From ZDNet News, [2/20/03]:

An Australian entrepreneur has created what may be the first antispam service that lets its users charge for the privilege of sending them e-mail….

“Spammers aren’t going to be sending many spams to you if you charge them 50 cents,” [Bernard] Palmer said. “A spam would cost them $2 million.”

… At least in its current form, CashRamSpam is more of a “proof of concept” than it is a robust antispam solution. Anyone who wishes to contact a CashRamSpam customer must purchase an account themselves first, there is no provision to permit friends or colleagues, and the system does not permit legitimate mailing lists to which users voluntarily subscribe to bypass the payment process. CashRamSpam keeps 10 percent of a user’s contact fee as its payment.

When someone tries to contact a CashRamSpam customer, a message is automatically returned saying: “We regret your message cannot be delivered using ordinary e-mail because the receiver has a CashRamSpam account…If you want to succeed in reaching this receiver please register at and resend the message from there.”
To make it work, the service needs to make it easy to add a list of people who will not be charged. The article has a lame comment by the chairman of the Electronic Frontier Foundation saying it would have a “chilling effect on speech”–which makes it clear he has no understanding of the First Amendment whatsoever.

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