The reason spammers send out all those e-mails that no one in their right mind will respond to is that it's essentially free to do so. If one person in a billion sends them dough, they're golden. But e-mail advertisers would tailor their messages more closely to their prospective customers if you told them about yourself and agreed to look at their advertisements - for a price. MIT's Technology Review explains the new internet forwarding services like "boxbe" that filter out the Nigerian Viagra Lottery Stock Tips, and pay you to look at what's left.
To use the service, you need to sign up for a boxbe e-mail address. In the process, you fill out forms about your interests, income, and geographic location. The more information you supply, says Loder, the more your inbox is worth to an advertiser.
Boxbe doesn't replace your existing e-mail; instead, it acts as a public e-mail address that you can put on your blog or MySpace profile. Your boxbe e-mails are then forwarded to your more private account at, say, Yahoo or Gmail. "We certainly don't expect people to use boxbe as a principal e-mail address," says Loder. Your friends already have your private e-mail address, he says, so they won't have to go through boxbe. He adds that the service is more for people who are looking to take advantage of e-mail offers, and those with public e-mail addresses who want a way to screen incoming mail.
My bad. Maybe you are in the market for Nigerian Viagra Lottery Stock Tip spam. Don't worry; you can sign up for those, too.
Read the whole thing.