I don't know about you, but beautiful Russian girls are just dying to meet me. They're all 26 years old, most of them are named Olga, and from their descriptions they sound totally hot. But first I have to buy a fantastic luxury timepiece, change my Facebook login, get a bucketful of knockoff prescriptions, and pick up that parcel waiting for me at UPS or DHL (even though I never ordered anything).
Yes, spam is ruling my life these days. My inbox is overflowing with it. Amazingly, it seems to have gotten worse since the last time I ranted about it, if that's possible.
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And yes, I use multiple spam filters. So does my Web host, my ISP, and (I'm certain) my ISP's upstream providers. I'm sure they're catching 95 percent of the crap. But 5 percent of 250 billion emails sent each day is still quite a lot of crap.
Back in October I asked the residents of Cringeville what they would do to fix the spam problem. And I got a number of very good responses. Why am I just writing about it now? Because -- irony alert -- those responses were all trapped in my (ahem) spam folder, which I clean out about as often as my sock drawer (about once a decade).
So I dug through it and found messages from several Cringesters with the same good idea: Make email expensive to send in large amounts. Here's C. D.'s scheme:
My best bet is for a robust, maybe token-based, validated email system that (gulp!) costs money like a stamp to send email. At a fraction of a penny per email, I don't think anyone should balk at having to pay a buck or two per month extra to clean things up. Maybe this is validated through ISPs, so it's more transparent to end users? Maybe our illustrious USPS could get savvy enough to make it happen and keep from going bankrupt?
A penny or two for an individual isn't a deal breaker -- think of what people pay for texting packages!
I like this scheme, though I'd modify it slightly -- let you send the first 500 or so emails for free, or only charge for email sent to more than, say, 50 or 100 people at once. That should let casual users off the hook and make commercial users carry the load (as it should be).