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The Penny Black Project

Take a look at http://research.microsoft.com/research/sv/PennyBlack/

Is seems to be similar to Joel's spam filtering idea.

Igor K.
Monday, November 25, 2002

One of the problems about charging for mail is that it can't then be mail.  Not in the ordinary sense.  It would have to be some kind of double blind system where a public address was known and a relationship created where the sender was trusted to send mail to the recipient.

Either ends of that connection could look like mail but the bottleneck of having a single database that validated that relationship would likely make it unusable.

Then there's the problem of initiating that relationship, if you want to receive mail from someone in this kind of setup you force them to enroll in it.

If you want to send charged mail to someone who isn't already enrolled you could just umm send mail and uh tell them to enroll.  Oh.

As always with these kinds of things it depends on ubiquity and the ability to micro charge.  But if you have ubiquity it will likely get polluted in much the same way, only more slowly. 

You accept mail from a corporate source as part of their terms and conditions they have you agree to using that mailing address for promotional material, then other collateral material gets pushed into the same delivery and before you know it you have the same junk mail problem that you have with physical mail.

With micro-charging you get nickel and dimed to death, validating that you actually sent that many mails at that time would probably cost you as much as the bill you get presented with.  So its likely that billing errors would accumulate, much as they do with telephone, banking and utility charges which have a similar problem of many small transactions.

(Sent from very close to the home of the original gummed and printed stamp, Wyre Forest Worcs).

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, November 26, 2002

OTOH what if you don't require tickets for each member, but for each trust between a sender and recipient.

The server mechanism for granting tickets could be the same, and you could encode an encrypted string containing details of the "trust ticket" into the mail headers without too much bother, much the same as we can exchange PGP encrypted emails now if we wish.

Of course, it's still a bit of a "boil the whole ocean" thing.

Robert Moir
Tuesday, November 26, 2002

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