Spam, Newsletters and RSS

Email newsletters have survived the web, but anti-spam initiatives will take them down. Blacklists, whitelists and challenge/response are the rage in the war against spam. But blacklists are broad and draconian, whitelists leak spam with forged addresses, and challenge/response systems cannot distinguish between opt-in and spam. The war on spam will inevitably force publishers to convert from email to RSS.

I imagine you could subscribe to a newsfeed of your interests and the headlines would be customized to you … publishers would establish a feed and people would add the feed

Unfortunately, not everyone has a RSS reader. Newsletter producers are in for a bumpy ride over the next few years.

Blacklists: people have been taught that unsubscribing to spam only serves to confirm your email address. So they often opt to brand a newsletter as spam rather than unsubscribe.

Whitelists: 100 × zero is still zero. Spam will be sent multiple times with forged from addresses. Whitelists will create a new market for “clean from addresses.” And newsletters will be prime candidates.

Challenge/Response: the fundamental problem is that sending spam is free. Challenge/response systems work by attaching a cost to each email. That will kill the free newsletter.

Sample Newsletters:

13 May: Confessions of a Former Spammer via Marketing Fix.