TipJoy as email postage?

2008/09/23

I have been thinking about this ever since TipJoy was announced. However, daily life stuff got on the way and the idea did not develop for quite sometime.

Although not the first to do so, reader of this blog Stazybo Horn suggested charging per email as a possible solution to spam some time ago. Systems that do this have appeared, like for example Goodmail Systems. The general idea and I copy-paste from Wikipedia is:

Certified e-mail is an e-mail whitelisting technique by which an internet service provider allows someone to bypass spam filters when sending e-mail messages to its subscribers, in return for paying a fee to the certifying service.

Today Stazybo Horn blogs about a securityfocus.com interview of Wietse Venema, where he says: «The best theoretic solution is to change the email distribution model». Venema (author of Postfix by the way) then goes on and proposes a «pull» model where a MUA downloads email sent to the user given that certain circumstances apply.

In the same spirit, and because I believe that legitimate email marketeers are willing to pay a minimum fee per message (there are people who use Goodmail’s solution, right?) I also thought of changing the distribution model:

  • Pay the end user to read your spam message!

Even better than pay, TipJoy them so they can buy books.

Spammers thrive because it costs them next to nothing to send their messages and have some of them accepted. This has resulted in implementing a series of filters that do have false positives, where legitimate senders take the hit along with the black sheep. So why not pay a minimum fee to the end user? That would help develop whitelists that would deliver the message to the end user’s INBOX.

Unfortunately the current TipJoy API is not ready to support such an idea, but I am told that a next version might be more suitable for such things.

Update: It seems that TipJoy is shutting down :(

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One Response to “TipJoy as email postage?”


  1. I missed tipjoy. It looks nice in principle.

    I guess the real load with spam is on the infrastructure, not the end user; so any solution should target the infrastructure, not the receiver’s inbox. Venema is even harsher:

    «In my personal opinion, the reliability of email reached its maximum near 1998; it has gone down ever since as the result of increasingly aggressive anti-spam/virus measures. This observation has led me to conclude that the spammers aren’t destroying the email infrastructure, it’s the well-meaning people with their countermeasures.»


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