Friday, September 26, 2008

How to reduce spam?

Roger Grimes wrote an interesting article in InfoWorld today, regarding how the domain registration system and large ISPs are not doing enough to fight spam.

Article here:

Helping spammers do a better job

One reader brought back the idea that we should charge for email to reduce spam. I wrote a response on one scenario to make it happen:

ICANN was set up to prevent overly harsh or biased regulation of domain registration. That does mean than anyone with a credit card can become a domain squatter, or a porn star. That is the price of free speech.
We all wanted domain registration to be managed by a non governmental, non-partisan entity. That means ICANN has very little recourse to fight bad behavior. 
So lets say that we should place a fee on sending email. Make it much smaller, like 1/2 cent, or .1 cent per message.  Who would collect the fee? Would the message be a 'bonded' message? 
I could envision national post offices offering a 'bonded' email service. And then spam filters would be engineered to whitelist the 'bonded sender' messages. The messages don't need to run through postal service machines, they just need to be authenticated against postal service machines. 
Probably we would end up with traditional email running alongside 'bonded' email as the market for it develops. 
This is entirely technically feasible. It is a business case to develop and deploy.
AOL offers 'bonded' email, Microsoft enhances Outlook to offer 'bonded' email, gmail offers 'bonded email', etc.
It replaces revenue the postal service is losing, the messages do not transit the postal service (i.e. they are not exposed to added snooping by the government), and it helps to ensure the sender is legitimate. (Or at least paid to spam us all)

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