Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(June 1998)

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Subject: Re: A really good point against Mike Nolan's idea
From: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jun 1998 20:50:07 -0700
To: nolan @ tssi . com, list-managers @ GreatCircle . COM (List Managers)
In-reply-to: <199806160312 . WAA25951 @ celery . tssi . com>

At 8:12 PM -0700 6/15/98, Mike Nolan wrote:

> So maybe the focus has to be on inter-ISP pricing, and let the ISP's
> continue to offer prix fixe, at least until the next time they all revise
> their pricing models.  (Every 2-3 years, it seems.)

It's all competition. You can compete on price, or features, or some
combination. Fact is, you can fatten the margins if you give users
something they want, because they'll pay a premium for it. And while
some people shop on price alone, that's really a rather small
percentage. Everyone wants to pay the least possible -- for a
reasonable product. But definitions of "reasonable" differ. Otherwise,
everyone would be sleeping in Motel 6's on vacation, and driving Kia's.

> As I said up front, I'm philosophising online here, in search of a way to
> put the Internet on a more stable economic basis and deal with certain
> problems IMHO caused by the current economic structure.

so am I. And suggesting things to think about.

> If the best arguments against me are that it won't fly "because that's not
> the way things work and people won't accept it", and not that my idea
> isn't technologically feasible, then I would remind folks that there are
> countless ideas that received that same judgement up front.  IBM turned
> down the photocopy machine because they decided it wouldn't sell,
> so the inventor went on to start up a little company called Xerox.

Yes, and how many machines got turned down and DIDN'T sell? Because one
in a thousand actually worked gives reason to hope. But 999 of those
thousand did fail, which should remind folks to look for ways to
minimize the risk and improve their odds.

> A question for those who know more than I (probably most of the subscribers
> to this list):  What percentage of spammers have their own IP connection
> versus sending from some ISP?  One flaw in my idea, which I'm rather
> surprised nobody has raised yet, is that it won't do much about spammers
> who have their own full fledged net connection.

The larger, sophisticated ones do. But more importantly, a huge
percentage of the spam comes from the large internetwork connections of
places like uunet, by people who aren't even signed up to uunet, but
who hook in because they can, and then relay through other, open sites.

Take a look at the number of spam received lines with "cust*"
in them. they're all dialups, not machines. And spam software's written
to allow people to dial in, then start stuffing SMTP commands down an
open relay's throat. Technically speaking, these folks have NO ISP.
They're hijacking UUnet's modem and network, and hijacking someone
else's sendmail connection. That both uunet and the ISP are doing
stupid things by not locking things down is a different issue, but not
one you'll solve by trying to beat up on ISP's. Because most of the
wide-open sendmails aren't ISP's. they're things like schools and
overseas backwaters and sites that aren't closely watched in the first
place, or simply don't care.

> But filtering is a method doomed to either failure or perpetual revision.
> It's a game of fox and hounds, and right now the wrong side is winning.

Arguable. I haven't evaluated sendmail 8.9 yet, but I know how much
worse it used to be. My spam filters are old, adn the spammers have
mostly gotten around them, which points out the difficulty in all this,
but if there are two options: stopping the source or filtering at the
client, and you have no control of the source, what do you suggest?

> > There are always people willing to blaze trails, whether into new
> > technologies, or by doing the research for you.
> And in a sense, that's what I'm trying to stimulate here, a different
> way of thinking about net structures and pricing, even if a lot of it
> is recycled old ideas.

Well, for spam stuff like this, isn't the anti-spam lists a better
place to stimulate than list-managers? Because spam-on-mail lists is a
minor aspect of overall spam, and would be solved as a side effect. And
the anti-spammers have a much larger body of knowledge on spam than
this list does. It seems this is probably not the best place for it...

Chuq Von Rospach (Hockey fan? <>)
Apple Mail List Gnome (mailto:chuq @
 apple .
Plaidworks Consulting (mailto:chuqui @
 plaidworks .
<> + <>

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From: Mike Nolan <nolan @ celery . tssi . com>
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