The fight against spam
Make 'em pay
Feb 14th 2004 | SAN FRANCISCO
From The Economist print edition
The dismal science takes on spam
THE short history of society's fight against spam—usually defined as unwanted commercial e-mail—may be about to pass into a significant third phase. In the first phase, it was geeks who led the resistance, using techie weapons such as e-mail filters with fancy Bayesian mathematics. In the second phase, politicians joined in, eager to get their names on to new legislation—in America, for instance, 36 states and Congress have passed laws of some sort against spam. Now, in the third phase, the economists are taking over.
The market opening for the economists is obvious. Both the geeks and the politicians are widely seen to have failed miserably. ....