About this author
Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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May 1, 2003

The ONLY SPAM solution: MONEY

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Posted by Zack Lynch

Only money can eradicate spam. The Internet is a globally distributed ecosystem complete with evolving organism/organizations that continuously adapt to change.  The current spam epidemic is proof.  Moreover, no legislative or technical solution (i.e. filters) will be able to stop it.  Why?  Because spam is fundamentally an economic problem. 

Ross Mayfield and I attempted to get an anti-spam company off the ground two years ago based on this fact. Yet the noise of emerging technical solutions and lack of insight by "leading" venture capitalists reminded us that it takes more than being right to build a company.  The current spam explosion is proof that technical solutions are only making the problem worse. 

So here I go, I'm giving the world the answer.  It's simple in theory, but incredibly complex to pull off in reality.

Put a price on your inbox.  No email gets into your email inbox unless it has a dime attached.  I pay you a dime the first time I want to communicate with you, and from there until infinity you and I can share that same dime back and forth.  No money, no entry.   This fundamentally shifts the economic cost of sending email back to original senders.  Think a spammer would spend $100,000 to reach 1 million people now? 

So there it is.  Go build it, so we can all get on with our lives...oh and by the way, you need to be able to scale globally and have multi-currency functionality in 90 days or the system won't get adopted.  Want more?  The business plan is done.  Just need $5m.  Any takers?

Back to neurotechnology tomorrow.

Comments (1) | Category: Writing & Blogging


1. Chris on November 6, 2003 5:17 PM writes...

Aren't the challenge - response systems doing essentially the same thing? The cost to the sender is time and effort instead of cold hard cash. Either way it is a price the spammers won't pay.

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