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Welcome to STop, the Seattle Times Opinion blog where our editorial writers and editors share their evolving thoughts on a variety of issues. STop is a place where opinion writers and readers can exchange views and readers can learn more about how editorial positions are formed.

The opinions you read below are those of the individual writers, not necessarily views that will become formal positions of The Seattle Times. Respond to STop
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February 09, 2004

Re: E-mail postage and spammers

A reader's response to E-mail postage:

Interesting comments. The problem, however, is not spam. The problem is the major e-mail service providers' desire to cash in on one more area of the Internet.

Spam is not a problem. Spam is more like junk mail. I don't know about you, but I simply toss any junk mail that comes into my mail box. Unopened. Unread. Simple solution.

For spam, I use a product called "Mail Washer." (There are many other, similar products out there.) I get a list of e-mail subject lines, click the check box next to ones I don't want, and click the "process mail" button. Mail Washer then deletes all checked e-mails before I download to my inbox. Unopened. Unread. Simple solution. Cost of the product? Whatever you want to contribute. (I gave the programmer $25 three years ago.)

I recognize that the major e-mail service providers have to provide substantial amounts of equipment to handle the volume of all e-mail. That cost we, the consumers, already pay in service fees.

I have no problem paying corporations or developers money for solutions that solve my problems. I have a huge problem paying for solutions that solve THEIR problems when I do not contribute to their problems. One proposed solution is to segregate e-mail from spammers from all other e-mail, and only charge the spammers. This solution would reduce their equipment needs. Would this reduce other charges to the consumer? No way!

The technology to segregate e-mail senders does not exist today. The development costs, I suspect, would be very large. Once developed, most spammers would stop sending e-mails. The costs, however, still exist. And those companies would use the cost of their "protection" as justification for charging every user for using e-mail. That is the real goal. Just another way to enhance revenue by putting another layer of cost on the consumer.

Spam is not a difficult problem. The simple solution is to just throw it away like junk mail.

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Posted by Kate Riley at February 9, 2004 03:28 PM



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