Saturday, July 19, 2003

Spam-- unsolicited email-- is out of control, highly destructive, and very costly to users of the internet. I have occasionally had conversations with less clueful family members where they say they don't understand what the big deal is; just delete the spam.

After explaining that the spammers don't actually pay for resources used to delivery the message-- that, say, Mom pays $.12/minute on a slow internet connection and 5 minutes spent downloading spam costs her 60 cents-- and that spam routinely floods mail servers, causes outages, and is consuming millions of $$$ in administrative and support resources, they start to understand.

If that doesn't work, I'll ask if they would mind paying, say, 5 cents for every piece of unsolicited postal mail to arrive in their mail box while delivery of said mail caused a few days delay in the delivery of their normal mail. Also, would they mind if their mailbox was stuffed full of porn ads, scams, and other bits of info you really don't want the neighbors to see.

The reply is always the same: of course not!

Then why the hell are you so accepting of the exact same situation on the Internet?

I just stumbled across another tool in the war on spam. Spam Gourmet offers email addresses that will automatically self-destruct after a certain number of messages have been received at that address. SG also offers other more advanced features.

It is a neat idea; if you are signing up to some random mailing list or something that you suspect might compromise your email address, you can obtain an email address that will highly limit the # and/or source of email addresses received.

Ultimately, I'm not sure how much good it will do unless you were to use something like Spam Gourmet exclusively for all communications targeted at a particular email address.

The sad fact is that once you receive spam at a particular email address, the amount of spam received at that account will only continue to increase as your email address is sold, consolidated into various lists, and re-sold. The only way to decrease spam at a particular email address is to use filtering software.

Pathetic. Truly pathetic.
2:48:56 PM  pontificate