Sunday, May 1, 2005

Regarding the death of email


By James Booth

My editorial last week regarding whether or not email is dead generated a lot of responses and solutions. So this week, I thought I'd share some of those responses with you, and give you my take on the offered solutions. In case you missed last week's piece, take a moment to give it a read at

Anthony, an IT manager writes:

I am THE IT dept for a non-profit legal services organization. We live in the heart of the 21st century beast, but none of that saves us from the dynamics you write about. Due to our business and our way of doing business, we suffer somewhat less than some other businesses, but on the other hand we have NO margins to absorb the cost of anti-spam, and anti-adware programs, nor to take many of the other hard and soft measures that might improve our collective productivity.
Using external filters has DRAMATICALLY cut our spam, but is there no way to prevail on the forces of spam, to make them see that they are killing the Golden Goose by their unbridled spamming?

Another reader believes he has the answer:

The only solution is a model where all mail must pay. It doesn't matter how much, even a fraction of a penny, but it must be something. People can make a white list and let friends through, but the spammers must pay. It will be painful to transition, but it is the only thing that will kill spam.

Reader Danny has a lucky method for cutting down on his spam:

With regards to your recent article called "Is email dead?", I must state that email is alive and well for me for several reasons. First, I keep my business email separate from my personal email. Second, I do not use my business or personal email address for subscriptions and newsletters. And finally, I do not post my business or personal email address in plain text on my Web site or any other Web site. If your business or personal email address can be Google'd, then you will have a spam problem. Works for me.

Bob offers another solution for cutting back on the junk mail:

Although the initial contact could be difficult, once made, couldn't a "code" be provided to your contact to put in the subject line so that at least it could be searched for within the junk mail?

You're absolutely right Anthony, they are killing the Golden Goose, and what will they do when it's dead and buried? In effect, all they're really doing is forcing IT to develop an alternative communication method that's more secure than email.

I may not know the answer, but I do know what isn't the answer, and fee-based email is definitely NOT the answer. So I'm supposed pay the $60 a month for my broadband connection, plus an additional fee for every email I send? If anything could kill email faster than spam, it would be fee-based email. A charge-per-email may work for the average person that only sends one or two a week, but what about businesses that send hundreds of legitimate emails a day? We might as well go back to snail mail and the telephone.