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ISPs Starting To Charge for 'Guaranteed' Email Delivery

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the i-gare-on-tee dept.

The Internet 288

Presto Vivace writes "Under the guise of fighting spam, five of the largest Internet service providers in the U.S. plan to start charging businesses for guaranteed delivery of their e-mails. In other words, with regular service we may or may not deliver your email. If you want it delivered, you will have to pay deluxe. 'According to Goodmail, seven U.S. ISPs now use CertifedEmail, accounting for 60 percent of the U.S. population. Goodmail--which takes up to 50 percent of the revenue generated by the plan--will for now approve only mail sent by companies and organizations that have been operational for a year or more. Ordinary users can still apply to be white-listed by individual ISPs, which effectively provides the same trusted status.'"

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Fighting spam? (5, Interesting)

LordHatrus (763508) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452671)

How does it fight spam if the spammer can ask to be whitelisted, or if the spammer can pose as or actually be a business operating for more than a year? Lame.

Re:Fighting spam? (3, Insightful)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452757)

How does it fight spam if the spammer can ask to be whitelisted, or if the spammer can pose as or actually be a business operating for more than a year? Lame.
You combine it with other techniques, such as whitelisting only specific IP addresses and rejecting mail from those IPs if spam reports get too high. A business approaching Goodmail and saying "please whitelist these 500,000 zombie IP addresses" would be just a tad suspicious.
 

Re:Fighting spam? (5, Informative)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452867)

No, you are really wrong.

The point behind guaranteed delivery is that the ISP will not blacklist your domain/ip address regardless of how many spam reports they receive. This is the whole point behind goodmail.

I just spend hours in a meeting discussing this very topic. Our company was blacklisted by AOL because too many people reported our email as spam (it's all mail that they opted in for -- default is out). The result was all of AOL delivery was blacklisted. Eventually we got it fixed, but the next tier to the solution is to pay GoodMail $$ to effectively certify our domains as legitimate senders and they pay AOL a portion of their proceeds to guarantee permanent whitelist status no matter what the users do.

The only criteria that AOL has leveled against us is if someone tags our email as spam, we have to remove them from the mailing list. But I don't know if this will change or not with the introduction of GoodMail into our mail delivery system.

Re:Fighting spam? (2, Interesting)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452971)

Same boat as you my friend. We decided that AOL email addresses aren't allowed to be used in our monthly drawing for a free product(meal) so we don't accept AOL addresses on our web form.

The problem is that part of the registration sends a message to the recipient that the user has to acknowledge. That message sent to AOL addresses gets tagged as SPAM. Secondly, the newsletter we send out also gets tagged as SPAM by a good percentage of AOL users. So my opinion of this crap is to discriminate against people with goodmail services.

Re:Fighting spam? (4, Insightful)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453025)

If he tags what you sent as confirmation to his request, what do you think the chances are that they will also tag your newsletter?

A lot of AOL users tag messages as SPAM when they don't want to see them anymore. It's easier than opting-out and so they abuse the process. They have no repercussions to their actions.

But a lot of users do this. I see it in my house where I run my own mail server and my own spam filter. It's a bayesian filter so you have to tell it when it was wrong. Wife won't tell it anything but she complains about the spam she's getting. Can't help her. She's being obstinant and dumb.

Re:Fighting spam? (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453129)

A lot of AOL users tag messages as SPAM when they don't want to see them anymore. It's easier than opting-out and so they abuse the process. They have no repercussions to their actions.

Hey, I do this too with newsletters that suddenly start showing up in my mailbox, probably hidden away deep in some terms of some signup or the other. A just punishment for anything deceptive, even though I'm sure it's technically legit.

Re:Fighting spam? (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453211)

I do that too - only I try the opt-opt website/email first, give them a week to get me off the list and then blacklist them if I receive further emails. Strangely, I've only had 1 instance of the website opt-out form work.

* for purposes of this discussion I do not include real, obvious spam in the opt-out - only 'legitimate' companies that I have had some sort of email relationship with.

Re:Fighting spam? (1)

asamad (658115) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453209)

Time to trade in for a newer model 8)

Re:Fighting spam? (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453323)

The problem with AOL is that once one person tags a domain as SPAM, the domain is flagged as SPAM for automatic settings. People who have AOL addresses that "want" the newsletter aren't able to get it if they have their spam setting to automatic.

The repurcussions of their actions is that they are ineligible for a free dinner with a value of $100 - and yes, this is an upscale restaurant.

Re:Fighting spam? (2, Informative)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453155)

I work for a major corporation and assist with the email policy.

For AOL, they required only two things from us, and we haven't run into problems:

1) Publish an SPF record (they were pushing it big-time). I'd recommend a loose policy that states "if it doesn't pass the SPF check, make your own decision" (which is the ?all option).

2) Establish a complaint/opt-out email box and process the messages that come from AOL.

Of course, there are vultures out there looking to make a buck by selling everyone a solution that is of questionable effectiveness.

We've resisted paying the "marketing tax" and haven't seen a drop-off in deliverability.
If more businesses refuse, then this trend will die off.
I hope it goes the same way as the "linux license" that a business could purchase from the SCO; let it be known to be tantamount to extortion! ;)

Re:Fighting spam? (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453243)

Yeah right, more likely your company defaulted everyone in instead of out for all the junk mail. In my book that is called spam, and they were correct to label you as such.

Re:Fighting spam? (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453273)

They didn't. They can't. They have to verbally get the email address from the consumer as part of the verbal conversation of "Would you like our monthly newsletter?" Kind of difficult to hide something like that in a fine print. I suppose they could whisper...

More likely they don't default everyone in and more likely that they did exactly what they described because that is exactly what we saw happening.

More likely you aren't thinking of how users might behave.

Re:Fighting spam? (5, Interesting)

Jay L (74152) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453371)

Of course, Goodmail can't guarantee that the *recipient* isn't filtering. And it doesn't blacklist anyone. It's just an accreditation scheme like DKIM, but at the per-message level instead of the per-domain level. It does three things, from what I can tell:

1. At the sender side, for those senders who are paying Goodmail, it adds a token to the e-mail that recipients can verify. This part could be great, if they open up a public way to validate that token (and it's in their interest to, I think). Spam filters like SpamAssassin could then score the e-mail differently. Either Goodmail is useless, or it's useful. If it's useless, recipients can ignore the token. If it's useful, recipients can decide to apply less filtering - or they can apply all the usual filters, and just (using SpamAssassin as an example) apply a negative point or two to Goodmail so it's less likely to get filtered.

2. At the recipient side for those recipients who are Goodmail "partners", it guarantees that your mail will bypass all other filters. This part is dubious. Will they regret becoming partners? Maybe, if people start sending spam that's signed by Goodmail. Can they get out of their partnership or change the terms? Dunno. Will the market sort this out? You bet. If Goodmail partners start delivering more spam than non-partners, people will switch to the non-partners.

2. Also at the recipient side for those recipients who are Goodmail "partners", it adds a pretty blue ribbon, etc. to the "chrome" of the e-mail. Yes, the chrome is unforgeable. No, users can't tell the difference between a blue ribbon in the chrome and a blue ribbon in the body. AOL tried this years ago with "Certified E-Mail", so you could tell when a message was REALLY from AOL. Did it stop phishing? No. This part is security theater.

Nobody gets blacklisted. Right now, ALL our mail is essentially second-class mail, subject to all sorts of filters. GoodMail creates a first-class tier that potentially bypasses all that if you pay for the "postage" (which is only 1/20th of a cent for non-profits). Again, the market will sort out whether or not that postage is useful. In fact, "postage" is probably the wrong word - it's more like "notarized" e-mail.

Re:Fighting spam? (2, Interesting)

datlas (1113523) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453377)

Actually being Goodmail requires *fewer* complaints than even regular white listing. The point of Goodmail is NOT that the ISP will not blacklist you regardless of how many complaints you get -- exactly the opposite. If you get a lot of complaints you won't even qualify for CertifiedEmail: http://www.postmaster.aol.com/whitelist/certifiede mail.html [aol.com] : How is eligibility determined for participation in the CertifiedEmail Program? The CertifiedEmail program is open to qualified, accredited senders with a history of good sending behavior. These senders will be further accredited to make sure the sender's programs conform to CertifiedEmail acceptable use policies. Senders accepted into the Certified Email Program will maintain status in the program by keeping complaint rates below threshold across recipient mailbox providers. Violation of complaint thresholds will result in the sender being placed on probation or excluded from the CertifiedEmail Program.

MOD THE TROLL DOWN!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452675)

MOD THE TROLL DOWN!!!

finally (1, Insightful)

goathens (924972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452681)

while charging for email would suck, i think it is one of the few ways that would actually stop spam: making it too expensive to send a lot of email.

of course, having not RTFA, i wouldn't say how well this would work for non-US countries being certified... this could turn out to be more like the current net neutrality issue (pay the isps money or your traffic/email won't go in the "good pipes"/"certified")

Re:finally (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452729)

I RTFA. It was a quarter of a cent each. As parent says, that makes it too expensive to spam. But it is a not even a blip on my budget to send all my email ( 50+/- per month )

Re:finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452995)

I maintain a listserv with traffic of about 1000-1200 messages a month. That's a significant "blip" in my budget, which is running it out of pocket as a hobby.

Re:finally (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453157)

I don't mind paying a nominal fee for email for projects I care about. Perhaps there is a project-to-be/service of Sourceforge that does some back-end aggregation of email into a single, fat, (navigable?) digest for various arbitrary mailing lists.
Either such a thing could be signed to pass as good traffic, or the cost/value could be made such that all but the biggest Scrooges wouldn't mind a nominal fee.
Note that I did not use the letters X, M, and L in describing the deliverable.
Possible Summer of Code project for the energetic whipper-snapper.

Re:finally (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453003)

It was a quarter of a cent each. As parent says, that makes it too expensive to spam. But it is a not even a blip on my budget to send all my email
I wouldn't mind being on the receiving end of $0.0025 x billions per month though!

Re:finally (2, Insightful)

abertoll (460221) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452819)

Yes, but I'm not sure it's expensive enough at 1/4 cent. That kind of price sort of sounds like they're hoping the spammers use them so they can make a lot of money. Not that they're going to help prevent spam.

Re:finally (4, Insightful)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452823)

You're not getting junkmail in your reality-based mailbox, then?

This has NOTHING to do with stopping Spam.

This is all about generating revenue from Spam.

Re:finally (3, Insightful)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452951)

Give this man a cigar.

Not only will it generate revenue for delivering spam, but it will also mean the end of non-cost based mail delivery. Think mailing lists and personal domain servers.

This is extortion (2, Insightful)

HellYeahAutomaton (815542) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452865)

Its kind of like if the mob owned the USPS and said "You might get your mail in one piece...and you might not if you don't pay up."

Fun with contractual consideration! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452945)

"For this fee, I may or may not deliver your email."
"Ok, deliver my email, and I may or may not pay your fee."

Re:This is extortion (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453063)

The USPS -already- guarantees your mail -won't- be delivered if you don't pay their fees. (Stamps?) However, in addition, they also offered higher-priced services (first-class mail) that has a better chance of being delivered. Third-class mail has -no- guarantee.

So what does the 'mob' have to do with this?

Re:This is extortion (1)

jobsagoodun (669748) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453171)

From the sound of it, its more like the Mob don't own USPS, but want some money for not stopping your mail anyhow.

Re:finally (1)

MadAhab (40080) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452927)

Wrong.

It would definitely bring e-mail communications out of reach for thousands - millions - of legitimate organizations. But spammers spam because their communications are profitable.

So the only thing this would do is raise overhead costs for organizations with non-money-making email.

Re:finally (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453095)

I'm not saying that this is wrong:

It would definitely bring e-mail communications out of reach for thousands - millions - of legitimate organizations.
Nor am I saying that the plan as a whole is necessarily a good idea. However, *this* point is flawed:

But spammers spam because their communications are profitable.
The reason they're profitable with such a low return rate is (as has been said before) that the cost of each email is tiny. Even a nominal fraction-of-a-cent charge upsets the balance here.

Can you guarantee my spam delivery too? (1)

Dragoonkain (704719) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452685)

see topic

Viagra, Cialis, Free Delivery (1)

Skeetskeetskeet (906997) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452689)

Two times guaranteed now!!!

Breach of contract (3, Insightful)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452697)

Well, assuming an user pays for the e-mail account, isn't this a breach of contract and false advertising? By "providing an e-mail account", it can be assumed no real mail is ever meant to be knowingly dropped.

Declaring those who haven't paid the protection racket as not "real mail" is not really something that I would envision as something which would pass a non-bribed judge.

Re:Breach of contract (4, Interesting)

bwd234 (806660) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452871)

"Well, assuming an user pays for the e-mail account, isn't this a breach of contract and false advertising? By "providing an e-mail account", it can be assumed no real mail is ever meant to be knowingly dropped.

Declaring those who haven't paid the protection racket as not "real mail" is not really something that I would envision as something which would pass a non-bribed judge."

Guess what, this is exactly how the USPS works. They are not responsible for making sure the mail is delivered unless you pay more for it, like certified mail, etc.
How do I know? I was told this in so many words when I had mail lost and complained to the Post Office about it.
It was basically, "if you want to make sure it gets there, have it insured, otherwise..."

Yeah, nice little racket the USPS has too!

Re:Breach of contract (2, Interesting)

asamad (658115) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453307)

Slightly different analogy, you are already paying for you packets to make it to the internet, why should you have to pay again ?

Re:Breach of contract (2, Interesting)

codegen (103601) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453329)

I have not read your terms of service, but I can *almost* guarantee there
is a clause that specifies that the ISP can modify the terms at any time
by posting them on the website and that you agreed to it.

Let's rate the ISP's (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452703)

Comcast - EVIL
Cox - not very evil yet
Time Warner - The incarnation of Evil
Verizon - Pure evil

They didn't say who the other three are, but I'll guess here
AOL - Strange evil
BellSouth - Pure Evil
Mediacom - Incompetent Evil

evil is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452855)

you have all the fun when you're evil

Re:Let's rate the ISP's (1)

Checkmait (1062974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452925)

Wait a second, but didn't Microsoft buy evil from the devil [bbspot.com] ? So wouldn't being evil be a civil offense or something like that?

Re:Let's rate the ISP's (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452931)

When your standard for not evil is to give everything away for free, it's kinda hard to live up to it. Fortunately for society, geeks are a tiny percentage.

Re:Let's rate the ISP's (1)

HouseArrest420 (1105077) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453105)

No matter what either of the 2 providers tell you, at least on the East Coast, Comcast owns Time Warner. Literally and in the same way as Sprint = Nextel, not in that gamer tongue as in, "I pwned you f001!"

Re:Let's rate the ISP's (1)

jpetts (208163) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453197)

Cox - not very evil yet
You can be "not very evil": the bit is either set or clear...

Not that I like spam but.... (3, Insightful)

ralphart (70342) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452707)

This is pretty freaking outrageous.

If there's any way to organize and refuse to relay mail from any of these greedy self-appointed guardians, I'd certainly be interested. Blacklisting all mail out of their domains would probably be extremely educational for them.

Good for the goose...good for the gander.

Easy to do (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452831)

If there's any way to organize and refuse to relay mail from any of these greedy self-appointed guardians, I'd certainly be interested.

This is easy to do. Most mail server software lets you block by domain name of the SMTP client host and/or the host part of the sender email address. If you don't have this option, but can refuse email from SMTP client hosts without valid reverse DNS, you can force the reverse DNS to be bad by adding empty zones for their domain to your DNS server that your mail server uses.

Blacklisting all mail out of their domains would probably be extremely educational for them.

They cannot be educated. They would never notice, anyway. Their customers may notice. A few might even quit. But they (the corporate executives) won't notice.

What we do is create the "invisible alternate internet". This is the internet where all the "good stuff" is. It would be based on an alternate set of DNS root zones with distinctive new top level domains that "they" don't have access to. Eventually more and more of their customers will want access to "the other internet". But they (the evil ISPs) won't be able to provide it because those alternate DNS root zones will have the evil domain names blotted out with strange addresses like 0.6.6.6.

Oh wait, there already is an alternate internet. Sorry, I cannot disclose the location.

Re:Easy to do (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453145)

Oh wait, there already is an alternate internet. Sorry, I cannot disclose the location.
Wait, wait.... awww, I know this one, it's..... a DNS server running on an old Pentium II at your school's computer club, and seven or eight nerds pointing their computers at it?

Re:Not that I like spam but.... (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452915)

So you're proposing we blacklist AOL, TimeWarner, ComCast...

I'm all for it. But if they don't blacklist each other there's not much affect this is going to have.

Read up on the early history of Radio. It used to be free to broadcast. Now it's really expensive. Soon the only web pages and mailing activities will be those that are sanctioned by the key masters.

Pure Capitalism is self destructive. Moral Capitalism is not.

Re:Not that I like spam but.... (1)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453191)

So you're proposing we blacklist AOL, TimeWarner, ComCast...

I'm all for it. But if they don't blacklist each other there's not much affect this is going to have.



It will create a "them" and "us" style internet. Except that AOL, Time Warner and so on have loads of cash, so will whitelist each other and become the self styled "fair and balanced" ISPs, while everyone else will be part of the "if you're not with us, you're against us", and hence AOL et al will blacklist those not in their circle of friends.

I think this would be an unintended consequence.

recipe for disaster? (2, Insightful)

jb.cancer (905806) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452711)

apart from the initial shock (face it, evryone wants to plug the tube that is the internet), won't this generate more unwanted e-mail traffic? think of all the people who would now send >1 copies of each of their mails just to increase the chances of delivery.

of course it's all assuming that the real intention is not 'end-of-free-emails'(which cud be quite naive)

Genius (1)

jswigart (1004637) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452717)

Real smart. Fight the symptom not the problem. Spammers should have to pay for all the time they waste of every single person they send their trash to, and all the bandwidth it consumes. It blows my mind that this shit isn't considered as big of a problem as it needs to be with lawmakers.

Re:Genius (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452811)

Spammers are the ones being made to pay. They are paying to make sure their spam makes it through your spam filter.

Maybe I could see it if.... (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452723)

It really was guaranteed delivery using a transactional scheme with software that supported it. This could be something actually worthwhile.

Re:Maybe I could see it if.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19453065)

Hmmmm. Some form of transactional email protocol. Like SMTP for example?

Re:Maybe I could see it if.... (1)

kasperd (592156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453367)

Exactly. SMTP already does this. Problem is, in the name of spam fighting, people started randomly and silently dropping emails. If you don't want to deliver an email at least produce an appropriate error response. It's not that hard to respond with an error code at the end of DATA, if you don't want to deliver it. That way the sender will at least know why it was not delivered. And before anybody starts complaining, that this will just produce lots of invalid bounces, I'd like to point out, that they are easy to prevent. A bounce is easy to identify from the empty sender, when you see one look inside the data for a Message-ID matching one that was sent from this account in the last 14 days. If none is found this is a bounce of a mail with a forged sender address, refuse to accept the mail. Oh, and if you see log entries on your own mail server indicating, that it couldn't deliver bounces, then at least you are one step closer to the source, that the person who rejected them. That means it is time to figure out why your mail server accepted the messages in the first place. Eventually the spam will be stopped at the source.

Well, that is the theory at least. The problems are: People don't respect the protocols. Very few actually try to stop the spam at the source, since you don't make a lot of money from that. And for ISPs being a good netcitizen have a far lower priority than making money.

Reciprocal? (1)

unamiccia (641291) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452733)

And how much will they pay me if my mail doesn't arrive?

Re:Reciprocal? (1)

FutureDomain (1073116) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453081)

Only $0.0025.

Re:Reciprocal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19453139)

Is that 25 cents or 25 dollars?

Sincerely,
Verizon

Death of the Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452747)

The Internet isn't just TCP/IP. It's an agreement amongst its members to carry each other's traffic and cooperate. I guess rather than dying the net might just shrink to retain good Netizens. The world will then contain two networks: Netizens connected by the Internet and selfish bastards sort of connected by a broken network.

Well (2, Interesting)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452749)

Honestly, I don't see what the problem is. Charging some sort of cost - whether it be responding to a whitelist request, paying in CPU cycles to complete a hash, or just flat out paying a quarter of a cent - is the only practical way to fight spam. Spamfilters always have a small false postive and false negative error rate, while charging money or a cost does not. A quarter of a cent is many times the expected monetary return on a pure spam.

Since it costs money to set up an infrastructure to accept a cost of any type (reliable servers, an organization, ect) charging actual money rather than hash cycles or CAPTCHAs makes the most sense, and is also the only practical way for a big organization to send emails to a bunch of users.

Re:Well (1)

Brandybuck (704397) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452817)

I agree. Unless they're deliberately dropping other folk's emails, I don't see the problem here.

Slashdot geeks are too obsessed with everyone having utterly identical outcomes. "You can't guarantee their email for a fee!", they sputter, "unless you guarantee mine will get through as well, for free!"

Re:Well (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452901)

And presumably, this company offers an alternate "payment" scheme if you just want to send an email to an individual user. By registering for the whitelist, you fill out some sort of captcha, and it must cap you to sending emails to just a few people in that ISP.

Spam is so horribly inefficient a form of advertising that even a tiny cost in time or money per email sent is enough to completely wipe it out.

Heck, ISPs could go back to accepting email from places where the incoming email is almost all spam, like China. A legitimate business in China with American customers would just pay that quarter of a cent cost.

Well the PROBLEM is that... (3, Insightful)

shmlco (594907) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452909)

The "problem" is that there are a ton of non-profits, news sites, news groups, blogs, lists, whatever-of-the-day sites, schools, churches, and other organizations that send out a lot of requested put-me-on-the-list email to their members.

Have a decent-sized list on which you're doing a daily run, and even at a quarter of a cent you're suddenly looking at thousands of dollars a month out of pocket.

So now all of those sites and services and lists either: A) Stop sending email and/or go out of business, or B) Start charging for the stuff you used to get for free.

Is it so hard for people to figure this stuff out? Apply a cost somewhere and--one way or another--you're going to pay it.

Re:Well the PROBLEM is that... (1)

ShooterNeo (555040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452981)

Don't see the problem.

(a) if the organization is truly, REALLY important then you would pay or manually add the sender to the whitelist yourself.

(b) A lot of these organizations are jerks about these things, and demand your email. Even "good" organizations like churches can abuse the priviledge.

Yeah, that works (4, Funny)

scribblej (195445) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452913)

I mean, my postal mailbox is totally free of spam-like mail, because companies have to /pay/ for postal mail.

Re:Yeah, that works (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453053)

That's about all I get in my postal mailbox. Where have you been?

Re:Yeah, that works (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453117)

I get 3 or 4 mailers a week(probably partly because I live on a rather underpopulated route) and at least 3 or 4 spams an hour(that are almost universally filtered). I wouldn't care if I got 3 or 4 spams a week, filtering or no.

Re:Well (3, Insightful)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452979)

But who do you think it going to pay that cost?

I'm on a lot of mailing lists. So 300 emails a day works out to 75 cents US. Which adds up to $273 a year that I have to pay. If you look at it from the point of view of the mailing lists, they might have 10,000 users which means every email costs them $25US. For someone like Debian this is death. For someone like Microsoft -- They'll just add $25 to their product prices.

When the F... are you going to realize that pay per use is not a means to being effective for anything. It's a means of generating money. It doesn't save you money and it doesn't get you any more freedom, happiness, or flexability

Re:Well (1)

davidkv (302725) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453309)

On the spot. It is a means to cut the little guy out. The big guys could continue to spam you, they'll just have to pay up.
ISP:s are bountiful (in most places), play them against each other if they misbehave. If you don't have that option, explain and complain.

Re:Well (1)

hxnwix (652290) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453137)

So, because Verizon et all are too incompetent to set up filtering ala gmail, I should pay them?

WTF?

#irc.tro3lltal8k.com (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452751)

the official GAY states that there fly They looked So there are people To decline for PROJECT SOMEWHERE this very mo8ent, trouble. It own lube, beverage, our cause. Gay

Bot Net? (0, Redundant)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452803)

These days a lot of spam are being sent by bot-net. How does this in any way help to combat this? It does not. All it does is guarantee a revenue stream for them.

I want my share too. (3, Interesting)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452835)

For every mail delivered to me with a blue ribbon I will charge 0.125 cents. If the ISPs dont pay me I will not read the mails. Howz that!

Re:I want my share too. (1)

oyenstikker (536040) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453083)

How many people setting up their spam filters to drop anything with a blue ribbon would it take before this scheme is junked?

Re:I want my share too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19453275)

Drop? Bounce them instead.

And this will help how? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452853)

So the spammers who use botnets will just cause the hijacked computer's owners to pay thousands in email fees?
I can imagine the new "training" course at the grade schools:
Don't download music because you'll get sued for thousands of dollars by the RIAA and then have to pay thousands of dollars because a "virus" sent out emails from your computer!

Guaranteed.. hmm (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452889)

So if I send (and pay for) mail to joe blow and his mail server is down- how are you going to deliver the mail to him and still call it 'guaranteed delivery'?

Re:Guaranteed.. hmm (1)

Teifion (1022083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452969)

So if I send (and pay for) mail to joe blow and his mail server is down- how are you going to deliver the mail to him and still call it 'guaranteed delivery'?
I believe that they're looking at one of the following for this particular problem
1) You won't think of this
2) Magic
3) Hopefully you've already forgotten

I'm not amazingly clued up about the exact mechanics of email and ISPs, how will this affect things such as GMail which are provided by someone other than me? I'm guessing they'll get charged and then forward the charge onto me?

And thus Gmail became standard for businesses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452897)

It was nice while it lasted.

So /. nerds (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452937)

What say we band together and start a new Internet? This one is quickly becoming useless.

Re:So /. nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19453091)

Wot, Internet2?

Re:So /. nerds (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453399)

No. "PeopleNet1"

With the current trend of censorship, use restrictions, 2 tier web access, and now 2 tier email, the entire concept of the 'internet' is going out the window. Its turning into just an extension of the 'big media'.

Infrastructure problem (3, Informative)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19452949)

OK- so you've got the infrastructure to do pay-by-email set up. Now the end user has something like an iTunes account backed by paypal and it just sort of automagically charges your account every time you send an email, what happens when your machine is compromised by a bot-net and you're sending millions of emails for a quarter?

Re:Infrastructure problem (2, Insightful)

guruevi (827432) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453361)

That's a good thing, then the TCO of Windows would be even higher! Also, all dumb users on the Internet would be bankrupted and not able to afford a fast internet line, more bandwidth for us, less crap on the web.

Scam (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19452965)

This is like privatized jail system in the USA. The moment it was set up, the number of people sent into jail has started to grow steadily, since there is direct financial interest to "maximize" profit on investment.

If you need to pay fee to get your email for sure, the same companies can make sure that the emails of non paying people will get lost.

Re:Scam (0)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453345)

Nice bit of hype. Privatized jail has not been accused of increasing profits by increasing the number of prisoners, the Justice systems hand out the sentences not the jails, but by treating prisoners...well you know...like prisoners.

No cable tv, shitty food, bare minimum health and mental care, no Internet access, etc, etc. Oh the horror, those poor people, what did they ever do to be treated that way, oh wait a tic, yeah that's right they're scumbag criminals.

I say we haven't had a good penal colony is some time, look how well Australia turned out. Anyone have a good idea on where we can send the cream of our societal crop?

I'm not surprised (1)

maxrate (886773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453005)

E-mail is becoming increasingly difficult day by day to deliver as there are a variety of spam filtering techniques used on the recieving party. Simply setting up an SMTP server no longer cuts it, there is much that needs to be done including continous monitoring on shared SMTP servers. If there was no spam, (administratively) there would be no problem. If you are running a simple SMTP server on a cheap DSL or cable connection, chances are your reverse DNS lookup isn't going to match your intended host name. Most ISPs won't do a custom reverse DNS lookup name entry on a cheap connection.

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453075)

Might be more effective if we killed the assholes who actually bought this stuff

They're probably responsible for a lot of stupidity in the world. Buying herbal "Biggus Dickus" cream is only one of them. Hell, if you want your dick bigger, try Jergens and rub it on thoroughly...

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

BrowserCapsGuy (872795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453177)

Might be more effective if we killed the assholes who actually bought this stuff
Sigh. I'm embarrassed to admit you'd have to kill my sister. She loves spam. She buys lots of stuff from spammers. I also get a new laptop every year when hers gets so clogged with malware that she demands a new one. My only consolation is we're both adopted so I'm not really related to her!

Re:I'm not surprised (1)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453245)

You'll still have to kill her...

I won't tell anybody...

Re:I'm not surprised (2, Informative)

Just some bastard (1113513) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453135)

If you are running a simple SMTP server on a cheap DSL or cable connection, chances are your reverse DNS lookup isn't going to match your intended host name.

If you're running an MTA on a cheap connection you need to use your ISP's smarthost, mail that appears to come from dynamic addresses is increasingly rejected due to zombies.

Matching forward & reverse DNS (and sometimes helo) is an additional requirement for delivery to certain servers.

I have a guarantee to make that is absolutely free (1)

loudersoft (1113511) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453007)

I guarantee I'll never pay an ISP for 'Guaranteed' delivery of anything because the only thing I can guarantee they'll deliver to me is a bill.

Re:I have a guarantee to make that is absolutely f (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19453239)

I wouldn't be so confident about that even... I have Brighthouse cable internet, they're supposed to send monthly bills... I never got a bill, I called them, they told me I have no pending balance and told me how to access my account online. I repeatedly asked them if everyone was ok as I wasn't getting billed, and they said yeah, I'm fine. 6 months down the line, I never receive a bill, but I log into my account and there is a just posted bill for all of the previous 6 months. I knew it would come eventually, so I paid it, and after that I'm billed monthly. Another 6 months go by, never receiving a paper bill and paying online every month, and I started getting calls from a collection agency.

It took me getting my lawyer talking to them for a little while, and they eventually refunded all my payments for a year for the inconvenience and reversed the mark on my credit rating, but they are totally incompetent. Now I FINALLY get a paper bill in the mail every month after all of this. Took them long enough. I wish there was competition in the cable market, its them or nothing unfortunately :( (and they're not very reliable either, the cable goes out daily)

Whitelisting is a solved problem: Hashcash (3, Informative)

loqi (754476) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453027)

One word: Hashcash [hashcash.org] . Basically you prove that you wasted a couple seconds worth of CPU to send your message. I believe SpamAssassin already recognizes Hashcash headers, not sure about other filters. But if you're really ready to start dropping email en masse in favor of a whitelist-style approach, this is the simple and elegant solution.

Re:Whitelisting is a solved problem: Hashcash (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453125)

Hashcash is a fine solution to spammers circa 2003, sending out all their mail from a single server on a cheap hosting service. But how does it help against botnets?

I foresee a hackable solution.... (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453057)

...how about asking for receipts of emails? That's what I do for important documents that I email out any way, just so that I know that the recipient doesn't accidentally delete it and then blame me for not sending it. It also helps confirm that I don't email something out to the wrong person without knowing about it.

Another solution would be to extensions with Thunderbird or whichever email client you use that provides a certificate and requests a confirmation upon receipt automatically. This could be protected from spam by only sending automatic receipts to addresses found in your address book.

Dubious statistic (4, Insightful)

asuffield (111848) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453089)

According to Goodmail, seven U.S. ISPs now use CertifedEmail, accounting for 60 percent of the U.S. population.


This is probably true as stated, but almost meaningless. Each of those ISPs will be counting the number of users that have email accounts with them, and then they just added up those numbers. The problem with this is that many users have more than one email account and don't use the one provided by their ISP - a large chunk of that 60% probably uses yahoo, hotmail, or gmail. Many people will also have another account provided by their employer.

It is not particularly useful to count email accounts as a fraction of the US population.

Worthless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19453131)

People need to understand what these things are: SCAMS.

They don't cut down on spam, what this means is a list to bypass all spam filters.

I lost faith in any system like this a while back when Yahoo decided to have a gauranteed signature bs thing.... oh it sounds good but then you realize they whitelist any yahoo account and bypass ALL spam filters for whitelist.

Overnight the spam for my yahoo account increased by a factor of 20, and it's still like this today. Spammers realized what was going on and started to hack the yahoo mail system so their crap would be guaranteed to go through.

Spam Filters are Broken (4, Interesting)

tacocat (527354) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453195)

I think part of the problem is that spam filters are generally broken and don't work that well. Part of the problem is that no one has seriously thought about how crappy the approach is. The other part of the problem is that their is little or no personal ownership of the filtering of spam.

When the ISP/customer have no relationship on identification of what is spam the ISP has to aim really high and take the approach that anything that is obviously spam is not delivered and everything else is. The net effect is the ISP might not deliver porn spam, but they'll deliver many other things with impunity. If there was a more aggressive involvement of the customer/consumer of the email then you could better tune the filters to match each user better.

SpamAssassin is the worse offender. It's origination was to do static regex checks and add points for each hit. And when you were done, the points put you either IN or OUT. But in order for SA to work you have to tune the number of points added for each regex test. And this is constantly changing. But for it to work, you have to be constantly monitoring the results. No one does this on a consistent basis.

A critical drawback with their approach is the constant game of catch-up they have to play in order to get the filtering to work correctly and then someone has to run some update script to hopefully get everything working correctly. Again, this has to be done continually like the tuning or it will start to fail.

Bayesian filters offered a great alternative but they quickly turned into their own problems. SA uses Bayes, but it's not effective because of the lack of feedback from the consumer (in most cases). It's also prone to over-rides by their own auto-whitelisting. Convenient, but deadly. Where Bayes lacks goes back to the original problems of non-customized feedback and involvement. It's very inconvenient to try and set up something like bogofilter to run for every individual in a group of 1000's so the mail admin makes one file for everyone thereby generalizing the statistics and making them less effective because they have to be good enough for everyone but not so good they remove any of the really serious spam.

And yes, SA does user specific Bayes filtering. I used it for three months and it sucked. It was not a very effective spam filtering system even with user specific bayesian filtering included. It's also getting pretty darn slow. Slow enough to become a consideration.

DSpam is effective, customized, and slower than molasses in january. It will also lose email. But YMMV and I don't really care to hear about how great it is. I lost a lot of email and a lot of money as the result of it. Perhaps some day they can get their act together, but there will always be a severe performance penalty for CRM114. But Bayesian filtering can still compete with CRM statistical success with 100X performance increase.

So what do you do about spam filtering?

The technology exists to effectively and efficiently filter spam. But that's not the problem. The technology that is used today is relatively lame because there are shortcomings abound that prevent a good solution for someone really large (like an ISP).

The problem is to redefine how the consumer is going to own their own spam filtering effectiveness. No more auto-whitelist. No more auto-blacklist, No more auto-update of Bayesian tokens. All of these can be carefully manipulated to taint the statistics and allow delivery in droves. The consumer must take ownership of their mailbox in the same manner that they are expected to take ownership of their credit card information on the internet.

What if it doesnt work? (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453207)

What happens if the Spammers find a way around it? Will the ISP stop charging for email? Or will they keep it going and no one will care...Thus more money for them.

Pity the fool (2, Insightful)

stabiesoft (733417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453235)

who is paying for this service and gets infected. Ouch, what a bill that will be, and
all guaranteed to be delivered. New bot target:Certified senders!

a bad figure if I've ever heard one (2, Insightful)

briancnorton (586947) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453365)

accounting for 60 percent of the U.S. population

This is making a REALLY bad assumption that an ISP generated email address is used by the account holder. Problem is, once there became multiple ways to get online about 10 years ago, LOTS of people switched to web-mail for the permanence and convenience. (Hotmail, Gmail, yahoo, etc) I would guess that any major ISP has less than half of their accounts use their provided email services.

No gurantee of service? (3, Interesting)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19453369)

Then what value is the ISP?

This cant be legal. "here is your service. Oh, you want it to actually work, well pay up"
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