Paying 1 cent per e-mail sent as the ultimate way to fight spam?

As discussed here.

So, would you be willing to pay a cent per e-mail sent, if it meant eliminating spam alltogether?

That would depend entirley on who gets the cent, and how this revenue would be spent. If it’s just increasing some ISP’s bottom line, then no.

I agree with the premise but I think that if we all start paying for email it’s only a matter of time before that one-cent to counter spam becomes a ever increasing monthly fee. Slippery slope and all. Once Hotmail, Yahoo, GMail and your ISP get you to spend a penny a message how long before they decide to charge everyone $5 a month. This would probably be the end of free web mail as we know it.

Also, there’s no way to enforce it that I can imagine. I’m sure people would find a way to get those emails sent without paying the fee and policing it would be essentially impossible.

How many e-mails does the SDMDB server send out each day? Who’s going to pay for that? How are you going to charge a spammer from Nigeria? How are you going to charge the poor sap whose computer has been hijacked and is acting a mail-bot?

The real solution to spam is to teach everyone to never, ever respond to it. Spammers would be out of business in a few months.

Spam would be almost completely stopped if ISPs blocked outgoing SMTP traffic from residential internet connections that bypasses their own mail servers. Backbone carriers should require it as a contractual requirement for connection.

It’s a simple technological fix.


No. For one, spam doesn’t bother me. I get at least a hundred spams per day, but my filtering is doing just fine. Maybe one or two creep into my inbox, but they’re a click away from deletion.

Even before filtering, it took just a few minutes to get rid of the spam. Inconvenient, yes. Worth having free email? You bet.

As mentioned, who’s going to pay for the SDMB to send emails? Who’s going to pay for a LOT of the free email we take for granted? I know my credit card company isn’t going to absorb that penny when they alert me about my statement (though they do absorb a few cents when they snail mail them – but do I get a few cents credited as a result of their saving money by emailing it? No. We’ll save that thread for another day ;))

I’m not worried about it happening, though. Getting all of the ISPs and email providers of the world to agree on a standardized, unified system? Even with the support of email users? Won’t happen. Everyone’s going to end up wanting a cut. And shortly thereafter, along will come some hot new “free email! just look at these ads!” site. There goes that idea.

For a multitude of reasons, this is a hopelessly futile idea.

I like the idea. If there were mail services that charged a penny to send my email out or bring one in to me, I’d jump at that. The existence of such mail services would not prevent services of the present type from continuing to do what they do.

In fact a daydream of mine is to have a service for email and telephone that had the ability to charge people a dollar if they emailed or called me and I complained after the fact that it was unwanted. They’d be a gate blocking access to my attention. If somebody doesn’t want to risk the dollar, the service won’t pass their information along to me.

The solution is to make it a tax. Tax the recipient ISP 1 cent for each incoming email they receive. Auditors will make sure everyone complies, and the receiving ISP will pass the costs on to the sender. And if the recipient ISPs are being charged for incoming mail, they will damn sure make sure they know who the email is coming from so they can charge them.

A penny per email but you get 10,000 free emails a month.

Spammers still have to pay, real people don’t.

then they’d probably send 9999 a month from god knows how many different addresses. :wink:

I’m not completely sure one cent would crush their business model.

I vaguely remember something about advertisers paying more than that for every costumer who sees or hears their ad.

Hell NO. This proposal is exactly like any other “pay-to-avoid-the-ads” proposal for any other media, except with email I already don’t have to pay to avoid the ads. By being intelligent and cautious about where I provide my email addresses, I cut my spam down to nil. I send several emails per week, which would cost me several cents per week more than I am currently paying to avoid the spam.

Well, that’s because costumers are highly desirable as customers :slight_smile:

On topic now, yes, I would pay. I assume the cost of fighting spam is embedded in the prices I pay now for ISP service, antivirus, and software. I get good results, but still a couple per day, plus the constant battle against semi-spam from merchants who want to send me newsletters and sale notices. I’d rather pay that money to send my emails and have better spam control.

There is essentially no truly free email. There is only email that is provided at no charge to some people because it is subsidized by others. I would be willing to bear my email costs explicitly to fight spam.

I’m not sure a penny is the right cost. But some appropriate small cost could be found.

>By being intelligent and cautious about where I provide my email addresses, I cut my spam down to nil.

Tall words, Spatial. How do you get all the people who know your email address to be similarly intelligent and cautious?

I try to be smart about it too, but my adult children know my email address, and one of them tried this “evite” thing that manages invitations and various other aspects of organizing events, for free. By “for free” they mean they also sell all the recipient email addresses that senders enter into their web site to use the service. They also include a graphic on the invitation that is one pixel in size and the same color as the background, but they give that graphic file a different coded name for each invitation that goes out, and when you open your evite they record that somebody - which can only be you - read that one pixel graphic file. Thus they have proven that the email address points to a real person that opens their email. The kids didn’t know about any of this - and this is just one event! How can you control this kind of thing out there beyond your reach?

By blocking remote images in e-mails.

You can add me to the list of people who get zero spam, at work or at home. I do get unwanted commercial e-mail, but it’s only from known companies that I’m too lazy to contact to be removed from their lists.
The one that irritates me most is; my wife signed herself up for a free account there, but gave my e-mail address.

The subject of the OP has been covered, but I’ll contribute this do-it-yourself form letter.

The problem is:
Spammers aren’t sending their own spam, they are using YOUR computer to send it. Do you want to spend 1¢ for each of the emails that some bot is sending from your hijacked machine?

Have to agree with Beowulff. The fact of the matter is, I own my own domain name. Someone out there is spoofing my name (actually, I figure it’s a whole lot of people), and I literally get 1000-1400 pieces of ‘bounced’ spam every day that goes directly to me, as I own the domain. Sure, I filter 99% of it, but still… I’d rather not get charged at least fourteen bucks a day (remember, these are the -bounced- ones) because some insert pit-appropriate name here has decided to use my identity on his return address line.

With the new email system it would not be possible to spoof emails in the classic way, as since it would be a pay system there would have to be a lot more authetication by the people who are passing it on (especially under my system where the recipient ISPs will be paying for it to the government.)

And how do you propose to make everyone in the world upgrade/update their mail system to one that costs money to use. From the spam solutions.txt

Authenticated SMTP works well for people sending mail via a remote server, so non-authenticated SMTP should not be required, and can be blocked at the ISP (unless you have a registered server, or use a trusted mail router). This deals with botnet spam, the major source of spam emails. Other sources of spam (open relays and spammer owned smtp servers) are more static and can be handled by blocklists.


I really don’t see how a system where the *recipient * ISP pays would work. Because for them to pass on the cost appropriately, they’d have to charge their customers for the emails they’d like to receive. (I am picturing the mailman showing up at my house with a bag of stuff, asking me for 7 stamps for the letters in his hand …)

The payment structure would need to be something like a prepaid phone card. It would change the business model of people who wanted to give away email access based on advertising revenue from users, but presumably they could work something out.

The spam.txt thing makes some good points, but some of the thinking behind it seems just as irrational as what it appears to be criticizing. What if they were faced with a proposal for the status quo? Would they say “Sounds good. We employ armies of techies to keep updating software that needs to be maintained on a bajillion end-user machines. And it kind of works.”