Make Spammers Pay -- Literally

Compiled By Traci Purdum In an ongoing battle to rid e-mail inboxes of unwanted mail, Vanquish Inc. has developed a way to penalize senders of spam. The Marlborough, Mass.-based company's anti-spam product features a penalty button that unknown senders must embed in their e-mail if they want to send to users of the Vanquish product. If users decide that the mail they received is spam, they click the penalty button, which charges spam senders approximately 5 cents per e-mail. The penalty money is distributed to the recipient's Internet service provider to help defray the costs of carrying the spam on their network. Users of the Vanquish product are able to receive communication from those they have e-mailed in the past, those that they have requested data from, Web sites that they have requested information from, someone replying to their subject matter or someone they add as an allowed sender. "Since spam is in the eye of the beholder, our technology doesn't rely on filters or other categorization means to determine what spam is," says Phil Raymond, CEO of Vanquish. "Rather, our software empowers the user to penalize senders of e-mail they wish they hadn't received. This easily allows unknown senders with a legitimate reason for contacting you . . . to do so easily."

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