Paying if you spam (February 6, 2006)
sender payment is starting to show up in email. This is the most
plausible way to deal with spam I have heard of. The general idea is,
you set your spam filter to be very suspicious of senders you have
never heard of, possibly going to the extreme of not allowing unknown
mail at all. Senders who do not make it through the spam filter can
then pay a few pennies to send you email. The idea is that instead of
stopping spam through direct force, you make it costly. People can
still send you email you do not want, but they have to pay you.
There are plenty of clean ups possible once this basic framework is
in place. For example:
- People who use cryptographic signatures can better convince
an email filter that they are who they are. In turn, once
they have the setup to use signatures, they can also accept
encrypted email, which should probably be the norm anyway.
- There could be a universal stamping service developed, that all
email services can use to accept payment. The stamps would simply
be text inserted into the (encrypted) text of the email. This
would enable competition between stamp providers, and interoperability
between different email servers that require payment.