Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1288274
 


 



Spam and Beyond: An Information-Economic Analysis of Unwanted Commercial Messages


Robert K. Plice


San Diego State University

Oleg V. Pavlov


Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) - Department of Social Science & Policy Studies

Nigel P. Melville


The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan

October 22, 2008

Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 1-29, 2008

Abstract:     
The phenomenon of unwanted commercial messages (UCM), including e-mail spam and emerging forms that target other Internet communications facilities, is analyzed from an information-economics perspective. UCM traffic pays off for its senders when it is noticed and consumed by Internet users; the industry is, therefore, dependent on a common-pool resource that is accessed through an information asset. An analytical model of the industry is derived and solved computationally, and two dimensions of information quality held by the senders of UCM traffic are manipulated in the model. It is shown that such manipulations can moderate over time both the number of UCM campaigns undertaken and the amount of Internet bandwidth consumed by UCM. Manipulations of the information quality dimensions affected by e-mail filtering reduce the amount of traffic that penetrates an Internet user's attention space but actually increase the amount of Internet bandwidth consumed. This is consistent with data reported by e-mail security providers as filters have been deployed. It is also shown that both public and private entities have adopted policies and practices with unintentional informational side effects. These effects may have led to more rather than less, spam e-mail traffic. It is concluded that the lessons learned from the case of e-mail spam can be applied to the development of policies and practices for mitigating newer, emerging forms of UCM, including versions targeting instant-messaging systems and Web logs.

Keywords: common-pool resources, economic models, Internet communications, simulations, spam, tragedy of the commons

Accepted Paper Series


Not Available For Download

Date posted: October 24, 2008 ; Last revised: November 30, 2008

Suggested Citation

Plice, Robert K. and Pavlov, Oleg V. and Melville, Nigel P., Spam and Beyond: An Information-Economic Analysis of Unwanted Commercial Messages (October 22, 2008). Journal of Organizational Computing and Electronic Commerce, Vol. 18, No. 4, pp. 1-29, 2008. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1288274

Contact Information

Robert K. Plice (Contact Author)
San Diego State University ( email )
San Diego, CA 92182-0763
United States
Oleg V. Pavlov
Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) - Department of Social Science & Policy Studies ( email )
100 Institute Road
Worcester, MA 01609
United States
508-831-5234 (Phone)
508-831-5892 (Fax)
HOME PAGE: http://users.wpi.edu/~opavlov/
Nigel P. Melville
The Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan ( email )
701 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI MI 48109
United States
HOME PAGE: http://webuser.bus.umich.edu/npmelv/
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