Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Not So Canned Spam

Anyone who knows me can tell you, I am extremely anti-spam. In the early days of spam, I went out of my way to get ISPs to drop accounts that sent spam. These days, that kind of war is no longer feasible. The spammers are winning and there is very little being done to stop them.

One of the proposed methods to stop spam is to charge on a per e-mail basis. When I first heard this, I thought it was one of worst ideas of all time. Even Bill Gates has jumped on this bandwagon to nowhere. But I did hear one version that I thought was a pretty neat idea. In order for an e-mail server to deliver the e-mail to a user, it would require some sort of account that could be charged. If the user accepted the e-mail, no charge would be made. If the user reported the e-mail as spam, the account would be charged.

The real problem that I have with fee-based anti-spam schemes is that they still require massive changes to the infrastructure of the e-mail system on the Internet. If we’re going to make these kinds of changes to the servers, why not just make e-mail traceable in the first place, then prosecute the heck out of people who don’t honor unsubscribe requests. If we start charging for e-mail, we will severely cripple the spirit of free communications on the Internet.

Regardless of the best solution to spam, I doubt we will see any truly effective solutions for a long time. Even if we settle on a standard, implementation of the solution will take many years. Meanwhile, I suggest taking a look at some of the top-of-the-line spam filters. At the rate spam is increasing, you’re going to need it.

» Posted by Queue at 10:33 PM (ET)
Category: Rant


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