non-censorous spam control (was Re: Spam is Information?)

Mark Grant mark at
Fri Aug 8 01:20:13 PDT 1997

On Thu, 31 Jul 1997, Jeff Barber wrote:

> Network bandwidth used for the purpose of email transport,
> even with increased spamming factored in, is simply too low to justify
> charging much for it.  It will still be *way* cheaper than surface mail.

Yep; which is why it's a bad idea. We don't need net postage to pay the
ISP, we need net postage to pay *me* to read the spam. Making them pay
$0.0001 to send a message will have little impact, but making them pay me
$1 to read it certainly will (i.e. my filters could block all potential
spam unless it includes a dollar of ecash). I have no problem with
spammers subsidising my Net access, I just object to having to pay for
their crap. 

> So unless the percentage of people who delete it instantly, sight-unseen,
> is higher than I suspect or new tools make it easy to filter out all
> spam, it's going to remain economically advantageous for the spammers
> to target broadly.

I've seen one spam in the last two weeks. The other 100k or so was blocked
by my filters; I'm almost starting to miss it. When you actually sit down
and analyse the spam most of it has so many obvious 'spam-tags' that you
can easily work out a set of rules to catch them. The only disadvantage is
that on a couple of occasions it's caught mail from friends when they sent
it through a site which appends advertising rather than from their normal


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