Spam is the single most annoying thing of the internet. Being so widespread, it is no exaggeration to say that it can bring the web to a halt. When it comes to email, this statement is as close to truth as it can get.
Needless to say that there is no truly efficient antispam technique. And the reason I write this post, is just to declare provocatively, we need none.
Let me explain: Most of the spam fighting efforts are focusing on blocking the spammer’s way. We care about not letting them send mail messages or bait trackbacks to our blogposts, to deter them from faking twitter followers or friendfeed commenters.
As every crime story lover knows, what betrays the murderer is the motive. When it comes to spam, if we exclude pure malice, the motive is always one: to advertise. In the end of the spam trail, always lies a legitimate or semi-legitimate ‘business’, that wants to attract customers. And there is where the collective antispamming effort has to focus. Fighting down those who benefit from spam, fights down the financing of spam, and therefore spam itself.
This kind of approach to fighting spam entails three levels of envolvement. The individual’s level, the community’s level and the authorities level.
- The individual’s responsibility is to bring to the attention of the community the existence of a spammer.
- The community’s responsibility is to expose the benefiting party and create a negative publicity for it that counterweights the whatever benefits of spamming.
- The authorities’ responsibility is, first to pass legislation that makes such an activity illegal, and then, aided by the community reproach, to crack it down with whatever means.
At least, for the authorities of the countries of the world, this would be a welcome new activity next to their favorite passtimes of chasing bit torrents, cracking down free speach, and wiretapping conversations.