Monday, June 2
I ponder sometimes about all the spam that I get--in fact also about the amount of spam that everyone receives--and it makes me think... Spammers are a type of bottom-feeder within the information economy. Not only are they email marketers, which are bottom-feeders already, but they are the lowest type of email marketers, often using deceptive techniques in an attempt to separate one from his or her money. Then I look at my Popfile history, and it's buckets tell me that only 16.5% of the email I receive is legitimate (non-spam). Then, you know, naturally, I start to get a little upset. But I consider: Perhaps these bottom-feeders have a true place in our internet-economy…indeed, in our economy as a whole. They have always been around, after all, in one form or another. Could it possibly be that the snake-oil salesman serves a legitimate purpose? The most important thing: Bottom feeders exist in nature, in ecosystems…and they comprise important parts of those ecosystems. Bottom feeders are part of the cycle in nature--are they simply a part of the cycle in economics as well? Is it misguided and futile to try to get rid of them? That said, what purpose do they serve? Is it to punish naive customers for being so naive? Is it a “survival of the fittest” kind of thing? Is it the economic-ecological way of ridding the weak and uninformed economic agents from the game?