Re: [Asrg] [Yet another] article on spam

"Shannon Jacobs" <> Fri, 23 May 2003 17:13 UTC

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From: Shannon Jacobs <>
To: John Fenley <>
References: <>
Subject: Re: [Asrg] [Yet another] article on spam
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Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 06:13:43 +0900
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Not sure how to take it, but quite sure that I don't really want to be
featured in the Subject: lines.

First, for clarification, I of course agree that snail mail junk mail
exists. It is slightly annoying, but nothing like the annoyance of spam
email. I sort my snail mail and mailbox flyers as I walk to my door, and 95%
of the junk is deposited unopened in the trash bag. I have never received a
penis enlargement or 419 solicitation via snail mail. At least the snail
mail comes from legitimate businesses, and advertising to reach customers is
one of their legitimate expenses.

However, with email we have the potential to do much better if we devise the
proper economic model. Right now the spammers are forcing us to spend
additional money handling their spam. More machines for filtering. Lawyers
to write more laws. Why can't we turn that around and spend money to offer
better email services?

I hope Mr. Fenley doesn't object to my using his situation as an example of
the potential. He reports that legitimate companies are willing to spend up
to $200/month in postage to try to get his attention and business. As he
notes, that's based on a long history at that address--but our email
addresses can follow us when we move. We know they're going to send it to
him, but wouldn't it be even better and more efficient if Mr. Fenley got
most of that advertising by email and split the savings with the
advertisers? Add in the printing costs for glossy color flyers and we can
probably guess they spend $500/month in his case, but as email, the cost of
"printing" and delivery would be much smaller. I'm just pulling numbers out
of my hat here, because we don't have a real-world business model here
(yet), but we know that copying files and email are cheap. So let's just say
that they could produce and deliver the same ads via email for $50/month
(mostly design costs), give Mr. Fenley $200/month as payment for receiving
them, and still SAVE $250/month on their advertising costs. Doesn't that
sound like an attractive economic model all around? The businesses that use
that approach reduce their costs, and Mr. Fenley gets to share in their

We still need to filter email, but we should be using those filtering cycles
to enforce OUR interests on the advertisers.

There are various anti-spam email systems out there, but so far all of the
ones I've looked at expect me to pay blackmail "insurance" charges to get
rid of the spam. This is a WRONG economic model, and I will NOT be

If you know of an anti-spam email system that will block any advertising
UNLESS the advertisers pay MY price for MY time, then please tell me about
it. I'll sign up and consider my spam problem solved.

John Fenley wrote:
> From: "Shannon Jacobs" <>
>> There are plenty of things wrong
>> with snail mail, but it does work quite effectively in limiting the
>> volume of physical spam we receive
> Many people cite the lack of substantial amounts of Snail-mail as a
> proof that an economic solution to spam can work. I receive as much
> Snail-mail spam, as I do E-mail spam.
> About 2 years ago I added up the postage of all the Snail-Spam I
> received in a typical month. I found that Bulk Snail mailers spend
> over $200 per month in postage to send me advertisements. The volume
> of mail (as perceived) has not decreased since then. My situation is
> probably at the extreme end of the spectrum as my family has lived at
> the same address for over 50 years, but advertising in general is a
> multi-billion dollar per year industry. To think that advertisers
> won't pay money to send email is (I feel) an assumption without
> sufficient proof.

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