Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(November 1999)

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Subject: Re: AOL dropping mail
From: "Tom Neff" <tneff @ bigfoot . com>
Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 08:48:26 -0500
To: <List-Managers @ GreatCircle . COM>
Importance: Normal
In-reply-to: <> wrote:
> I just read they estimate they receive an average 18 million SPAMs
> per day.  This is an example of how RFCs and other standards aren't
> always the best answer, because they often were written in a
> different environment than now exists (and other reasons, I'm sure).

This argument doesn't hold much water.  AOL gets millions of spams per day
because they have millions of users.  The number of spams received PER USER
are no higher than any other ISP or service, big or small.  The
responsibility to deliver mail properly PER USER does not evaporate the
moment you make corporate decision to blanket the Earth's crust with
giveaway discs.

There are definitely ways to handle that volume of mail in an standards
compliant manner (and even protect forged senders from being mailbombed) if
you are willing to make the appropriate investment in hardware, software,
bandwidth and manpower.  AOL is not, presumably because it saves them some
money to use the Italian Post Office method - "quando in dubbio, gettarlo
nel fiume!"

This is just the kind of Faustian tradeoff that Internet architects have
been praying could be avoided, and an argument against consolidation into a
few giant commercial mail hubs.

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