Blue Security’s approach to reducing unsolicited email is to combine a do not email registry with a mechanism that automates and simplifies the user’s process of complaining about violations. If messages are sent to Blue Security members, in violation of Blue Security’s do not email registry, Blue Security identifies the merchant advertised in the messages and issues an initial complaint. The initial complaint is sent to the merchant, the merchant’s domain registry technical contact, and the merchant’s Internet service provider. If the initial complaints are not resolved satisfactorily within a ten day grace period, Blue Security writes a script that guides the member’s desktop computer in submitting a complaint via the merchant’s web site. Each member who receives subsequent email in violation of the do not email registry may send an automated complaint. The total number of complaints sent will always be less than or equal to the number of messages received that violate the do not email registry. The fundamental economics of sending unsolicited emails change when this happens, because the sender now has to ensure that their site has the capacity to potentially handle hundreds of thousands of simultaneous complaints.
At the risk of being called a Luddite, I use web-based email only, although I might be using my fastmail IMAP account to download mail (yes, keeping it on the server is the safest place for it to be!).
Here’s a background discussion of Blue Frog/Blue Security on digg. You have to give credit to the ingenuity of this project.