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Microsoft loses out to Gmail as king of Web-based mail. Can take back the throne?
Shannon Jacobs's profile photo
What amazes me is that the #1 abomination of email remains same as it ever was: SPAM. Filters do NOT address the problem, because "Live and let spam" is fine with the spammers. Hey, if you think your marginal cost per million spams is effectively zero, then you think finding one more sucker to send you a couple of bucks means your RoI is infinite. Insofar as the cost of spam is NOT zero and the spam does nothing but subtract from the value of the Internet, it also means the spammers are sociopaths, but...

Gmail has some nice cosmetics, but I wish either Microsoft or Yahoo would up the ante by making their email systems repugnant to the spammers. I think they could do this by adding some integrated spammer-fighting tools that would channel the spam hatred against ALL of the spammers' infrastructure, while also pursuing ALL of the spammers' accomplices and helping ALL of the spammers' victims. Something like SpamCop, but on steroids, it would involve several iterations of a webform that allows us to identify the various features of the spam and target the appropriate countermeasures--with some other options to come down hard on any new wrinkles the spammers think up.

I'm not saying we can eliminate all spam or all sociopaths. What I'm saying is that there are lots of people who hate spam and only a few suckers who feed the spammers, and we can leverage things to get the MANY in the way of the few. No, the spammers will not be miraculously converted into decent human beings, but if they can't get the money, they will crawl under less visible rocks. ALL of us will benefit from a higher-value Internet with less spam.
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