My mail box is inundated with hundreds of crap marketing pitches and virus-infected messages every day, so a few months ago I dashed off an email to Media Temple’s fairly responsive technical support department, inquiring as to their intentions for offering server-level spam filtering services. They emailed me back that something was in the works, and it took a while, but now it’s here.
The only thing is, it costs an additional US$4.95 per month for this service, a surprise which recalled my youthful epiphany to the commercial reality of garbage collection. To be honest, this revelation miffed me a bit. It’s not that I don’t think that junk mail protection isn’t worth paying a little extra; in fact, I’ve always foreseen a very tangible convenience benefit to signing up for MailProtect.
It’s just that I feel, in many ways, that it’s really the hosting provider who would monetarily benefit from putting this system into place. Now, I admit to knowing next to nothing about the fundamentals of the hosting business, but my impression is that it’s in the interest of every hosting provider to minimize the amount of traffic passing through their servers.
Spam filtering would go a long way towards doing that, presumably, by classifying huge chunks of email as spam and deleting it immediately, preventing it from passing on for download to end users like myself. I figure that, personally, I get about 1.2 MB of junk mail per day, which adds up to about 36 MB per month. I have no idea how many mail accounts Media Temple supports, but I imagine there must be some accounts that get up to five times that much spam per month. That would all add up, no?
So, by paying $4.95, I may be benefitting from a more convenient-to-access mail account, but wouldn’t I also be underwriting a nontrivial cost savings for Media Temple? Now, I realize that Media Temple has the right to generate revenue from any services it offers, especially when it invests design dollars into creating a user interface as attractive as MailProtect’s seems to be. But it strikes me that a more equitable fee would be along the lines of US$2 per month — that’s a level at which I’d feel comfortable sharing the burden of spam with my ISP.
This is really my first exposure to spam filtering as a commercial service — rather than just a software ideal that I’ve had on my wish list for the past few years — so someone correct me if I’m totally wrong here. On the other hand, if I⁏m not quite so off, maybe I should be asking for recommendations for a new, cheaper hosting provider.