AOL and Yahoo may soon charge people for sending emails according to an article in the International Herald Tribune.

According to the article, the two companies are preparing to start using a system that gives preferential treatment to messages from companies that pay from a quarter of a cent to 1 cent each to have them delivered.

The Internet companies say this will help them identify legitimate mail and cut down on junk e-mail, identity-theft scams and other scourges of users of their services.

The two companies also stand to earn millions of dollars a year from the system if it is widely adopted.

AOL and Yahoo will still accept email from senders who have not paid, but the paid messages will be given special treatment similar to special delivery services offered by the Royal Mail in the UK where users are charged extra for priority mail.

According to the article “Yahoo and AOL say the new system is a way to restore some order to e-mail, which, because of spam and online scams, has become an increasingly unreliable mode of communication even as it has become more important in people's lives”.

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