There was an interesting article on Slashdot about ways to fight spam. Spam is the bastard child of email and isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. There have been a number of interesting ideas thrown out there, the most interesting of which is the idea of “micropayments.”
A micropayment is something that could come to light in a few different forms. I envision two types. The first would be monetary. The sender, if not on my “white list”, would be required to send a token payment (maybe 0.0001 dollars per email) to a PayPal type account before my SMTP server would accept the email.
The second type of micropayment option I could see is that of a processor payment. This would entail my SMTP server requesting a valid token for my email. The encrypted token would eat up a few CPU cycles, costing the server in load. Spammers wishing to send billions of messages a day would require vast server farms that would, hopefully, not be cost effective. The problem I see with this option is that large email shops like Yahoo! and Hotmail might not be able to support the load of their own email servers sending out valid email.