Its new anti-spam system also uses economic intuition, by requiring senders of e-mail to state clearly whether they are sending spam, and to back that statement with their own money in the form of a bond that will be forfeited if it turns out that they are lying. The idea, simply, is that, if the price of sending spam rises, less of it will be sent.
Servers fitted with IronPort’s spam-recognition system will be able to identify “bonded senders” by their web addresses, and can block senders that are not bonded. Next week, it expects to announce that many of the best-known senders of non-spam bulk e-mail have signed up, along with the big Internet service providers, to its bonded-sender programme. The size of the bond will change over time, but is likely to be around $100,000 initially. The number of complaints made by recipients of e-mail from the sender will determine whether the bond is forfeited, in full or part. According to Mr Banister, “the first complaint will not cost you much, a 3-4 digit number will cause pain to the bonded sender and 10,000 or more will result in the most severe punishment.”