All Complex Ecosystems Have Parasites

Cory Doctorow
For the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference

San Diego, California

16 March 2005

AOL hates spam. AOL could eliminate nearly 100 percent of its
subscribers' spam with one easy change: it could simply shut off
its internet gateway. Then, as of yore, the only email an AOL
subscriber could receive would come from another AOL subscriber.
If an AOL subscriber sent a spam to another AOL subscriber and
AOL found out about it, they could terminate the spammer's
account. Spam costs AOL millions, and represents a substantial
disincentive for AOL customers to remain with the service, and
yet AOL chooses to permit virtually anyone who can connect to the
Internet, anywhere in the world, to send email to its customers,
with any software at all.
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