Spam Fixation

February 6, 2003

in COMsumers, Digital Post, Spam

Bob Frankston provides a very thoughtful article :Spam Fixation reinforcing the economics of attention and promoting (in my view) typical “tech views” about consumers who don’t think. There is lot’s of great thought here. Particularly when I’ve been writing about a digital post.

“We need to restore the balance. We need to control access to our attention and we must be able to determine our own priorities.”

“The problem is not that email is free. It’s that we treat our email address like our home address and then act surprised when everyone assumes they have a right drop in unannounced. After all we asked them in by giving them our address. ………”

“We can start to find a balance by giving people tokens that can be used to vie for our attention. Each token is unique and we can use it to prescreen the access. …………”.

There is much more to think about here. Bob rejects the idea that people should pay me and provides the telemarketer as the example. I’d beg to differ. In both the direct mail and the telemarketer examples there is a cost of probing for our attention. With spam the cost is an order of magnitude different. Similarly an argument for CRM customer relationship management is inserted. The paradigm proposed remain supply side driven. Maybe the economics of attention identify the problem, perhaps the answer lies in the economics of cooperation?

To use the telemarketer example. Currently x calls y misses and an economic hit rate. We can assume the credit card companies, the mortgage brokers, the magazines etc, would all change this in a minute if it could be done for a lower cost. Your best marketer is the consumer. When the consumer spreads good news you grow. When one consumer spreads a complaint we know what the cost is. At the moment Consumers don’t share the good news very effectively. If they did, we may find an invisible collaborative solution that informs other consumer more effectively. Could this replace telemarketiing?

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