name, an email box and some features!!! Charge $35 and you are making lots of margin even if you outsource everything (As you should). Believe me Netsol is selling LOTS of boxes to LOTS of Mike Langbergs. Let's not even talk about the $12 for url forwarding :-).

Thinking about selling email as opposed to giving it away is a change in mindset that service providers should make. You can tell me all you want about it not working. I have the empirical data not a feeling. I tried selling it myself using google adwords (and I mean myself right down to the copy). It worked.

– email as strategic in world of multiple service providers

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