Using Uncensored Communication Channels to Divert Spam Traffic
We offer a microeconomic model of the two-sided market for the dominant form of spam: bulk, unsolicited, and commercial advertising email. We adopt an incentive-centered design approach to develop a simple, feasible improvement to the current email system using an uncensored communication channel. Such a channel could be an email folder or account, to which properly tagged commercial solicitations are routed. We characterize the circumstances under which spammers would voluntarily move much of their spam into the open channel, leaving the traditional email channel dominated by person-to-person, non-spam mail. Our method follows from observing that there is a real demand for unsolicited commercial email, so that everyone can be made better off if a channel is provided for spammers to meet spamdemanders. As a bonus, the absence of filtering in an open channel restores to advertisers the incentive to make messages truthful, rather than to disguise them to avoid filters. We 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 for all recipients the satisfaction associated with desirable mail received increases, and dissatisfaction associated with both undesirable mail received and desirable mail filtered out decreases.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- 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.
- 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.
- Van Zandt, Timothy, 2001. "Information Overload in a Network of Targeted Communication," CEPR Discussion Papers 2836, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:net:wpaper:0620. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Nicholas Economides)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.