[linux-elitists] paul graham on spam

Ben Finney ben@benfinney.id.au
Tue Mar 30 22:15:19 PST 2004

On 30-Mar-2004, Modus Operandi wrote:
> Of particular interest is the idea of spidering spammers' sites in
> order to hammer their servers [...]
> > If widely used, auto-retrieving spam filters would make the email
> > system rebound.

Any system that requires "If widely used" for its effects to be felt,
needs to address the problem of how to *encourage* wide use.

> > Pump out a million emails an hour, get a million hits an hour on
> > your servers.

I don't see the author offering any benefit to early adopters of this
technique: receive the unwanted bandwidth of spam, and suck down an
entire site worth of *more*unwanted bandwidth.

And without early adopters seeing a benefit, how will it gather enough
usage to cross that "widely used" threshold?

> similar in effect to teergrubing

Nope.  Teergrubing punishes the very act of sending spam, with no extra
bandwidth cost for the recipient (admittedly, there's a process-denial
cost, but that's far easier to bear).

This "spider the spammer's site" proposal punishes the recipient -- they
download more crap when they receive a spam mail -- and isn't doing
anything to the spammer that they didn't want in the first place: hits
to their website.

The "punishment" in spidering the spammer's site comes *only* when the
use is widespread, unlike teergrubing.

 \        "Most people don't realize that large pieces of coral, which |
  `\       have been painted brown and attached to the skull by common |
_o__) wood screws, can make a child look like a deer."  -- Jack Handey |
Ben Finney <ben@benfinney.id.au>
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