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Using uncensored communication channels to divert spam traffic

Author

Listed:
  • Chiao, Benjamin
  • MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey

Abstract

We analyze a simple, feasible improvement to the current email system using an uncensored (open) communication channel. Such a channel could be an email folder or account, to which properly tagged commercial solicitations are routed without filtering along the way. We characterize the circumstances under which senders would voluntarily move much of their spam into the open channel, leaving the traditional email channel dominated by person-to-person mail. We then show that under certain conditions all email recipients are better off when an open channel is introduced. Only recipients wanting spam will use the open channel enjoying the less disguised messages and cheaper sale prices, and for all recipients the dissatisfaction associated with both undesirable mail received and desirable mail filtered out decreases.

Suggested Citation

  • Chiao, Benjamin & MacKie-Mason, Jeffrey, 2012. "Using uncensored communication channels to divert spam traffic," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 24(3), pages 173-186.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:iepoli:v:24:y:2012:i:3:p:173-186
    DOI: 10.1016/j.infoecopol.2012.07.001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Il-Horn Hann & Kai-Lung Hui & Sang-Yong Tom Lee & Ivan Png, 2005. "Consumer Privacy and Marketing Avoidance," Industrial Organization 0503009, EconWPA.
    2. Simon P. Anderson & André de Palma, 2012. "Competition for attention in the Information (overload) Age," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 43(1), pages 1-25, March.
    3. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Tirole, 2014. "Platform Competition in Two-Sided Markets," CPI Journal, Competition Policy International, vol. 10.
    4. Timothy Van Zandt, 2004. "Information Overload in a Network of Targeted Communication," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 35(3), pages 542-560, Autumn.
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    6. Simon P. Anderson & André de Palma, 2009. "Information congestion," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 40(4), pages 688-709.
    7. Il-Horn Hann & Kai-Lung Hui & Yee-Lin Lai & S.Y.T. Lee & I.P.L. PNG, 2006. "Who gets spammed?," Natural Field Experiments 00271, The Field Experiments Website.
    8. Robert Kraut & Shyam Sunder & Rahul Telang & James Morris, 2005. "Pricing Electronic Mail to Solve the Problem of Spam," Yale School of Management Working Papers amz2638, Yale School of Management, revised 01 Oct 2005.
    9. Loder Theodore & Van Alstyne Marshall & Wash Rick, 2006. "An Economic Response to Unsolicited Communication," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-38, March.
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    11. Bagwell, Kyle, 2007. "The Economic Analysis of Advertising," Handbook of Industrial Organization, Elsevier.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Spam; Communication; Market design;

    JEL classification:

    • L86 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Information and Internet Services; Computer Software
    • L96 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Telecommunications

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