17th level Hacker

Economic Analysis of SPAM

Slashdot mentions a paper about applying information theory analysis and economics to the Spam issue. I think the paper raises some pretty good points. I’m most interested in seeing a system like this applied to SMS however. For a long time I’ve been bitching about how the lack of peer to peer communication between mobile networks and the Internet is a major hinderance to the expansion of mobile applications. What I mean by that is that there should be a basic and uniform way to send a message from an IP based network to a handset on the SMS network, and vice versa. The major problem there is Spam. If anyone on the Internet could just send an SMS to your handset at will, I’m sure they would. So there has to be some mechanism there to block Spam.

This Attention Bond Mechanism could provide a part of that. As the paper mentions in section 8.2, their method of dealing with email Spam applies just as well to unsolicited phone calls and SMS messages. Maybe this would provide enough direct economic incentive to telcos to implement some kind of direct addressing with ABM to ensure that it’s not abused. I think they would see a lot of jump in revenue just from the increased messages IF they allowed recipient determined “whitelisted” senders on the Internet to transact without a fee. In my model of the world free news services need to be able to send updates for free. People will use them, they use blogs and community websites for a lot of their information gathering and entertainment. They would use notification services from those sites if they were offered.