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RE: Measured Internet good v. "bad" traffic
From: "David Schwartz" <davids () webmaster com>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2003 15:44:00 -0700



<snip>
    I sympathize with the customer. There is no reason he should pay for
traffic he did not request and does not want. If unwanted traffic raises
your cost of providing the service for which you are paid
(providing wanted
traffic) then you should raise your rates.
<snip>

Then why should _I_ bear the cost of traffic destined to you?

        If you don't want to, don't accept that traffic. It's just like a store
stocking Christmas toys. If they don't sell, you're stuck with them. A
customer will only pay for what he wants, not what you think he should want.

Somebody has to pay, and I'd rather you pay for it, you seem to
believe that I (and all of the rest of PROVIDER's customers should
pay).

        Of course the customer pays for it however you slice it.

Which is more or less fair?

        Both are equally fair if all sides explicitly agree. Burger King could, for
example, raise prices in high crime areas, that would be perfectly fair
since the crime costs them. But they could also decide that customers prefer
more uniformity in pricing and feel they should not pay for other people's
crimes, so they'll distribute the cost of crime by raising prices for
everyone.

        Similary, customers don't want to worry about DoS attacks over which they
have no control. They may not feel it's fair to pay for something they do
not want. So many ISPs find that the uniformity of pricing is worth more to
their customers.

        Neither is inherently more fair or more unfair. They're just different
approaches.

        My point is not that it's unfair to make customers pay for DoS attack
traffic. My point is that one-sided arguments make no actual business sense.
There is no 'unfair' when all participants agree.

        The one-sided views are harmful because the people who hold them may be
totally blind-sided when their customers come back with the other side, a
side they never really looked at because it seemed unreasonable at first
blush. Yes, businesses routinely eat costs that affect transactions
non-uniformly and build them into more uniform prices. They do this because
it provides better billing predictability to their customers. A customer's
understand of "your traffic" may not be the same as your understanding and
you had better make sure you make it clear.

        If FedEx delivers a bomb to me postage due, they had better not expect me
to pay the charges. I don't want it and the fact that someone told FedEx I
wanted it doesn't change anything.

        DS



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