EarthLink To Offer Challenge-Response Anti-Spam E-Mail System
from the good-luck... dept
Ever since the idea of using whitelists and challenge-response systems have been brought up, I’ve been against them. I don’t think they’ll work. People tell me that I’m crazy, and users will get over the hurdles, once they realize that they’re better than spam. I’m not convinced, but it appears I’m in a minority. Earthlink is getting ready to offer their customers a free challenge-response system as a way to block spam. There are any number of issues with such systems. First off, I don’t see why I’m so important that anyone who wants to email me needs to jump through an extra hoop – and I’d bet many people trying to email me would feel the same way. The challenge-response messages are likely to confuse or annoy way too many people to make it worthwhile. To me, challenge-response systems end up giving way too many “false positives” because they effectively “block” all the legitimate mail from anyone who refuses to jump through extra hoops to reach me. While filtering systems let an occasional spam through, they tend not to block too many legitimate emails. That’s not at all true with whitelists. On top of that, there are all sorts of problems concerning dealing with mailing lists, and automated responses. Just think, every time you buy something, and the website emails you your receipt, you might not get it, because of the whitelist. Earthlink says they have a way around this – which is that you give them another email address that doesn’t use a whitelist. And, what happens when the spammers get ahold of that email address? Furthermore, how long will it be until spammers figure out a way around these sorts of challenge-response mechanisms? As a random aside, the article mentions that Mailblocks (the tremendously overhyped “me-too” challenge-response company that claims to own the patents on challenge response) is suing Spam Arrest, the challenge-response company that was sending out spam themselves.