Sometimes I think that Joel is writing just to get my proverbial goat. This time he’s suggesting we set up services that charge a cent to send mail. Then spam goes away, b/c it’s going to cost too much to send out tens of thousands (“19 million”) of emails with such a poor “bite-in” (my cheesy term there, not his) from the recipients.

Though charging for email is a good way to start controlling spam, the idea bothers me on two counts. First, remember about ten years ago when the whole danged Internet was free? No pop-ups, no ads, no Flash presentations flickering as you try to read the day's news. It’d be a shame that not even email, the most popular of what I'll call the “simple standards” (versus what http has become with plug-ins and javascript galore), can remain true to what originally made the Internet great.

Second of all, the charge would hardly stop spam. Embarrassingly simple economics. If the “bite-in” dropped from 0.001% to 0.000%, don’t you think the spammers would start shelling out a cent a message? Somehow, spammers keep paying 17¢ or so plus printing to get their junk delivered to my door.