Email advertising firm ChooseYourMail.com today launched the Spam Recycling Center, a site where Netizens can unload their spam in exchange for a financial incentive and hopes of contributing to the fight against unsolicited commercial email.
ChooseYourMail.com, working in concert with a trio of antispam groups, will take the spam it receives and forward it to the Federal Trade Commission to bolster the commission's analysis of spam patterns and offenders. The Recycling Center also will contribute to American Computer Group's SAFEeps database, an "opt-out" list of users who do not wish to receive spam.
The site also will solicit participants in ChooseYourMail's "opt-in" database of voluntary commercial email recipients. Those who participate in any of the Recycler's services will have the option of signing up to receive commercial email in a variety of categories.
The Recycling Center attempts to answer a vexing question faced by email box holders throughout the Net: What to do with all the spam, apart from deleting it?
"Most people and ISPs say that if you get spam, you shouldn't reply back to the spammer because that will confirm you have a working email box, and you'll only get more spam," said ChooseYourMail.com president Ian Oxman. "If you're a subscriber, there's nothing you can do, and most people don't know what to do to notify the authorities."
Some states have enacted laws or are considering legislation that would criminalize sending spam. Federal legislation has been introduced but has not been signed into law.
The FTC, for its part, maintains an email box for reporting spam.
The Recycling Center also will share the data it collects with firms that produce spam filters, according to the participants.
Spam recyclers will have a rotating series of incentives. The site is launching with a promotional offer from CDNow, offering $5 off a CD purchase.
The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email (CAUCE), a Recycling Center partner, lauded the new site and ChooseYourMail's model of voluntary email receipt.
"If we're going to continue to tell email marketers how not to do it, we also have to show them examples of how to do it," said CAUCE cofounder and vice president John Mozena. "And this is one way, attracting people to sign up for mailings that interest them. It's also a very good opportunity for companies that want to assure themselves of a slam-dunk public relations position, which is being antispam."