when is spam a good thing. if you're the unfortunate victim of its assault (and who isn't these days?), you might be tempted to say: never. the spam fighters out there in cyberspace would like to remind you that they empathize with you and they are working hard to eliminate this parasite.
a particularly active and vigilante-style genre of these anti-spam folks are the so-called black-list operators. they maintain a list of offending servers and most make their lists available for free. their services are usually not for end-users, but they fit best for email administrators. once installed, every piece of email reaching the network, is checked against the subscribed blacklist and if it's a match, it is simply dropped right then and there. it will never reach the intended recipient.
this is a great service, but it has a wide potential for abuse. as more organizations use these lists, the list operators gain more importance and as human nature goes, it becomes difficult to resist hubris and arrogance, and ultimately corruption. some of these list sites, in mob-like fashion, add servers to their lists and then demand large sums of money from the complainants to investigate the complaint and possibly remove them from their black list. in lay terms: ransom money.
a proposal made to the official internet supervising group (icann), and sponsored by one of these list operators (spamhaus of united kingdom), has the potential to up the ante on the spam fight. it calls for the creation of the .mail domain (e.g. example.com.mail) and it will subject all registrants to stringent guidelines for acceptance. oh and by the way, it comes with a hefty application fee. guess who's going to be the predominant beneficiary of the application fees? my money is on those altruistic black-list operators.
so when is spam a good thing? when you are the spammer, or you are a black-list operator who's about to get filthy rich through extortion, er, application fees.
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