Why I Don’t Agree With Seth

Seth Godin comes out in favor of "email stamps" on his weblog.

Longtime readers know that I am a huge fan and friend of Seth’s. 

His blog is the last (meaning first) on my blogroll and was the first blog I read religiously.

My first email investment ever was in his company Yoyodyne which basically invented the concept of permission email.

So it is not without a lot of pause that I would disagree with Seth on an email related topic.

But Seth’s arguments around stamps are all related to "acquistion" or "direct marketing" email.

I don’t want to get any of that kind of email anyway.  I’d be happy for all of it to end up in my junk folder.

The area where I am concerned is around what the industry called "transactional email" or "retention email".

These are my eBay outbid notices, my Feedblitz emails, my TicketWeb emails alerting me to the new concerts coming to town, my bank statements, etc.

There are the emails with utility to ME.  Adding to the cost of the email system will reduce the number of high value emails that can be justified by web services.  And the user loses.

So if you could simply say "spammers must use stamps" and everyone else gets to get in for free, I’d be a fan of stamps too.  Reputation may be a way to do that, but none of the reputation systems have been around long enough to know yet.

So let’s make sure reputation services like Return Path’s Sender Score get some airtime in this debate and let’s applaud AOL’s decision to keep the reputation-driven enhanced whitelist.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one single magic bullet in the attempt to lick spam.