Green politics, Copyright Microsoft Corporation
Microsoft Corporation is trying to buy Yahoo Incorporated. If it succeeds, it will own email service to about half of North American progressive activists. Due to progressives' inexplicable preference for Yahoo Groups, it will own most electronic forums for and about progressive organizing.
Microsoft already owns Hotmail.com, MSN.com, and Live.com. Yahoo owns Yahoo Mail. Due to outsourcing by consumer entertainment companies Yahoo also owns most email service under domains including sbcglobal.net, rogers.com, ameritech.net, and dozens of others. Roughly half the addresses subscribed to mailing lists on my servers are under that list. That fraction is fairly typical. After the merger, Microsoft will own nearly half the email addresses in North America. That will put it in a position to start making subtle changes to the format of email messages, and give it the leverage to take control of the public email system.
Yahoo also owns Yahoo Groups, formerly Egroups, which is by far the most popular domain for hosting electronic mailing lists.
Chances are your Green local's mailing list is on Yahoo Groups. Likewise whatever local issue groups you work with. Why? Because they're really easy to set up, and because you didn't read the fine print you thought they were "free."
Public corporations don't give things away for free. Broadcast television gives away programming to get you to watch commercials. You're not the customer, you're the product! The advertiser is the customer.
Yahoo bought Egroups during the Internet boom as a quick and easy way to buy "content" and "mindshare." It holds a copyright on everything anybody ever posted to a Yahoogroups list. It owns your Yahoo profile and the rosters of your lists. It gets to mine and sell that data. It gets to terminate your service without notice and without recourse. And it could start charging for the service next week. Have you backed up your Yahoogroups message archive? Could you if you wanted to? What would be the impact on your organization if one day its Yahoogroup disappeared?
Now go through the previous paragraph, and replace "Yahoo" with "Microsoft." Does your organization do anything Microsoft might not like? What makes you think your list will survive if Microsoft buys Yahoo?