Is there a good "spam solution?"

I’m starting this thread in GD because I’d really like to see some discussion on practical solutions, rather than a bunch more spam complaints.

The state of Minnesota just passed a law requiring email advertisers to include the letters ADV in the subject line of emails, and pornographic spam to include ADV-ADULT in the subject line.
Article Here

The chief author of the bill admits that it won’t reduce the amount of spam, but should make it easy for the recipients to recognize and delete without reading.

Personally, I don’t see this as enforcable at all, but I have no idea how the problem should be addressed.
I’d hate to see further governmental regulation. We would get more people involved who don’t really understand the technology passing laws. Remember the urban legend about a 5 cent tax on every email sent? It wouldn’t be too hard to convince some politicians that this would be a viable solution.

Do we simply wait until email servers start collapsing from the weight of spam? Or, are spammers going to have to start policing themselves?

Or, do the fine people of the SDMB have some workable ideas?

Further government regulation in any one country will never be a large-scale solution, since email is by definition not geographically limited.

I’m hoping against further government regulation. I agree it would never be a large-scale solution, but that wouldn’t necessarily stop the politicians from trying.

Yes, get the Government to start a War on Spam, arrest US based spammers, execute them, and bomb countries that support spammers. Of course, this is overkill; spam is annoying but it is not life or death. And besides, spammers are like roaches, you kill one and another pops up elsewhere, so even this might not be that effective.

Good spam solution? Don’t give out your e-mail address.

I keep two e-mail addresses, one that I give out to companies and websites and another that I use in personal correspondence. Works for me anyway.

As soon as spam stops becoming profitable, it’ll die out on its own. Until then, we’re probably stuck with it.

Make false return addresses illegal.

once micropayments become cheap (if ever) some entrepreneur (like PayPal) might consider offering email where the email would be bounced unless

  1. The email address is specifically allowed by the user. (This might happen automatically if you email someone. It could be overridden of course.)
  2. the sender pays a minor fee (10 cents to one dollar) to have the message appear in the receiver’s mailbox.

Honestly, assuming that we as a society are interested in doing something about this, I think that what would help would be some sort of public education campaign that includes the following:
[li]How to spot Spam.[/li][li]Why Spam is bad (the measurable effects to the average person of bogged down serves, resources used and so forth).[/li][li]Why you should never, ever buy something from a Spammer.[/li][/ul]

My solution would be this:

Each person is at birth given one “official” e-mail address. Buying a domain or getting another e-mail address req

My solution would be this:

Each person is at birth given one “official” e-mail address. Buying a domain or getting another e-mail address requires verification via the official address. You’re legally responsible for all e-mail sent from any of your addresses or domains.

If we can get around the forged return address problem, this should do the trick.

Sorry about the double post. Also I’d like to mention, since I’ve brought up Spam Arrest earlier, that Spam Arrest sucks.

Interesting article.

I’m curious…the article mentions people being afriad of the “opt-out” link…what happens with spam if you press that?

The spammer gets your e-mail address and adds it to his list of confirmed working e-mail addresses, which he uses and sells to other spammers. In other words: more spam.

None of these have ANY chance of working. The net is international, remember?

I don’t see anything working better than the Real Time Black Hole Lists where ISP share information on which mail servers allow open relays then simply reject email from those servers. Do that enough and it should have an effect.

The question is, will that ever happen? Sending spam costs next to nothing. All you need is an Internet connection and some scripts.

I don’t understand why spam can’t be filtered at the server. Most e-mail servers these days check all incoming mail against a list of known viruses to filter them out. A spam database would be enormous but is it impractical to manage?

One suggestion I heard is that all email will require a ‘stamp’ - a micropayment. It only needs to be in the region of 1/10th or 1/100th of a penny, since spammers rely on being able to send millions of emails at a time. I suppose it would be relatively easy to block all email from an account except stuff which comes from a server which recognises an international electronic stamp protocol. Or something.


It pretty much requires that no one ever buy anything advertised in spam. Not bloody likely.


Even the best known techniques don’t block all spam.

Sounds a bit like the 602P UL that Hillary Clinton and Ernest Lazio fell for.

Once on a news piece about spam a reporter stood outside a building that composes and sends a lot of it in Canada. They didn’t specify its location, but I say we hunt it down and deliver a garbage truck full of Chinese food menus and dry cleaner coupons onto its front walkway.

Not only that, but the main product spammers sell is their e-mail list. They collect e-mail addresses and sell them to other spammers. It’s like a pyramid scheme - it’ll never end.

Who says we need to block all spam? I’d pay good money for a system that blocks 98% of my spam, provided there’s absolutely no false positives (actual mail mistakenly rejected as spam).

The “stamp” idea doesn’t sound feasible to me. How do you convert the whole Internet to a paid mail system? It’d have to be a new system incompabile with the current e-mail protocol.