Wave of the Future (Spam)

From: Richard Erlacher <edick_at_idcomm.com>
Date: Fri Jun 22 09:51:07 2001

That's absolutely correct! It's tough finding a solution that works at all, and
finding one that works correctly will be VERY difficult. Ultimately, the only
fair way to bill for internet use, above and beyond the basics of providing the
connection, will be on the basis of bandwidth used. SPAM ultimately will have
to be traceable because nobody will want to pay for unsolicited mail.

SPAM is a nuissance, but it's not any worse than the 450KB cutesey greeting card
that grandma sends to all her grandchildren, and the cute or funny cartoon that
gets sent to everybody in your address book because you think it's so funny. I
frequently exhort my friends/relatives not to do that sort of thing because of
the bandwidth cost.

SPAMmers got smart early on in the "internet revolution" in that they knew that
it would ultimately come down to a cost per bit. They use email because their
local server doesn't have to send an individual mail to each addressee. The
router to which it is sent by his local host does that, and, in fact, it's
possible to have a router downstream of that one do the dirty work. They know
that it will eventually come down to the cost per bit, so they set things up to
have someone else pay that cost. That's what I view as wrong. WE are the ones
who pay for SPAM, and WE are not the ones who want it that way. Perhaps
rewriting the email protocols can fix that, but the place it has to be worked
out is in the IP/ICMP pair, among others, and in the TCP/UDP pair. Tracking the
actual bandwidth used by a SPAMmed message probably will involve tunnelling
protocols, which are normally avoided in order to preserve the layered
architecture. My own experience with SPAM has shown me that even the
application layer doesn't generally become aware of the actual source of the
mass-mailing. Nevertheless, the challenge is to find that source and pass the
cost back to him. It's not a priority today, because we're not charged by the
bit. People are charged for bandwidth usage in some countries, however, so it's
just a matter of time.


----- Original Message -----
From: "John Foust" <jfoust_at_threedee.com>
To: <classiccmp_at_classiccmp.org>
Sent: Friday, June 22, 2001 7:29 AM
Subject: Re: Wave of the Future (Spam)

> At 11:15 PM 6/21/01 -0700, Mike Ford wrote:
> >What allows spam to happen is that most users pay the costs of all incoming
> >mail, and spammers pay little of the cost of sending it. Turn that around,
> >so that the bulk of internet support costs come from charges related to
> >bytes sent, and spam becomes MUCH less attractive.
> Why blame e-mail?
> If everyone is paying extra based on their outgoing traffic,
> suddenly web servers cost more for the people hosting them.
> Hosting already costs considerably more than one person's dial-up.
> Or mailing lists, for that matter. What's the real difference
> between a mailing list and a spammer? Content? Opt-in? Change the
> economics of the net, it'll change the net, and not necessarily
> the parts you want to change. Start ripping on traffic based
> on its content, and next it'll be restrictions on that nasty porn
> or those terrible violent videogames, or extra "sin" taxes on
> tobacco, gun, or alcohol web sites.
> A long time ago, A.C. Clarke predicted / hoped that in 2000,
> all telephone calls would be ten cents, worldwide, and that
> you could call anywhere for that flat price. For that matter,
> flat one-shot pricing is what made local BBSes succeed.
> Tinker carefully.
> - John
Received on Fri Jun 22 2001 - 09:51:07 BST

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