For most people, geeks or not, modern life is just this incredibly complex problem amenable to no good obvious solution. But we can peck around the edges of it we can make little shortcuts. And once you point out that everyone does that, once you coin the term, it's really easy to pile a whole lot of shared behaviors into one neat pile.
Perversely, AOL's pay-to-send system would actually reward AOL financially for degrading free email for regular customers as they attempt to push people into paid-mail. AOL should be working to ensure its spam filters don't block legitimate mail, not charging protection money to bypass those filters and offering band-aids to allow some select nonprofits to bypass them as well.