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A company that runs a Do Not Spam list and a spam filtering firm this week launched a reciprocal discount scheme.

Global Removal and DAIR Computer Systems, the publisher of spam filter SpamAI, said their discount scheme gives their customers "two forms of spam protection for the price of one".

The Do Not Spam List, from Global Removal, "removes customer email addresses from the lists used by mass-emailers" for a one-time fee of $5. Starting immediately, Global Removal customers will be credited the entire $5 amount toward the purchase of the SpamAI Multi-User Spam Blocker software. Meanwhile, SpamAI customers will be credited $5 toward inclusion in the Global Removal Clean List.

The announcement of the deal has been accompanied by much excited marketing blather between the two companies about "synergy" and the like.

However, there are several reasons to wonder about the effectiveness of the combined approach advocated by the duo.

Firstly, only companies who have subscribed to Global Removal's network are promising not to send people on the list spam. Even if you assume that bulk mailers who subscribe to the list are ethical, this approach still leaves out the worst offending spamsters.

And what of the fear that a Do Not Spam list might fall into the hands of spammers? Global Removal says it's encrypted and can't be used to send email, so people shouldn't worry about the disclosure of the list.

Subscribing to Global Mail makes sense for bulk mailers, the company argues. By cleaning their lists, mass-emailers eliminate the most vocal anti-spam individuals from their lists, so mass-emailers and their customers will receive fewer complaints from end-users and ISPs. In addition, the quality of their lists is improved, increasing value (at least in theory - some make money simply by generating traffic for Web sites).

Finally, Global Mail pays the mass-emailer to clean their lists, giving bulk mailers even more reason to join the list.

But why should people have to pay not to be spammed? This seems all wrong.

Telemarketing-oriented 'do not call' lists are free and are - in the UK - observed. Will list makers in the US play by the rules? A recent Security Focus article about US email list brokers provides food for thought. ®

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