Messaging Pipeline is the online publication for IT professionals that delivers news, reviews, product announcements, in-depth product research, expert advice, trends analysis, and hands-on how-to details about all forms of computer-based messaging including e-mail, instant messaging, collaboration tools, and videoconferencing. Copyright 2006 Tue, 28 Mar 2006 02:32:46 -0500 Goodmail Saga Continues, Dyson Tells It Like It Is Applause goes out to Esther Dyson for her recent op-ed piece in the New York Times, . She points out that Goodmail's service is like "FedEx for e-mail," except that Goodmail provisions its service atop the ISPs' services. So it's more like FedEx without its own planes. But I sort of like that analogy because the opposing forces seem to be conveniently overlooking some obvious facts here.

First, and most important, it doesn't matter if the letter is sent bulk, first class, second-day or overnight, somebody has to open it on the other end. And much, if not most, of the bulk mail addressed to "resident" goes straight to the recycle bin. Wouldn't it be great if you could say, "Please stop wasting paper on me" or "keep me on your mailing list."

That's the service that Goodmail is offering e-mail senders and receivers. It's good for legitimate senders because they don't want to be continually annoying people with unwanted messages anymore than they want their messages filtered out as spam before the receivers have a chance to decide for themselves. And it's good for receivers because they can see before they open a message if it is coming from an approved sender.

The other thing that the coalition of public interest groups and non-profit organizations known as seem to ignore in their arguments is that major ISPs like AOL need to continually find better ways to hinder those that abuse the "free and open Internet." If they don't, they will lose customers. I'm not convinced that Goodmail is the ultimate solution for the heavy volume of virus-laden spam and phishing attacks but, as Dyson points out, it's an idea and ideas need to be explored because Spam is the real enemy here.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Thu, 23 Mar 2006 13:18:33 -0500 Getting Ahead Of Ourselves: The AOL E-Mail Battle Continues The can of worms that has become America Online's certified e-mail delivery strategy just won't go away. It's not that other e-mail providers haven't offered the very same or similar services; it's just that this can of worms is being used to catch the biggest fish in the lake.

AOL will soon begin offering a fee-based, guaranteed e-mail deliver service based on GoodMail's Certified Email technology and the coalition is ratcheting up the pressure against the move. One assumes that the coalition's strategy to get AOL to cave would send the message to other providers that they're next.

The coalition, now over 500-members strong, continues to mount a PR campaign. The latest move brought California Senator Dean Florez (D) into the fray with a comment and a promise that he would look further into the "risks faced by consumers under the AOL proposal." In fact, a new California task force, the Select Committee on E-Commerce, Wireless Technology and Consumer Driven Programming, plans to hold a hearing on the matter later this month.

I'm still a little hazy on what those "risks" might be. While AOL is effectively setting up another tier of service, it isn't changing its existing service. So what are those risks? It all seems to hinge on the coalition's speculation that the existing e-mail service will deteriorate as AOL invests more in the new service. I can't really believe that AOL would do something so foolishly detrimental to is core business, but if it did, the risk would be that customers would walk.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Wed, 15 Mar 2006 13:47:44 -0500 More E-mail Management Tips You can't have message management without messaging policies and you can't have policies until managers can decide and agree on what they should be. recently published a list of some of the key decisions in implementing messaging a document archiving projects.

The first thing on the list should be rather obvious, but determining who has responsibility for archiving can set the tone for the whole project. Raise your hand IT department because it can't be left up to users. Users will apply their own logic to the problem or just assume that someone else is doing it behind the scenes. And who else can build a policy-driven automated archiving system that makes you users' assumption valid?

The next tip from Ferris: make sure your mobile users are kept in the archiving loop. Not only do you need to make sure the documents housed on mobile devices get properly archived, those road warriors also need access to their archived messages. Ferris recommends they access their repositories in an offline state. That means you need to make it easy to sync with the archive when they connect to the network.

The next decision will cut across many functional boundaries and bring the legal and compliance folks to the table in a big way: deciding what types of documents need to be archived. This decision can cause so much internal debate that organizations end up throwing in the towel and instituting an archive-everything policy. There's not much to offer in the way of advice here because every organization has its unique requirements and obligations. Archiving everything might remove the debate but leave a mess on the back end when documents need to be discovered and produced. There are no standards to rely on here so if you opt for an archiving system with its own policy engine, do plenty of testing before you deploy to make sure it is archiving what you tell it to archive. For now, err on the side of caution.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Wed, 08 Mar 2006 14:13:09 -0500 How Does An Optional Service Become An "E-Mail Tax?" AOL must be feeling a bit picked on at this point. A collection of organizations that starting making noise last week about its upcoming fee-based certified e-mail service has banded together into a coalition of at least 50, mostly non-profit, organizations decrying the service provider's plan to deploy Goodmail's Certified Email as a destructive "e-mail tax."

And AOL has a right to feel singled out since it is far from the first e-mail provider to engage a third party like Bonded Sender, Habeas and Goodmail to provide a fee-based service to authenticate senders. In fact the list is fairly extensive. In addition to Yahoo, which has a similar deal with Goodmail, Microsoft, Earthlink and Google also offer similar services.

In a sense, it's more a testament to the size of AOL's customer base that, suddenly, another such move could spell the demise of the "free and open Internet." When AOL makes a move in the public e-mail realm, everyone feels it.

"E-mail tax" is an emotionally charged term right now and the coalition is making the most of it. But in reality, Certified Email is an optional service. I haven't heard of any taxes that were optional. And last I heard, AOL wasn't changing any of its free services.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Thu, 02 Mar 2006 00:38:51 -0500 Think Before You Send Isn't it about time business organizations put some teeth behind their messaging policies? I mean e-mail has been a staple of business communication for a least a decade, and we still treat it with kid gloves. But the medium has become so ubiquitous and so darn easy that we don't stop to think before banging out a missive and tapping the send button.

For some reason, we can distance ourselves when communicating via electronic messaging. A thought pops into our heads, we send off a message. If we have to confront someone, e-mail keeps our exposure to a minimum. If we have a problem at work, we can easily go over someone's head, start rumors, or talk to the competition. If we have a simple question, why figure it out for ourselves when we can spam our co-workers and make them do the work? Why explain something when we can just include an attachment? And never mind that the attachment also includes sensitive information that may not be appropriate for everyone on the distribution.

A business-related phone conversation is still a more intimate interaction. It often requires more forethought to navigate the intermediaries, and more composure when speaking in real time. But e-mail has broken down all the boundaries, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but it has also apparently removed the need for forethought. You can Cc: the CEO on the most mundane questions, which creates a new and unnecessary stream of follow-ups. And e-mail makes it easy and compelling to over-delegate.

The problem is also manifesting itself in higher education. Professors routinely give out their e-mail addresses to students, and the result, according to a recent New York Times article, is that it has made them too approachable and hinders their productivity. In the article, , professors lament that e-mail has made them available around the clock and open to a barrage of questions, demands, complaints and critiques that border on inappropriate. If an issue is not important enough to meet with the professor during office hours, it can be communicated via e-mail. And students don't seem to understand that what they write in e-mails reflects on their judgment and can result in bad recommendations.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Tue, 28 Feb 2006 14:57:50 -0500 E-mail Admins Play "Which Would You Rather" To illustrate the challenges of managing e-mail, took a humorous route in its survey of more than 100 IT pros, sponsored by Zenprise, with a series of "which would you rather" questions.

I guess this group of administrators has it pretty tough. The survey focused on a single support ill; they were asked to rate the level of difficulty in determining the underlying cause of e-mail problems. The Survey revealed that:

]]> Messaging Pipeline Fri, 24 Feb 2006 18:14:31 -0500 Hip And Cool Means Growth, And More Security Concerns A little while back I blogged about how messaging technologies have become "cool" and are enjoying "hip" status among those that define "hip" standards for our society, the youth and young adult markets. Well, I'm thinking the vendor and service provider communities are finding this all pretty cool, as well. , in a series of recent reports, projects some pretty heady growth for messaging-related products and it's not all coming from messaging security.

For instance, the e-mail client installed base will increase, according to the market watcher, from about 1.9 billion seats in 2006 to nearly 3.6 billion seats in 2010, representing an average annual growth rate of 18 percent. Now, Radicati didn't say how many of those mail clients will be desktop clients and how many will be mobile, but based on the hip, trend-setting youth and young adult thumb-typing set, I would assume a growing percentage of that installed base becomes more mobile.

And how important is this group? Radicati reports that people under the age of 29 will account for 44 percent of worldwide e-mail users in 2006. And worldwide, the importance of the North America market begins to decrease as messaging technologies take hold in Asia/Pacific and the rest of the world. North America currently accounts for 22 percent of the global e-mail user population, according to Radicati, which projects that percentage to decrease to 18 percent by 2009.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Fri, 24 Feb 2006 12:03:18 -0500 Presence Meets Collaboration On The Conferencing Front The integration of collaboration and presence technologies continues to fascinate me for two reasons. First, because it all makes so darn much sense. I mean you can work with a virtual room full of people from your PC in Timbuktu or down the hall. Presence capabilities take the remoteness out of remote collaboration.

And the other reason it's fascinating is because the enabling technology is all available, but it requires vendors and service providers to work together to integrate and provision it, so it's been slow to happen.

So when the key players start playing together, it starts to get very interesting. That's what happened this week when and teamed up to offer a version of the AIM client with the WebEx collaboration and conferencing tools built in.

The intent is to deliver the AIM Pro version of the instant messaging client for business users in a hosted fashion with the full WebEx collaboration suite available from the AIM interface, according to Brian Curry, AOL's vice president of Premium and Subscription Services.

That means business users can use their IM client to initiate online conferencing, calendar sharing, desktop sharing, audio and video conferencing, multimedia presentations, webinars, online training, remote support, etc., in a addition to the instant messaging features of AIM.

The other piece of good news is that AIM Pro users will have access to all the participating IM federation networks that AOL works with, including IBM/Lotus users, so your base of collaboration contacts is larger than the AIM universe.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Tue, 21 Feb 2006 18:56:11 -0500 Pay-For-Play Plan To Reduce Spam Doesn't Ring True Anything that ISPs can do to prevent spam from reaching my inbox is usually just fine by me, except when it bars the door on messages that I was supposed to get. But the recent news that AOL and Yahoo plan to charge bulk e-mail senders for "guaranteed delivery" sort of misses for me.

One gets the feeling that we'll be seeing just as much or more spam and the fact that someone is chipping in a little more to get it sent doesn't lessen the annoyance.

The service, The service, which would be provided through Goodmail Systems, is said to certify the e-mail as coming from the actual retailer or marketer it purports to come. And for its part, Goodmail says the recipients must agree that they wish to receive e-mail from the sender. So in that sense, it's not just opening the floodgates. But hey, you still have to get the e-mail to opt in or out.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Fri, 10 Feb 2006 20:10:51 -0500 On Campus: Combining Social Networking and Social Media College students have long been amenable users of any technology that allows them to communicate about common interests and now they can combine the best of all the social networking sites and the available social media on one site.

The new service, from Los Angeles-based Uspot, allows college students to create, share and communicate in one location and through common interests such as entertainment, social events and hobbies.

Uspot claims to unite two of the hottest on-line segments today, social networking and social media. It is the first site to offer the unique blend of social networking and rich media sharing technologies. Unlike typical social networking sites that focus on meeting people nationwide, often strangers, The Uspot connects people with common interests and allows them to explore those interests together, according to company officials.

The difference, I guess, is that the focus is not so much on meeting or, in some cases, dating other people, but rather in finding out how deep those common interests go. The site doesn't feel like a dating service, and it isn't.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Wed, 08 Feb 2006 14:39:33 -0500 Working In Unreal-Time There's no getting around the fact that the current generation of knowledge workers is overworked. The messaging technologies that promised to make our lives easier have, instead, made us more efficient and elevated performance expectations. We are now able juggle more balls at once and require less support personnel to accomplish bigger projects in less time.

And we're working harder than ever.

David Ferris of Ferris Research recently wrote down his thoughts in the on why this is the case. He observes that all of the stages in the work processes before messaging technologies took hold are now compressed or eliminated. Often times, there were breaks between the various stages, hand-offs that allowed natural breathers or downtime. Documents were dictated and prepared, sent somewhere and sent back again. It all took days and weeks.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Fri, 03 Feb 2006 14:26:19 -0500 Who You Gonna Call? Will IT managers throw up there hands trying to manage multiple messaging environments from multiple vendors while trying to prevent malware attacks and meet compliance requirements? And by throw up
their hands I mean hand the whole mess over to a service provider.

That seems to be what is hinting at in its annual Message Management & Threat Report, which was released earlier this week.

In the survey-based report the message management provider said 2005 was a "saturation point" for IT managers. I can
certainly believe it. Combating the constant e-mail and IM threats alone was reason to call in reinforcements. But throw in archiving, disaster recovery, backup, VoIP management and other responsibilities and messaging became a major time sink for IT last year.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Wed, 01 Feb 2006 12:42:03 -0500 Messaging Becoming The Sizzle On The Steak Did ya happen to notice that messaging is really cool?

I'm not basing this observation on the fact that our nation's youth are walking around clicking on their cell phones like there is no tomorrow. They obviously think its cool, and so do the service providers, but the software development community must think messaging is pretty cool, too. All the recent really big, really cool software product announcements have included some form of integrated messaging.

Yes, finding unique and useful ways to integrate, e-mail, instant messaging and voice messaging into applications is becoming a key differentiator and looks to represent a major battleground for upcoming heavyweight clashes.

Just since the start of the year we've seen Microsoft, IBM, Google, Yahoo, AOL and Research In Motion all starting to move their chess pieces with greater urgency and form various alliances, all in an effort to strengthen their positions in the messaging space and bridge the enterprise and wireless worlds.

One might think Microsoft would get a little sidetracked dealing with all the security issues that its messaging technologies have wrought lately (did you catch Fox Sports personality Terry Bradshaw asking Microsoft's billionaire co-founder Paul Allen if he could help him with a little e-mail problem?), but the Redmondites seem to be keeping their eye on the ball. We saw reports that Microsoft's Office Live service will likely include a Web-based e-mail client dubbed "Office Live Mail."

]]> Messaging Pipeline Wed, 25 Jan 2006 12:03:17 -0500 SPAM Is A Labor Intensive Problem For Small Businesses I've always assumed that smaller business bore a disproportionate load of spam. It just sort of made sense that would be the case since they are not able to deploy the technology or the resources against the problem that larger enterprises are able to muster.

So when Postini said that one of its survey findings in it's upcoming Message Security & Management Annual Report for 2006 was that small businesses receive five times more spam per user/per day than larger companies when comparing smallest to largest companies, I said, "ah ha."

So then I wondered if the anti-spam tools and firewall appliances targeted specifically for small businesses were not up to the task. I didn't think that would be the case, and I didn't think that SMBs would be leaving themselves completely unprotected. Not even individual users can afford to do that anymore.

]]> Messaging Pipeline Wed, 18 Jan 2006 12:16:56 -0500 Power To The User: Do It Yourself Making users responsible and accountable for managing their own e-mail is one way to reduce the burden on overworked IT staffs. And according to a recent survey, that is exactly what is starting to happen.

It's not like the technical staffs managing large corporate e-mail servers don't already have enough on their hands taking care of things like disaster recovery, legal discovery, compliance and storage management. So why not make it possible for users and compliance managers to perform their own search and discovery on current and historical messages without relying on IT administrators?

The Osterman study, commissioned by , found that those responsible for managing large MS Exchange installations were actively looking for self-service tools to help lighten the load. Now these were big Exchange shops with an average number of mailboxes of more than 9,000. So you know the burden on staff is already heavy before you throw in demands from internal compliance officers and external legal counsel.

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