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More on stamps

I've gotten a lot of pushback on my post about stamps and friction and metrics.

Let me clarify, because I was making a different point (about measuring) so I glossed over the stamps idea:

1. we all agree spam is a pox.
2. spam exists because of the free rider problem. Without friction, without responsibility (it's anonymous) and with the cost absorbed by the ISP and the recipient, bad actors cause a problem.
3. also a problem: even permission email gets used up when senders take short term gains because it's free. I probably don't need all those emails from Amazon every time a book ships.

So, the answer I've agitating for is to add friction.

Stamps are great because you have to buy them. And buying them requires you to acknowledge who you are. Anonymity goes away.

Imagine a few big ISPs get together and say:

a. everyone gets an RSS reader that's easy to use. If you want to have frequent permission-based contact with organizations, put their RSS feed here.

b. there are other organizations you give permission to email you. But you don't want to hassle with RSS. No problem. Those organizations will pony up a quarter of a cent and that email ends up in your inbox. With a special flag indicating that the (non-anonymous) sender indicated you had signed up for it.

If you didn't sign up for it, let us know. If more than a tiny number of people call it spam, then that sender is busted. They forfeit a bond and we blacklist them. Just because they paid doesn't mean they can spam.

c. the old rules of email remain. BUT, if you get an email from someone who is not on your address list OR they're not paying a quarter of a cent, we assume that this is mail you don't really want and we put it in your suspect folder. Of course, you're always welcome to take it out of that folder, add the sender to your favorites list (with one click) and that's that.

So, what would happen:

a. the ebays and the amazons of the world would be in your rss reader, where they belong
b. the amount of spam in your goodbox would be tiny
c. people with legitimate reasons to reach you who don't want to pay the quarter of a cent would be in your otherbox, waiting for you to find them.

Who wins:

a. ISPs. They save processing power, they make a few million bucks in stamp sales, they have happier users.

b. users. Less hassle getting through their inbox.

c. marketers with real permission who have an RSS relationship.

d. marketers with real permission who get more than a quarter of a cent of value out of bothering you (and again, if it's not worth a quarter of a cent to you, it's hardly worth three seconds of my time.

Who loses:
1. spammers. They default to the spam box.
2. marketers who measure tonnage.

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Listed below are links to weblogs that reference More on stamps:

» Your total price to send 15,000 emails is from Nate's Blog
Seth Godin has an interesting post in regards to email. He uses a comparison of stamps, which require you to pay in order to send a letter. Applying some of the same things to mass email could possibly reduce spam, as well as get money from spammers... [Read More]

» Stamps will not work Seth from Peter T Davis's Small Business Blog
The reason that what you're suggesting is impractical is that nobody has yet divised a way to tell the difference between personal email and spam. So, unless people are willing to have everyone pay for email, then nobody will pay for email. Spammers ... [Read More]

» The E-Stamp Debate from The Humble Home of Rob Zazueta
Now, normally I take everything Seth Godin has to say about marketing as gospel truth. The guy is sharp as a tack. When it comes to this whole charging to send email thing, though, he's dead wrong. He thinks that... [Read More]

» Godin talks spam and RSS from Spamroll
The pushback may be because people don't want to change. Change is tough enough, but when you start talking "average user" and "internet" in the same sentences, it gets even tougher. We've barely scratched the surface of the net's commercial... [Read More]

» Stamps for email-Goodmail, AOL and Email from Chris Baggott's Email Marketing Best Practices
My take on email stamps. I have always had a problem with the misuse of email. With email we have the greatest database marketing tool in the history of mankind and yet many marketers choose to abuse it as simply [Read More]

» Stamps for email: Goodmail, AOL and Email from Chris Baggott's Email Marketing Best Practices
My take on email stamps. I have always had a problem with the misuse of email. With email we have the greatest database marketing tool in the history of mankind and yet many marketers choose to abuse it as simply [Read More]

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» Four Questions on E-Stamps from Living Intentionally - The Education of Sean Johnson
Seth Godin certainly caused a ruckus with his post on stamps. The premise of electronic stamps is to begin charging people for the privledge of sending email, theory being that spammers would be significantly deterred if they were charged for... [Read More]

» Email stamps from No man is an iland
...there's an incentive for ISPs to make the system as "unreliable" as possible, at least with regard to commercial bulk email, in order to get mailers to switch to the pay-for-delivery version. Ooops, turned the anti-spam filter up too high again. [Read More]

» The "Semi-Free" Email Proposal from Know More Media
Free email distribution leads to the unintended consequences of higher transaction costs for the consumer. A Semi-Free model transfers some of that transaction cost from the consumer to the business that sends the email. It helps, in Set... [Read More]

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