3/19/04

E-mail Postage Due -- Eweek editorial

Ed Bride, an editor with Computerworld puts forward a dreadful idea in an eweek guest editorial. I do not know why I noticed this. I get eweek through no fault of my own; I never subscribed and cannot see how to unsubscribe. I usually just recycle it at the post office. For some reason I saw this issue and this editorial.

Bride proposes, "Suppose every addressee cost the sender, say, 1 cent. Would legitimate businesses be willing to pay this fee to increase the likelihood that recipients would read their missives? I believe the answer is yes. The ISP could collect the fee, keep a small portion for its accounting service and remit the remainder to Uncle Sam."

I have no idea why "Uncle Sam," is mentioned, but I believe the answer is "no." I don't suppose Mr. Bride is new to the Internet. Perhaps he doesn't get or send much e-mail. The problem is not, of course, with legitimate e-mail. It is not even a problem with unsolicited e-mail. It s with unsolicited commercial e-mail or junk e-mail. And whether he can imagine it or not, $.01 per e-mail message will negatively affect one of its greatest strengths.

What we have, and what I pay for with my monthly fee, is essentially the same as the "Unlimited local calling" on my phone line. This is very common in the U.S., though not so common elsewhere. For my $25 a month, I can call as many local numbers as often as I want. For my ISP's fee, I expect the same.

On the Internet, every call is a local call.

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