Spam and e-mail payments
Posted by aogTuesday, 10 June 2003 at 17:44
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Unsolicited e-mail and what to do about it is the meme du jour and I always like to be part of a crowd. Through some link chain I ended up at a post at the Gweilo Diaries
about this subject. There is some argument for legislation but I don't see that having any real effect. It's mostly foreign or boiler room type stuff so there'll never be anyone you can actually catch for it. I've always liked the idea of postage, but one of the commentors
claims that this just won't without massive federal regulation that would be worse than the current problem. I find that argument very unpersuasive. The error seems to be the assumption that the government would issue and collect the postage. Clearly that's not going to work. But there are many alternative scenarios that don't involve any government action.
The first one would be that AOL announces the following:
- AOL is adopting a postage system involving BigBankCorp.
- AOL users can declare that any delivered mail must have postage, which is collected by AOL for the user (minus some small vigorish, say 10%). Mail without postage is silently discarded.
- AOL users can exempt AOL in general or particular e-mail addresses in specific from postage requirements.
AOL would make a little profit and provide a real service differentiator. People who didn't like it wouldn't be inconvenienced. Your friends don't have to pay. Wouldn't you be tempted to sign up?