Phillip Hallam-Baker writes...
I agree that this demonstrates that the 'charge per email'
schemes that people have don't work.
I'm not so sure about that. The fact that there is a real cost
certainly changes the dynamics of unsolicited mail, as well as the
business model of the purveyors. Cost factors will not eliminate it,
but it might improve the "quality" of the offers and reduce the quantity
But if postal mail recipients could impose filters they would.
And there is in point of fact an entire police force tracking
down scam artists using the postal mail.
One additional distinction is that most unsolicited mail in the US
(typically called junk mail) is mailed at discounted bulk postage rates.
In order to mail at bulk rates, an organization needs a permit from the
post office. This involves some level of "authentication". Of course,
mail sent at first class or second class postage rates can be sent
anonymously. However, I get very (very) few pieces of junk mail sent at
first or second class rates. It's all bulk rate mail. This is another
example of the cost of mailing driving the behavior set.
A second distinction is that the US Postal System (in the US) is a
government sanctioned monopoly, and in many countries the postal system
is still a government agency. When you have a single entity acting as
the receiver of all outgoing mail, it makes it much easier to enforce
policies regarding cost and "authentication". In that regard,
snail-mail is not a very good analogy for e-mail discussions.
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