Tuesday, March 18

I, Cringely | The Pulpit
But the trick here is not to do this by passing a law because laws can't generally be enforced over national borders. The only behavior any of us can reliably alter is our own, so WE -- not the spammers -- have to do something different. My proposed solution is a new class of e-mail application that combines many of the attributes we see on eBay, the Internet's one great commercial success. In fact, this solution could well be OFFERED by eBay, and I recently suggested it in an e-mail to Max Levchin of eBay's PayPal subsidiary.

What I am coming down to is essentially an economic argument. I think that passing laws is the wrong way to handle this problem and the right way is by making the spammers pay -- literally pay -- to reach me. I find preferable the idea that spammers pay me directly rather than have them pay the equivalent of postage that doesn't benefit me at all except by reducing the volume of spam. Of course, doing this requires a micropayment system, which made me think of PayPal, which can efficiently handle tiny transactions and already has 17 million customers.


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