To POP or not to POP? That’s the Question!

A while ago I was thinking about some of the SPAM problems we’re facing world wide. One of the things I’ve concluded to be very problematic is the lack of any kind of security about the senders host. Anyone, anywhere can create a mail server and send mail from there. If you try to check for that sender when you receive the email the host is not ensured to be online either. Another thing, that for some reason is always bothering me, is bandwidth usage as well as the wasted time to process and reprocess all those messages.

Placing all together I had this idea… what if instead of a POP protocol we used PUSH? The idea is simple, instead of the sent mail getting to the destination’s nearest server/machine we keep it at the sender’s source. What is there to be won by this?

The mail won’t be fully sent, only a message/signal to the destination’s server. Storing the mail at the source’s server would avoid a peak of bandwidth if the mail had several destinations, the mail would only be retrieved by the users who actually read the mail and the source’s server had to be on-line at the time the destination user wanted to retrieve the email message body.

When talking about spam, this protocol would ensure that a spamer could not take down his server, giving more time to the authorities to check the server as well as not flooding the internet’s bandwidth. Also, the ISP and mail providers would have time to check the message for spam after a few users read it. If it was marked as spam, the ISP can simply not display the message at all.

The next question was how to implement this. Not easy. The world is already used to POP3 and SMTP. Changing it would be a very slow process. Yet, this could be implemented in progressive steps as well as using backward-compatible ways. I believe email as we know it could have many more improvements than the ones spoken here. Some samples would be better attachment handling, native support for encryption as well as native support for newsletters and the like (subscribe, etc…) . I’m not an expert on this field but I do think this could be a good start, someone with resources to design, implement and bring it to attention of the IT world could really make Internet surfer’s – and professionals – life better.

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