Another Most Ineffective Spam Solution - wednesday 2006-03-01 0710 last modified 2006-03-01 0735
Categories: Nerdy, Daily Grind
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Have you heard the one about AOL ruining email for everybody?

From the depths of Slashdot, the form letter produced by the old your spam solution sucks because... form:

Your solution advocates a technical and market-based approach to fighting spam. Your idea will not work. Here is why it won't work. (One or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

  • Mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
  • Users of email will not put up with it
  • Requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
  • Many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
  • Spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists

Specifically, your plan fails to account for

  • Extreme profitability of spam

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

  • Ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
  • Whitelists suck
  • Sending email should be free
  • Why should we have to trust you and your servers?
  • Feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem

Furthermore, this is what I think about you:

  • This is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.

In an amazing move, AOL has come up with a substantial amount of fodder for the form letter since it doesn't contain a lot of the reasons covered by the Dear AOL movement (new item candidates: your idea is actually a thinly veiled profit making scheme; violates core internet interoperability principles; falsely correlates legitimacy with wealth; harms recipients; harms senders).

The Internet changes the rules. Now a corporate entity with whom I have no business relationship is able to impede my freedom to communicate with its customers, forcing me into a relationship if I want to do what everybody else everywhere else does for free. That isn't right:

You can't turn your responsibility to your customers into an externality that the rest of the network has to pay for.

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Ryan's Journal: AOL and Mail, 2006

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