"Hi," "info you requested," "your account," "urgent," "you've won." While these words sound innocent enough, they're just a few of the dozens of subject lines included on the E-mail messages that I delete every morning as part of my autopilot, first-cup-of-coffee-of-the-day, get-this-*&%$-out-of-my-in-box routine.
That's on top of ones that are far more descriptive and sometimes repulsive. Enough already. I applaud the efforts under way to help the industry reduce the amount of spam in our business and personal E-mail boxes. I was especially intrigued by news last week of a new product that uses several techniques to stop spam, including letting users set a payment rate to receive E-mail from unknown senders. In that same vein, a researcher at IBM's Watson Research Center has written a basic algorithm that can determine whether incoming E-mails hail from an addressee on a recipient-defined list of approved addresses.
These sorts of "accept" strategies versus the current "block" strategies are something legitimate E-mail marketing companies favor. Last week, I spoke with Scott Dorsey, CEO of one such company, ExactTarget, which recently joined a coalition with more than 20 other permission-based E-mail marketing companies to help find the right solutions. "It's a multifaceted problem that includes freedom of speech, legislation, and technology, but it's a problem that needs to be addressed," he says.
If the various accept strategies prevail, it will require us to change the rules by which we use E-mail. I don't like that it puts the onus on me to determine who can send E-mail to me or that I might have to establish a payment method to receive messages from unknown senders. But that might be just what it takes for us to continue to use a very effective medium.
5 Top Federal Initiatives For 2015As InformationWeek Government readers were busy firming up their fiscal year 2015 budgets, we asked them to rate more than 30 IT initiatives in terms of importance and current leadership focus. No surprise, among more than 30 options, security is No. 1. After that, things get less predictable.