Saturday, October 02, 2004

No More Spam

AOL, Yahoo, Hotmail, Earthlink and Comcast have agreed to adopt some technical standards that will significantly reduce the amount of spam emails received. Their plan is to authenticate the sender's email address for bulk emails. Other ISPs will probably follow suit. But the question is, how long before the spammers find a workaround...?

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

What makes the business of security successful is its failure.
-Merlinx

Zunaira said...

Why have they left out the Googlewallas? Most people prefer being on Gmail because spam is puny there.

Anonymous said...

Reality and perfection mix like oil and water. They're new at this. We shouldn't lose faith just yet, give them some time and I'm sure they'll make up for the lost mileage sooner or later.
-Merlinx

Zunaira said...

If you're talking specifically about Gmail, well, sure they deserve all the time they need.

Once in a while, one or two emails I send from my Gmail account land nowhere. They do not even show up in my Sent Mail folder. Anyone else encounter strange stuff with Gmail?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I am talking about Gmail specifically. It's too good to be true. Something will chip away sooner or later if they are following the regular model of providing free-mail service like Yahoo or Hotmail. The bottom line is it is costing resources somewhere and someone must be paying for those resources, right? Either the quality will start to fade or the service will eventually become inundated with something unpleasant like ads or spam, etc. Incremental growth makes sense, like everyone had 5 MB mailboxes then one fine day, that goes up to 1 GB at no cost? I could believe it if it was up to like 25 MB even but I have doubts why there is such an excessively generous jump. Must be something in the fine-print or behind the scenes. All that glitters is not always gold. Maybe I just have a paranoid viewpoint but I would like to see what unfolds as time passes. Until then enjoy it while it lasts.
- Merlinx

SQ said...

Actually... If you think about it, back when Hotmail started, 1MB would cost around $1 (hard drive space). Now, 1GB costs around $1. So, I really don't see what the big deal is as far as resources are concerned.

Anonymous said...

Well perhaps your right. I don't dispute that the per unit cost of storage is declining per unit time. Just that I doubt things that look too good to be true, because they usually aren't. The norm is everyone is offering 5 MB and someone comes along out of the blue and suddenly starts offering a gig of space with no strings attached? I can't help but wonder what is the catch? From a business standpoint, if you want to woo your competitors' customers away from them and towards you, that could have just as easily been done by offering 25 MB mailboxes or 30 or 40 or even 50. What is the biz rationale of offering such an astronomical leap in the service vs. the standing norm? Why use a cannonball to kill a fly when all you need is a fly-swatter?

There are certain interesting gossips floating around that Google proactively scans your emails to glean personal information for "marketing purposes" and "what-you-delete-they-will-retain" and that it is basically a profiling service masquerading as a free-mail service. Search the net and other blogs and you'll find these discussions for yourself. Also read the terms of agreement carefully because I know that doesn't dispute that the data you send thru their email can be used by them for other purposes.

Billion-dollar question for the billion-byte mailbox -- would you use any service if you were consciously aware that it was actively profiling you with every bit of information it got through your usage of its service?

But then again all this may be nothing but unfounded skepticism. Only time will tell.

-Merlinx

Zunaira said...

I went over the Terms of Agreement with a magnifying glass and Merlinx is spot on. Google can use your data whichever way they like and can terminate their service when they need to.

Living in a Googlespace--blogspot, gmail, googlegroups--means one company is in a very good position to profile its users. Conspiracy theories abound, one wonders what kind of a bot/software is tracking millions of users, their responses, catching keywords [if so, of what nature?]... Btw, the sponsored ads that appear next to each message in Gmail are not always targeted OR relevant to my emails.

Yesterday, Gmail introduced importing Contacts feature. A service on the verge of collapse wouldn't take a leap like that simply because its users are demanding it. ***There must be a catch*** [we all think so, yes] So why? Take your pick:

- We will be required to pay up OR
- Google loves people and wants to make the web meaningful for all of us OR
- Hotmail is passe and Google thought only it has the mettle to challenge MS OR
- Google is actually an NSA/FBI/Pentagon/DARPA funded project to monitor, filter, profile, control and direct the world's web traffic

Any more? Come on then, put on your 'creative' cap :~)

SQ said...

You use a canonball to kill a fly because you want to attract attention. If Google had started giving a 25MB email account, do you think you and I would be having this discussion right now?

Other that pure affordability of storage, there's also the problem of implementing this 1 GB email technologically, while providing 100% uptime, no data loss, etc. From things I have heard (and read), it would seem that to implement something like this was a lot easier for Google to do because of the technology they have developed (as compared to Hotmail giving you that much space).

As for profiling, *ANY* email provider can sniff your email. Google is just explicitly telling you that they do. So what's the problem with that? Besides, if they're giving you 1 GB of free space, they will want something big in return, won't they?

From what you're saying , you can actually think of it as a $1 question, and not a $Billion question. Because 1 GB is worth $1. So would you let them profile you just for $1?

Lastly, I doubt there's a "catch" to this. It's so cheap for them to provide the service, that they're probably already making a profit fromt the targeted ads. And announcing a "catch" now will affect their stock price now that they are public. And they won't want that just yet.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the technical aspects of why it is possible to offer this much storage space for free now. I am still skeptical about some of their policies such as archiving peoples' emails after they decide to delete them, and not only profiling Gmail users but also users who are non-subscribers contacting a Gmail subscriber.

It's akin to me walking into a mall and going to the shoe store and buying something. The shoe store starts sending me newsletters and promotionals later. What these guys are doing is more like I walk into the mall and they are watching everything I do, everything I say, and taking notes about me. If I talk to someone outside the mall on a payphone, they're also making notes about the person I called. And then they're saying they can do whatever they like with that information. They're watching over my shoulder. True, some people won't really care and it is definitely debatable, but if someone gave you a free ticket to Disneyworld, would you feel queasy if you knew that someone would be watching over your shoulder the whole time and making notes? Even if it was Disneyworld? Or if someone offered to give you a free phone line in exchange for a wire tap? Some people might not care because the chance to experience Disneyworld or get a free phone would be worth it...but some people might balk at the idea and keep away.

I know this is a bit off the deep end, and makes a great conspiracy theory, but what other service providers are doing is info-gathering about their customer base -- what these guys are doing might fall under the jurisdiction of pure surveillance.

Check out these links at the Electronic Privacy Information Center:

http://www.epic.org/privacy/gmail/faq.html
http://www.epic.org/alert/EPIC_Alert_11.08.html

-Merlinx

SQ said...

I saw the URLs -- nothing new there (at least not new to me). My basic point is this: every email provider in this world has the capability of sniffing your email and profiling you if they wanted to. They can do it at any time with the flip of a switch. In fact, they might already be doing it without you knowing about it. And Google is explicity telling you that they are doing it.

As a side note, some ISPs are already profiling people to some extent with the FBI's help (by using Carnivore).

Anonymous said...

Point taken. I'll remember to adjust my rear-view mirror and keep my eyes peeled. ;-)
Cheers!
-Merlinx

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