Richi'Blog
Stuff 'n' nonsense about email, spam, travel, and life in the UK.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Esther Dyson is Wrong -- Most Email Will Remain Free

I like Esther Dyson. I first met her in the early '90s, and found her thoughtful, insightful, and straight talking. But I can't let her op-ed piece in Friday's New York Times go unchallenged.

Dyson begins with a refreshingly accurate, measured description of Goodmail and its partnerships with AOL and other email providers. She goes on to belittle those who aim to boycott Goodmail and their partners. Those who keep up with my blog will know that I fully agree with her on this point.

However, Dyson goes on to say, "Pretty soon sending most e-mail will cost money, but I think that's only right." I disagree -- it won't and it isn't.

Her argument stands or falls on the assertion that today's spam filters aren't working -- Dyson asserts that, "The senders of 'bad' mail are getting better and better at defeating them." However, it's clear to me that, although the smarter spammers are making their messages trickier to filter, the filters are also getting better.

All in all, today's state of the art in spam control solutions is far ahead of where it was, say, two years ago. Improved spam filters being available to more people -- plus laws that allow the citizenry to penalize spammers -- will cause the scourge of email spam to whither and die.

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