Weekly, I keep an eye to the horizon to assess new developments
in the Internet environment. In noting the changes, I sometimes
begin to feel overwhelmed by feelings of doom.
The S~P~A~M problem is one such item that leaves me at times
in much distress. I fear the trends of the ISP's in their
efforts to get control of the S~P~A~M situation.
The ISP's are pushed and prodded by the ISP's customers as they
begin to feel overwhelmed by the volume of unappreciated UCE
Now and again, companies spring up to promise a new technology
to combat the growing problems faced by the ISP's and their
Early on, the promising technologies included blacklists and
email filters. I say "early on" because I have been fighting
to overcome S~P~A~M filters for the last five years. The people
who receive mail from me in the form of ezines or newsletters
have ALL double-opted-in to receive my publications.
The sad thing is that as long as I have been publishing an
ezine, I have had subscribers who could not receive my
publications due to email filters.
Just a few months ago, I was feeling very depressed about the
future or lack of a future for email. It seems that the filters
are becoming so intrusive that very few emails will actually
reach their actual and intended recipients. And it seems the
problem will only get worse.
Now, we have a company offering a new solution that is almost
more Draconian than email filters. Habeas, Inc. has created
an email header and filters to assure that the people doing
the mailings are authorized to do so by the anti-S~P~A~M
zealots, a.k.a. the Habeas, Inc. accountant.
Habeas believes that online commercial enterprises should pay
them a fee to guarantee that their email will be delivered to
those who have asked to receive mail from them.
Personally, I am hoping someone will use the one keyword that
has most damaged the Internet to damage the future of the
Habeas concept. That one word is "free".
Think about this. If someone was to feel secure enough to
stand up to the Habeas saber rattling about Copyrights and
Patents, and to offer a very similar service for FREE, then
we can as a community destroy the pay-to-send-email concept
before it has a chance to build any real momentum.
Today I read a small story about a email hoax perpetuated by
a student at Yale University:
The interesting thing that came out of this story is that the
Yale Administration came up with a simple solution to this
problem. They have directed their IT department to add a link
to every email that shows the URL where the official copy of
the email being sent can be seen on the secured Yale website.
The solution is that if the link does not appear with the email
pointing to where the communication can be seen on the Yale
website, then the reader is to assume that the email is a hoax.
Like I said, a few months ago, I felt very pessimistic about
the future of email. These days, my outlook is not nearly so
When I realized that I would change the format of my own
publication, I also realized that I would move the publication
to my own mail server and I would also send two copies of the
ezine. The first copy would be a full HTML copy of the ezine,
and the second copy will consist of only a link to the URL
where one can view the ezine online. The second mailing is
only for those whose ISP blocked the original mailing.
Imagine that. There are in fact ways out there to conquer the
email hoax perpetrators and there are ways out there to conquer
the email filtering software. And finally, there is in fact a
way to defeat the Habeas, Inc. pay-to-send-email program.
The future does not look so dim anymore.