Eradicate Spam By Adopting Microsoft's Penny Black Anti-Spam Solution, Urges Email Marketing Industry Pioneer Adams
TUCSON, Ariz. (April 8, 2004) – Statement by Mike Adams, founder of Arial Software LLC and inventor of the first permission email marketing software product for PCs in 1993:
The Internet community must act now to eliminate spam. The seriousness of the spam problem goes far beyond the mere annoyance of flooded email inboxes and offensive messages: spam threatens the viability of email as a communications medium. The degree of pollution is so severe that regular users are finding it difficult to justify using email at all. As a result, the very utility of the Internet is downgraded. When it comes to spam, we are all harmed in terms of productivity.
Legislative solutions have proved futile. As predicted by myself and many others, spammers simply have no motivation to comply with CAN-SPAM or other laws. To solve the spam problem for good, the economics of spamming must be dismantled: it must be made unprofitable to send spam.
By far the best proposal for doing so involves adding friction to email delivery by requiring all emails to be paid for in terms of CPU cycles. This solution, called the "Penny Black" solution or "puzzle solution," is the only truly promising anti-spam solution that has surfaced. It would slow all mail servers by requiring them to run a 10-second calculation on each outbound email.
Competing solutions just don't hold water. One suggestion of actually charging everyone a penny per email is rife with unsolvable issues: who controls the money? Who determines "exempt" status for non-profits? How do poor people or poor countries pay a penny per email? These problems are politically insurmountable.
Client-side anti-spam software just doesn't cut it, either. Spammers are using randomly generated "poetry" to consistently beat those systems, and ratcheting up the level of protection only results in more legitimate email being blocked.
Only by adding friction to outbound email can we solve spam for good. According to my own analysis of the economics of spamming, some of which can be viewed at http://www.SpamDontBuyIt.org, a 10-second calculation requirement would make email 1,000 times more expensive to send than spammers can afford. This means if such a solution can be securely implemented, it would halt spam virtually overnight.
We would all wake up and find perhaps five, not five hundred, emails in our inboxes. The solution to spam is at hand. Technical details can be found at: http://research.microsoft.com/research/sv/PennyBlack
Additional information for the puzzle solution for spam can be found at: http://www.arialsoftware.com/puzzle.htm
About the author
Mike Adams is a strong anti-spam advocate and creator of the "Spam. Don't Buy It!" public education campaign at http://www.spamdontbuyit.org. His other anti-spam websites include http://www.ScreenSpam.org and http://www.spamanatomy.com . He is the president and CEO of Arial Software, LLC http://www.ArialSoftware.com , an email marketing software developer.
Note: Statement may be quoted or reprinted with appropriate attribution.
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