Talk to the hand

The whitelisting begins. I haven't communicated with in quite some time. Yesterday I sent him (and a number of others) a message that likely would have interested him. Here's the reply:

Subject: --------------------
Date: Wed, 4 Dec 2002 15:39:58 -0800
X-Priority: 3 (Normal)
X-ChoiceMail-Registration-Request: ChoiceMail registration request

Hello, you recently sent a message to me at

My mailbox is protected from junk mail by ChoiceMail - a
permission-based email system that requires senders to be granted
permission to contact the recipient. Please click on the link below
to verify your identity.

[Click here to request approval]

When your browser opens, fill in your name and a short reason for
wanting to send e-mail to me. If your reason is acceptable, your
first email and all subsequent e-mails from you will be delivered to
me normally.

There is no need to send your original mail again.

Please visit DigiPortal Software's web site at to find out how ChoiceMail can help prevent
your in-box overflowing with junk e-mail!

Please note that if you don't register within 4 day(s), all the
messages you sent will be automatically deleted.

The email thread that provoked this message will soon dissolve. Including might have been useful, but the moment has passed. If I urgently need to contact, I may have to grit my teeth and register to do so. But no ad-hoc communication is going to make it over that activation threshold.

From the DigiPortal homepage:

ChoiceMail is a spam-blocking system based on the premise that all incoming email is assumed to be spam until senders have obtained permission (called registering) to send you email.

Works like a champ, too. "In my tests, it cut my spam to zero," the site quotes Wall Street Journal columnist Walt Mossberg as saying. Well, sure. Who in their right mind would register to talk to you without a compelling reason?

This is another assault on the Internet's end-to-end architecture. It also illustrates the endgame of personalization -- a scenario aptly described somewhere as "the daily me": my news, my weather, my buddies.

If we rule out spontaneous association then we will not have defeated the spammers. They will have defeated us.

Former URL: