Re: Spam

Michael S. Lorrey (
Wed, 03 Feb 1999 14:18:42 -0500

Randall Randall wrote:

> >I wrote:

> >And how would you enforce this rule without government laws which force >people
> >to pay? You are just moving the focus of force from where it belongs, on
> >spammers, to the users.
> Who forces you to pay your internet provider? If the internet
> were a pay as you go system, you would pay for *sending*,
> not receiving. The problem here is that the recipient bears the
> cost of whatever is sent. If the sender must pay the recipient
> to receive data (even the most trivial charge would be
> sufficient), it would hardly affect the costs for most, but would
> put the "cost of spam" on the spammer. I do not think that this
> would eliminate spam entirely, but it would allow people who
> dislike spam to set a high threshold on incoming mail. This
> would mean that spammers pay exactly what it is worth to the
> recipient to spam them, and can choose to spam only those
> who are not bothered much by it, as junk mailers do now.

Sounds all fine and dandy. Yet how do you force ISPs to charge per email? As I recall, that was how it used to be with most non-institutional email providers. It quickly devolved to the way it is today. Now here is a market driven solution that I thought up that only depends on standardized use of micropayments, and enables the receivers to cause the spammers to pay the cost of communicating with them:

Set the ISP mail servers up with a daemon such that any person with an email account can establish a list of preferred correspondents, which the email user does not charge a 1-5 cent fee. Anyone else who is unknown to the email box owner must pay the entry fee to communicate with the email box owner. If the owner chooses not to put them on his preferred list, they must either pay the charge or get bounced. The charges that others pay can go toward the mail box owners monthly ISP fees....

How about that? I'm sure that spammers will either go broke or fade into obsolescence....

Mike Lorrey