Goodmail Systems, the e-mail certification company whose recent agreement with AOL has renewed users’ (unfounded) fears of an “e-mail tax”, has taken the unusual step of appealing to the urban legends reference site Snopes.com as part of its defense.
Goodmail’s home page reads,
Recently a coalition of activists used uninformed statements and misleading rhetoric to demand that AOL and Yahoo! kill CertifiedEmail in its cradle. We’d like to dispel the myths and misrepresentations about CertifiedEmail. Get the facts straight from Goodmail.
If you’d rather hear it from an objective third party, see what Esther Dyson has to say, or visit Snopes.com, the well-regarded site that researches and debunks urban myths. They have already dismissed this controversy as “urban myth.”
It’s interesting that Goodmail doesn’t identify Esther Dyson, but does tell us what Snopes.com is. I think this may have to do with the complex agreement between writer and reader, and how much work the latter is willing to put into the act of communication. It implies (I think) that we automatically fill in the blanks when we’re asked to pay attention to something an individual says – she must be some sort of expert – but we need to be told why a Web site is relevant to the discussion. Especially one with a funny, non-descriptive name like “Snopes”.
Or maybe everyone but me knows who Esther Dyson is already.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a company to cite Wikipedia now.