How do you pay for "free" email?

[Techconnect] A recent news post over at The New York Times tells us that companies will soon have to buy the electronic equivalent of a postage stamp if they want to be certain that their e-mail will be delivered to many of their customers.

America Online and Yahoo, two of the world's largest providers of e-mail accounts, are about to start using a system that gives preferential treatment to messages from companies that pay from 1/4 of a cent to a penny each to have them delivered. The senders must promise to contact only people who have agreed to receive their messages, or risk being blocked entirely.

So much for "free" email. Sad Is there anybody who really believed that these companies would give them email-accounts just from purely humanitarian reasons? Shock There's nothing for free in the commercial world (they have to raise money from somewhere) ... and not even Google is an exception from this.