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Microsoft says we should pay for email. When was it ever free?

Posted by jbob on March 7, 2004 at 8:48 AM PST

In a March 4th article on cnn.com titled "Paying for E-Mail May Be Anti-Spam Tactic", Anick Jesdanun reported that Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, among others, is proposing a per message charge on email messages in order to combat SPAM.

It appears that companies, like Microsoft, Hashcash, and Goodwill Systems, are more interested in making money off of the volume than in solving the problem. Score one for capitalism, zero for customer service.

It is dissapointing that the article's author did not point out that email is not free today. We pay for email one way or another. The dial-up or broadband services that we need to access our "free" Yahoo! and Hotmail accounts is not free. The monthly membership fees to AOL and MSN that include email in their service is notoriously not free.

Passing the cost of SPAM onto customers is a slap in the face and adds insult to injury. It is shortcomings in the mail systems that allow for SPAM to circulate. Fix the problem.

Here's a suggestion: If ISP's took some responsibility fo their mail servers, they could revoke accounts that generate spam and they could provide their customers with intelligent firewall capabilities for fighting spam. For example, allowing me the ability to control who can email me (like I can do with Instant Messenger). Some email systems and clients can do this. If I subscribe to a mail list, I would need to configure my account to let that through.

Read the article yourself and share your thoughts and conclusions in our community discussion.

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