A Foolproof Way to Reduce Internal Corporate Spam

Opinion: You can filter spam from outside the company, but what do you do when you're drowning in Reply All, fund-raising requests and jokes? The AOL-Yahoo plan to charge advertisers to spam AOL and Yahoo customers offers a hint.

When Yahoo and AOL instituted a program in February that would charge advertisers microscopic amounts to send e-mail ads to AOL and Yahoo customers, they triggered and ear-shattering level of caterwauling.

That whingeing was music to my ears—I love the sound of incompetent marketers crying in the morning.

The leadership AOL and Yahoo provided may give you cover to institute one of the most powerful productivity initiatives an IT group can launch.

Ill explain that in a bit, but first let me explain the ISP change and what it does to the market for commercial communication.

Oversimplified, Yahoo and AOL will be charging advertisers a microscopic per-recipient fee to deliver certified ad campaigns and not filter them out as spam.

Theres more to the scheme, but in essence, the attachment of a tiny fee slaps a governor on the engine of advertising that streams messages into our lives.

In ads sent via USPS or other carriers, of course, the governor is the cost of printing and mailing the ads. Even the small, subsidized rate the post office charges for bulk mail imposes discipline on marketers.

That discipline is targeting people on their list. Even at a very low cost-per-item, if you send millions of ads, the costs ad up.

The higher the cost to send, the smarter the choice has to be; the lower the cost, the more freedom for lazy or incompetent advertisers to practice their incompetence.

/zimages/7/28571.gifClick here to read more insight about spam techniques.

The Unseen Hand of the economy is unable to squeeze the magic of the market into any process that allows competitors to pass their costs off to their competitors or customers, which is what essentially free e-mail delivery is for a spammer.

The resulting glut disfavors the smarter marketer whose well-targeted messages disappear in a tsunami of mindlessly random pitches for earlobe-enlarging devices, toe fungus elixirs, and entreaties from those people who pretend to be your bank so youll give them your identity. And the recipients pay in lost time and bandwidth.

Microcharges, like a cent per message or even less, rewards recipients with less inbox plaque and rewards smarter marketers with a better chance to connect with a customer.

Unseen hand unbound, victory for capitalism over the free market and commonsism.

The whingeing over the loss of this free market mechanism, of course, is to be expected, but only by the inefficient.

To the recipient of unnecessary commercial e-mail, the interaction is exactly like giving someone the freedom to put a billboard in your house with content of their choice with you paying for it.

Next Page: Controlling internal mail.