John Levine wrote:
If some group wanted to build a closed pay-to-play mail system, they
could do it with the tools they already have, using SMTP AUTH or
STARTTLS with a private signing cert or VPNs or whatever. The reason
they don't is that it makes no sense, and a tiny tweak like VBR isn't
going to change that.
I didn't imply that any of the big 4 wants their users to pay for an
email account. However, they are defining a mail system, which is
possibly slightly different from the IETF definition, and flags spam
abatement as a major advantage. Very roughly, that system is around
one half of the total existing mailboxes. That is to say, any one
of the big 4 can expand its share better by acquiring users from minor
MTAs than from direct competitors. This is not the same as a full
blown cartel, but it tends to relegate minor MTAs to 2nd class.
The other thing I don't understand is why you minimize the expected
VBR effect. (If that's meant as an apotropaic stance, I have no
objection. Otherwise,) I wonder why we shouldn't push VBR as hard as
we can, if it can stop spam.
Finally, I'd remark that, IMHO, such considerations are exactly what
the IETF is for: not inventing mere rocket techniques, but do internet
technology in its broadest meaning, including any economic, social, or
political facet that may be relevant for the task.
Microsoft webmail properties: 256.2 million users
Yahoo: 254.6 million users
Google: 91.6 million users
AOL webmail properties: 48.9 million users
Internet users: 1,018,057,389 (2005)
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