1¢ E-Mail?

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Hello all,

Bill Gates said he was negotiating or something with ISPs to introduce a fee for every email you send, to eliminate spam. Apparently 1¢ was the fee.

I personally think this is reasonable. You pay for snail mail, phone calls, mobile phone calls, etc... Most of us won't miss a cent here and there, except for maybe businesses who rely heavily on email to communicate.

I personally would prefer to pay a cent for every mail I send.

For a spammer who literally sends millions of junk mail through the Internet everyday, this could be very costly, and hence much harder for them to make a profit from it.

Microsoft said they were committed to solving the spam problem within two years, and personally this, I think, may be the solver bullet.

I think this is an exciting prospect ? I'm on Microsoft's side with this, all the way.

Your thoughts? m.


  • Reply 1 of 55
    No Way!!!! I wont even go off with my rant about this as the expletives would offend too many.

    Have a nice day, Randy
  • Reply 2 of 55
    You pay for internet access.. its like 45 bucks a month and I would still have to pay for email.. lame.
  • Reply 3 of 55

    Originally posted by Merovingian

    For a spammer who literally sends millions of junk mail through the Internet everyday, this could be very costly, and hence much harder for them to make a profit from it.

    Right, spammers are the only ones who send out lots of e-mail.

    AppleInsider would quickly go out of business, closing up the forums before anything else. Who can afford to send out all the messages here for account verification, password reminders, PM notices, and thread subscriptions??

    This has everything from bad to terrible written all over it.

    MacUsers is right. People already pay too much for internet access (at least in the US) and e-mail accounts to have to fork over for sending each e-mail too.
  • Reply 4 of 55
    big macbig mac Posts: 480member
    Obviously this is a horrible initiative. It sounds a lot like the urban myth about the government taxing email. Now if Billy G. were to pay Internet users for each message we send, I would enthusiastically support such a plan!
  • Reply 5 of 55
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Intel funded my masters via a grant for research involving this very subject. (Still seems too good to be true)

    We ran experiments exploring the economics of buying someone's attention. Me? Well I like the concept of free communication. However, it's good to at least study the effects that ePostage might have.

    I can't seem to find a link to their most recent findings but here is one of the earlier papers:

    Markets For Attention: Will Postage for Email Help?

    And a summary:

    Professors propose e-mail postage

    Wow, I haven't thought about that in a few years... had almost completely forgotten the work. Now, upon revisiting the subject, I would appreciate an account which charges a penny for unsolicited email from people not previously OK'd. Given that over 75% of my email is now spam, ePostage seems like the lesser of two evils.
  • Reply 6 of 55
    i have a lot of email accounts, most of which converge into my mail.app, and get about 1 piece of spam a week. gates must be missing something, because i'm sure not.
  • Reply 7 of 55
    eh? wasn't this proven to be just another internet hoax.

    personally, I think that, while it makes sense to charge for email sortof, that charge should be already covered in the cost of your internet.
  • Reply 8 of 55
    costiquecostique Posts: 1,084member
    If Hotmail.com sells their clients' addresses to spammers, there is no surprise that it is Gates who claims to lead the anti-spam movement.\

    In fact, my paid mailbox gets 1 or 2 spam messages per month, even though it's explicitly exposed on my site. Don't go crazy, people. Those providers who don't like spam, just don't let it in. Mr. Gates simply wants to get several gigabucks more from us without stirring a finger.
  • Reply 9 of 55
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    No spam problem? It's great that some poeple are dodging the spam bullet... wish I was one of them.

    If you graph either the quantity of spam sent or the spam percentage of incoming mail, you'll discover that both have frighteningly exponential growth curves. If you don't already receive more spam then real email, then it is almost certain that you will within the next few years.

    Many papers have been authored on the subject. All major news outlets have recently run top stories on the growth. While many expected such a phenomenon, it was only in the last three years or so that the exponential curve went nearly vertical.

    A perfect email postage system would be optional and structured in such a way that recipients could impose their own fees on unsolicated email. Such a system would be structured such that customers pay for a filtering service but not for personal email. Curiously, charging a minute fee for unsolicated email from 'strangers' would be almost invisible and pretty much free to end users. It's only the mass emailers who send millions of spam email a day that would be hurt by such a system.

    At first glance, ePostage seems evil and in fact a bad postage system is quite easy to envision. Yet, ePostage has the potential of being the most effective spam filter for personal email.

    How much would you be willing to make strangers pay you to email you?

    Wait... ePostage sounds a lot better all of a sudden.
  • Reply 10 of 55
    Some of you propose a system where the end user can place a fee (fine?) on spam that he or she receives. But how would this work? Have you ever tried to bounce back spam? Most of the time the address is either spoofed (I have received spam from myself) or the account has shut down. How would this system work? What good would this system do?
  • Reply 11 of 55
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Perhaps paying for sending e-mail would make sense if you were allowed to send a few hundred e-mails per month for free (not sure what the right number would be), and then paid the 1¢-per-message fee after exceeding the free e-mail limit.

    I think ISPs would be happier giving you a bunch of free e-mails too, rather than having to bill every user for a few extra pennies every month.

    Do this right, and 99% or more of honest users would see no change in their billing at all, a few more would pay a very small amount extra on their bills, but spammers who want to try to send out millions of e-mails at once would be hit hard.

    Free e-mail accounts would have to have smaller, hard limits on how many e-mails you could send to make it difficult for spammers to use multiple free e-mail accounts for sending out spam. The kind of hoops a spammer would have to go through to establish and use thousands of free e-mail accounts would probably be either to difficult to overcome, or detectable enough to catch him at it and shut him off.

    My main concern with this kind of proposal is that there are probably dozens of tricks for stealing the e-mail capacity from other internet users, and I don't know how difficult it would be to prevent it from happening.
  • Reply 12 of 55
    dfilerdfiler Posts: 3,420member
    Most of these systems would involve some sort of registry run by a third party. The fees this third party collects would pay for the administration of the registry. This would give mail servers and/or email clients the ability to reject non-authorized messages. Like the post office, if you're sending something that requires postage, they won't deliver it unless certain criteria are met.

    There is an absolutely mind-boggling number of different postage schema which could be imposed.

    My personal favorite is on that only charges for 'unsolicated email from strangers'. If you get an email from a long lost friend or customer, a simple authorize button akin to mail's junk button would refund their penny and avoid future charges. You could also then easily filter email based upon previously authorized lists...

    All of these postage schemes could be tacked onto the current mail system by a kludge of headers and private/public keys. However, smtp and mail in general is now a huge mess of durable but somewhat inmalleable hacks. A completely new email format would greatly simplify the lives of developers.

    Either way, the merit of such a system would completely reliant on an unobtrusive and effective implementation. It could easily be presented in a way that is too cumbersome, annoying, and costly to use. However, it is also possible to implement a zero-config system in which non-spammers retain their privacy and pay nothing.
  • Reply 13 of 55
    a_greera_greer Posts: 4,594member
    Can you say hackers?

    if this ever happens then i beleive that the following will happen:

    1: hackers and script kiddys will focus the whole of their capability on taking the pay system down (with under the table support from the busness world and maby even the mob)

    2: the programming/engeneering community will work out a replacement to email.

    and i have 5 questions:

    how the FSCK will this be enforced?

    can i just claim that my mailbox was spoofed?

    who gets the money?

    if my name is spoofed (for real) then do i have to pay?

    and what about being annonimus?

    one final thought:

    if free email is illegal and spam is ilegal then only criminals will spam and send free email

    so whats the differance other than money?
  • Reply 14 of 55
    i think one of the main problems is that people are ignorant of what theyre doing. they sign up for lots of things, and dont bother unchecking 'send me info' or going into the prefs panel of the site to change it. if everyone took care of themselves, i dont think we'd have a spam problem. like i said before, i have lots of email addresses and virtually no spam, but i also go through and make sure i dont have companies sending me info that i "signed up for."
  • Reply 15 of 55
    pscatespscates Posts: 5,847member
    Let me chime in with a hearty "hell no", won't you?

    For my Comcast cable modem service, I'm paying quite enough already, thank you. Why punish the good (of which there are more) by doing this? Go after the cheesy spammers instead.

    In much the same way that I don't want people trying to sell me aluminum siding over the phone when I'm relaxing in the evening, I don't want UNSOLICITED CRAP in my e-mail box. If I want to earn $10,000 in 2 days, enlarge my penis, "find out anything about anyone" or whack the tater to JPEGs of Bridgette and her "slutty amateur sorority roommates", I'll contact them. Otherwise, leave me the [email protected]#% alone.

  • Reply 16 of 55
    All aside, I must say I'm honestly impressed at how hotmail has shaped up, I used to get about 10 spam emails a day, now I get maybe 1 a week, granted this is largely because I put all the recurring ones on my block list, but still, I shrunk the problem, and it hasn't increased since.
  • Reply 17 of 55
    Why we all have to pay because of some jackass sending spam?

    0.01 is actually a lot. How many e-mails do you send/month?

    Change the stupid law enough so spammers will think twice before sending junk.
  • Reply 18 of 55
    torifiletorifile Posts: 4,024member
    Um, spam is a problem because the originating servers are often spoofed. How in the hell would someone be able to collect money from a spammer who spoofs an email server? It's not possible. The only logical solution would be to fine the servers that are "open" for spoofing, thus allowing the spam problem to exist. It's up to the sysadmins (many of whom are admittedly incompetent) to ensure that their servers aren't part of the problem.
  • Reply 19 of 55
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member

    Originally posted by a_greer

    and i have 5 questions:

    how the FSCK will this be enforced?

    can i just claim that my mailbox was spoofed?

    who gets the money?

    if my name is spoofed (for real) then do i have to pay?

    You have to think about how e-mail and SMTP servers work.

    The billing, and the counting of how many e-mails you'd sent, wouldn't be tied to the easily-spoofed "From: " header in an e-mail. It would be tied to your access to your ISP's SMTP server.

    This access is spoofable too, but harder to do. In most cases, what you'd have to do is spoof an IP address -- possible, but tricker than simply modifying a "From: " header. The task can be made more difficult by having the SMTP server require a user name and password. Even better, require an SSL connection to the SMTP server.

    Since you can run your own SMTP server, to make this scheme effective your ISP would have to block any personal SMTP server running on your computer.


    and what about being annonimus?

    Or anonymous, even.

    In a scheme based on SMTP server access, there would be nothing stopping you from using something other than your real e-mail address. The SMTP server needs to know who you are, but the outside world that the SMTP server passes your message along to wouldn't. In addition, nothing about this scheme would prevent you from using anonymous proxy services to access e-mail -- the proxy service would bill you based on e-mail usage too.

    I think the biggest problem with this scheme is getting enough ISPs to play along. I don't know how you'd limit the flood of junk mail that would come from mail servers in countries where anti-junk mail laws were not in effect. It might at least be easier for junk mail filters to recognize suspicious sources of e-mail.

    What would really suck would be having a virus burn through all of your free e-mail allowance and then start running up a big bill. Virus spamming wouldn't be a good way for distributing commercial messages -- the company doing the advertising would be the number one spamming suspect -- but since much virus spam is simply maliciousness and self-propagation, having your computer hijacked is still a concern.

    Most customers, I imagine, would want to set up a hard limit on the total number of e-mails they were allowed to send during a given span of time to prevent such things from getting out of hand. Your ISP could send you an e-mail telling you that you'd maxed out on outgoing e-mail, and you'd know that you needed to find out what was wrong with your computer. After diagnosing the problem, you could contact your ISP to get a temporary increase in your e-mail allowance so that you wouldn't be blocked for the remainder of a billing period.
  • Reply 20 of 55

    Originally posted by piwozniak

    Why we all have to pay because of some jackass sending spam?

    0.01 is actually a lot. How many e-mails do you send/month?

    Change the stupid law enough so spammers will think twice before sending junk.

    $0.71 so far this year. I know I don't send a lot of emails, but that is just from my personal account, not emails I have sent from work.

    I think that something that would need to be looked at is how this would affect businesses. It's hard enough in this economic climate for small business to stay in business, but tacking on an additional charge for every communication would make it even harder.

    And what about places like AppleInsider? I don't post here a lot, but this month alone, I've received 11 emails notifying me of responses to threads that I have replied to. What about the people who post more than me? Would Brad (no offense, Brad) have really been worth the $1,000,000 that it would have taken to notify him of every response to his 7900+ posts?

    I also think that equating this to snail mail postage is not quite accurate. The stamp that I slap on my bills pays for the service that I get from the USPS. It pays for my mail carrier. It pays for the people who sort the mail. It pays for all of the equipment necessary to get my bill from here to wherever it goes.

    If you transfer this model to email, then all of these costs are paid for when you send your ISP your monthly bill. 1¢/email is not the same as a 37¢ stamp.
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