Testers angry over spam-blocking fees

Wednesday, 21 May 2003, 11:22 AM EST

Pelted from one side by irate beta testers, Cloudmark is also taking hits on the other side from industry analysts who question whether the crowded market for spam-blocking tools and services can support a revenue model reliant on consumer subscriptions.

The Cloudmark fee controversy comes years into a push by Internet companies from small start-ups to major media conglomerates to convert their free offerings to paid services. It also coincides with efforts by some companies, including Yahoo, to capitalize on the spam quagmire by offering premium spam-blocking services along with basic free ones.

The decision by Cloudmark to charge $3.99 per month for SpamNet, its collaborative spam-blocking service, caught members off guard. The system, which blocks unsolicited commercial e-mail based on what messages users report, launched 11 months ago in a free beta, or test, version.

Whether Cloudmark promised that it would remain free remains a bone of contention between the management and beta testers.

[ Read more ]

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