When I read the recent story about an IT group in the UK that banned email, I had to stop and think about my own activity on a daily basis and how much email robs me of a productive day. I posed the question to our readers via a Zoomerang poll and very few thought that email would die any time soon.
The problem, in my opinion, isn't email. When email is utilized effectively, it's incredibly efficient. Having a written, concise, communication that clarifies goals and processes makes it easy for people to act on those emails. I don't think the UK company is helping itself by blocking a mainstream communication process that's universally adopted. They could have simply set some rules of engagement in how they managed their email internally.
The problem is SPAM and the process whereby we subscribe to email. In 20 years, we haven't changed anything in the email subscription process. Great emails by good companies continue to be blocked, while spammers continue to get email through. The impact on productivity (and the environment) is incredible.
Until an ISP (Internet Service Provider) steps up with a new methodology, the issue will continue. My recommendation would be for Google Apps to develop a permission registration process for marketers and manage the opt-in on their own servers. Companies like mine could register our domains with the ISP and turn off any communications that's not allowed. Each time we opt-in to a newsletter, the opt-in would register with the ISP… not the ESP (Email Service Provider). The ISP wouldn't need anything else… they could just block all email except the allowed publications.
Infographic by VisibleGains.