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Cheeky way to make money from unwanted email

MANY of us know the pain of having our inbox filled with annoying and irrelevant emails. But surely this is a bit ridiculous.

A fledgling online company is promoting its platform, which lets you lock out the public from sending you emails unless they’re willing to cough up cash (or bitcoin) for the privilege.

It works like this: If an unapproved stranger sends you an email, they are met with a message which lets them know your price. If they pay, the payment is processed when you reply to the email.

The company is called Earn.com and claims it is taking a leaf out of LinkedIn’s book which requires people to pay for a premium version of the professional social media site to e-mail people they’re not connected with.

Set up a “profile to receive paid messages from people outside your network,” the company’s website says. “It’s like LinkedIn InMail, except you get paid!”

But not everyone thinks it’s such a good idea.

At least not US tech journalist Ryan Mac, who found himself on the receiving end of the service this morning.

After being told to pay $20 for his inquiry to reach its intended recipient, he promptly took to social media to blast the idea. “This is the dumbest s***. I just emailed someone and they’re asking that I pay in order to get a response,” he wrote.

“This monster is asking for $20.”

This goes against everything email is intended for, one critic claimed on Twitter.

Others quickly began joking about how they could exploit such a service to get rich.

However, Earn.com has clearly tried to stop the inevitable criticism of users being labelled as greedy by including an easy way for users to divert the money to charity.

“Get in touch with busy people while supporting a good cause,” the company proclaims.

As much as no one likes being bombarded with crappy emails, monetising the problem seems like an unhelpful and unlikely answer.

Even if it is, maybe sometimes, for charity.

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