For a Nickel I Will: Cringely

Robert Cringely’s article this week makes for some intereting reading. In it he suggests that spam companies should pay us for getting their annoying emails. After reading lenghty reader contributions on the spam issue Cringely quotes one that he agrees with – a guy who once worked in direct (snail) mailing –

“I was once involved in direct mail solicitations,” wrote another reader. “Despite what you — and everyone [else] — think about junk mail, mailers actually work very hard to ensure that mailings only go to people who are interested in the product. You can’t put anything in the mail for less than about 45 cents, and any kind of good offering, with color and decent paper and an easy way to reply, will cost you a buck and sometimes a lot more. Economic reality forces you to target your mailings carefully. With the same economic constraints in place, most of spam disappears.”
And here is where Cringely picks it up:

NOW we’re onto something! Make spamming more expensive to force spammers to be more efficient. This would have the effect of not only decreasing the volume of spam mail; it would also force spam to be used only for solicitations that could generate significant revenue, which might eliminate some of the currently popular spam topics.

And the pricing structure for this idea?

If you wish to have your message delivered it will cost five cents, payable only through PayPal.” Five cents is just a suggestion. The price could be anything and could even vary. Bill Gates could charge $100 and get even richer. Or using content filtering I could charge five cents for some messages and $5 for pornographers.

So YOU get paid to read targeted emails, through a system like PayPal. Interesting idea Robert.