"Spammers always find a way"

Maxim: Would you pay for a 100% spam-free email inbox?

24-09-2009

Of the two Million emails that are sent to a Maastricht University address on a daily basis, about 90% will never make it to their destination - they are spam. Millions of Euros are spent every year to deal with spam emails, and Yahoo! recently introduced their newest idea: Centmail, a virtual stamp which is the only way that an email to a Centmail-account will pass through the spam filter, consequently making the account 100% spam free, while all proceeds go to a charity of the sender’s choice. Would you pay for each email you sent for a spam-free inbox in return?

Bart van den Heuvel, who works for the ICT department of UM thinks 100% spam free is a myth. “This only works if everyone participates. And those who don’t participate will not be able to send you emails. You have to make a choice, either you miss out on some emails or you deal with some spam.” He believes that private people will be more likely to adopt this kind of inbox “for them it is not so crucial to receive all emails.” Mr. van den Heuvel is also sure that spammers will still find ways around this system. “These are not little kids who hack around for fun, these are real criminals we are dealing with.”

Laura D’Avak, a third year UCM student has heard of the Yahoo! plan, but she is not convinced. “Especially young people will not pay for a service they can just as well get for free”. Is she encountering major spamming-problems? “Well, it depends on which email account you are talking about. My hotmail account accumulates a lot of spam emails, but I opened a Gmail account and that solved the problem.” So is Gmail the way to go? “That’s not what I mean. But if I have to name my email in order to sign up for something online, I give them my hotmail address. For friends and family, I am using the Gmail account, which stays relatively spam-free.” What about her University email address? “I never had spam there, but then again, I never give it to anyone; it is way too long anyway.”

Matthieu Jeanneney, who is studying International Economical Studies in Maastricht, would also not get one of the new Yahoo! Centmail inboxes. “Paying one cent for an email would not stop the spammers. They are making enough money off of spam.” He also believes Yahoo! has a twist in their logic. “They are playing into the spammers hands, since people will read every email they receive, because they feel safe. This is perfect for the criminals behind it.” Matthieu believes that people just have to learn how to use the internet properly. “Don’t give anyone your main email address and report spam if you receive it, so companies like Yahoo! and Gmail can improve their spam filter database.”

 

Janina Weser

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