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Janet Roberts

AOL, MSN Upgrades Promise Email Changes
By Janet Roberts

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Will new email features in the upgrades to AOL and MSN Internet services help or hinder newsletter deliveries to these subscribers?

It's anybody's guess right now. Tech writers who have gotten sneak previews of AOL Version 8.0 and MSN 8 have spent more time talking about broadband ventures, MSN's $300 million ad campaign and whether it will lure enough of AOL's 35 million users away to its 9-million-subscriber service.

Most say off-handedly that each service has ramped up its email services and added more anti-spam tools, without saying exactly what each one does. reported that MSN's revamped email service will combine the Web access of its Hotmail service with the junk-mail filtering of Microsoft's Outlook Express, in which users set rules either to filter or block email.

AOL has added a set of 12 email icons to help users identify which email came from where and what extras come with it, such as attachments or pictures.

We don't have the particulars on MSN's new service, but we can take you behind the scenes with AOL's email filters, thanks to alert Ezine-Tips reader Corbb O'Connor, who sent in the AOL Version 8.0 Help file for email.

Here it is:

"New Email Features in AOL 8.0

"The mail icons in your mailbox are designed to help you quickly distinguish whether the mail is from someone you know and whether it has an attached file or picture embedded in it.

"The mail in your mailbox will be categorized in one of three ways.

"People I Know - Mail from addresses stored in your Address Book or on your Buddy List (as well as special AOL mail, including Official AOL Mail and Voice Mail).

"Bulk Senders - Mail from commercial mailers who have committed to honor AOL stringent e-mail policies. This category may include newsletters, order confirmations, or other opt-in mailings.

"Unknown Senders - All mail that is not from either 'People I Know' or 'Bulk Senders.' As you use the AOL service and add more people to your Address Book or Buddy List, the number of messages you receive from unknown senders should diminish and are more likely to be junk mail. Look for these icons to tell at a glance who mail is from.

"Mail Type Description Icon
Mail from people you know
- with attachment
- with embedded picture
- with attachment and picture
- Official AOL Mail
- Official AOL Mail with picture
- voice mail
Bulk Mail
- with attachment
- with embedded picture
- with attachment and picture
Mail from unknown senders
- with attachment
- with embedded picture
- with attachment and picture"

Only subscribers who upgrade to 8.0 will use this new system. It's anybody's guess whether this will help get your newsletters delivered more efficiently, but at least now you know what your AOL readers are doing with their email.

Ezine-Tips for October 15, 2002

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