A cure for spam: rated e-mails?

by jhay on March 9, 2007

spammerI’ve been following an issue over at Problogger.net wherein Darren Rowse became a victim of a spammer who hijacked his domain and used it to send spam through his newsletter. I did not receive any spam from Darren so it’s either I’m among the lucky few whom the spammers missed or I’m no longer subscribed to the Problogger newsletter.

As always, Darren has managed to turn something disastrous like this into something positive by sharing the lessons he has learned from it.

Those lessons are indeed valuable to us but the problem remains at large; spammers are still out there or rather still reaching our inbox and making our lives miserable. Worst, they’re making money out of our human misery.

So what to do?

The comment thread over at Problogger has some interesting solutions in combating spam, but the one that caught my full attention was a suggestion by Kimber. She proposes the following:

Spam…well…spam, like direct mail and telemarketing, works. The biggest issue with spam is that its so blasted inexpensive to use. You want to limit spam? Put a cost on sending emails.

The emphasis is mine and that’s exactly what I’m talking about as it got me thinking. What if we do just that, charge everyone else for every e-mail they would send just like how SMS messages are charged. This way we could control the spread of spam or even the spread of non-commercial but still junk e-mail around cyberspace.

Sadly it would mean the end of free e-mail as we know it. Or would it?

Hold on though, the service could still remain free, but we would then be charged on a per-message-sent basis. Say one successfully sent e-mail would be charged a measely $0.02? Would that be too much? I’m just trying to play with this idea of Kimber to know the possibilities and its effects, even to come up with more solutions to spam.

Question now is, would we be willing to pay for every e-mail we send just to get rid of spam?

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