Friday, February 21, 2003

Return To Sender
You've likely received unsolicited email promising you riches while you work at home, leverage the power of ebay, refinance your home. And so on. And so forth.

This story on ZDNet explains a new concept developed by an Australian company called that allows you to sign up (albeit for 36 bucks) and charge marketers for the right to contact you.


The system doesn't sound perfect but it helps introduce an important idea. With marketers saturating the environment with delivery vehicles designed to monopolize our attention at the gas pump, the ATM, online, offline, at home, in the car, in the bathroom and everywhere else they can think of, our ability to pay attention, to take it all in, is becoming an increasingly scarce resource. Apply the same laws of economics that drive the marketers and it seems reasonable that the cost of an item should increase as its availability decreases.

Up to this point we've all been giving away our attention for free. In the case of something like cable TV we've been paying to be marketed to. We're only human. We can't take it all in. In order to protect our sanity we need to tune some of it out.

So if you don't want my cold shoulder, if want me to listen, I would be happy to lend you my ear. But it's gonna cost you.


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