[Mailman-Users] The economics of spam

Bernie Cosell bernie at fantasyfarm.com
Thu Dec 25 06:12:44 CET 2008

On 25 Dec 2008 at 12:41, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:

> Again, assuming that traffic patterns stay the same, this is all very
> nice for AOL, which would have a substantial positive balance of
> payments.  But it would suck rotten eggs for open source projects,
> whose primary interaction with the mail system is to host mailing
> lists that on average must have tiny inward flow and significant
> outward flow.

This is wildly offtopic for this list and I, too, am going to stop 
prolonging it, but I'll just mention that this is the *CRUX* of the 
problem: what do you do if you want to let a "white hat" server that 
sends a million messages a month do so unencumbered but still somehow 
penalize/charge a "black hat" spamhaus.

I *THINK* that the folks here, earlier, said that they'd be willing to 
pay to have a global/overall email system that was essentially spam free, 
and that means that the 'white hat' folks running mailing lists would 
have to figure out what to do.  There are three obvious choices [this no 
matter what scheme is used to set up pay-for-play]:
   1) be on a hosting server that out of the goodness of their hearts 
will eat the costs,
   2) have the list admins eat the cost [e.g., if SUN "bankrolls" the 
Java mailing list or something like that], or
   3) have the lists go to a subscription basis.

On (3), since we were proposing one-one-hundredth of a [US] cent per 
message, that means that for me to sign up for this list [what: a 
thousand messages a year?] it would cost me something like a dime a year 
to subscribe.  I'd pay that.

> Will traffic patterns stay the same?  I think not.  If AOL refuses
> mail without postage, delivery from my lists (not to mention from
> listmaster) to @aol.com addresses will stop.  They can try to bill me,
> in which case they have no legal way to enforce since I haven't
> negotiated a contract with them.  And I will simply unsubscribe all
> existing AOL addresses and bar them from subscribing in the future.

This re-emphasizes that whatever criticisms you've made of various 
schemes for effecting this kind of thing, you basically have a 
fundamental philsophical refusal to accept the approach at all.  
Basically, you *INSIST* that you be permitted to send your email for 
free, regardless of the distributed costs.  I don't see why email should 
be free [and indeed, our experience with spammers would seem to indicate 
that email-all-you-want-for-free is an idea that probably should have 
died when NSF opened the net to outsiders]


Bernie Cosell                     Fantasy Farm Fibers
mailto:bernie at fantasyfarm.com     Pearisburg, VA
    -->  Too many people, too few sheep  <--       

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