Re: Barcode Email
From: Ben Livengood (ben.livengood_at_gmail.com)
Date: 27 Jul 2005 20:27:53 -0700
>>From reading the other messages in this thread, it seems that your
general purpose is to get some sort of seal of approval for your idea,
but without any modifications that might change the "business plan"
side of things. It almost sounds like your job (considering the
excessive amount of time spent posting on usenet replying to trolls) is
to simply validate the design with *someone*, who will be represented
as endorsing the product. Probably the endorsement won't even be
public, and thus unverifiable. If I sound cynical and got it all wrong,
I apologize in advance.
Of course, it's possible that you really believe barcodes are the most
effective way to get people to send email. Did you consider that the
general perception of barcodes is that they are annoying,
big-brotherish, time consuming, "technical", and generally related to
buying something or getting something with a big label from FedEx/UPS?
Who is actually going to want to change their words into a form that
the recipient will not even recognize as an email? The whole point of
secrecy is lost if every email bar code sent is accompanied by detailed
instructions for finding your software and decoding it.
You will not have the luxery of becoming well known fast enough for
your method to become common knowledge, and if you did you would fall
prey to the fact that every 10 through 15 year old on the planet would
be IMing his or her friends about how to spy on their parent's and
teacher's email. Essentially, you are looking for a niche that just
isn't there. The "just smart enough to know they need to send secret
email to someone else who is just smart enough to know about your
product at the same time" niche doesn't exist and never will.
Perhaps something you should suggest to your VCs or higher-ups is to
trademark some symbol that you can use to represent email security, and
then heavily market that symbol in connection with some truly secure
products. People don't know what they need until you tell them, isn't
that pretty much the marketers creed? I think people would be slightly
more convinced by a pretty logo and a guarantee than they would be by a
barcode that looks like a FedEx mailing label. Most likely they'll ask
"What's the point? The email already knows who it's supposed to go it,
so no one else can read it anyway!" If they're any smarter than that,
they'll realize that a barcode is just a silly way of encoding an
email. Everyone knows coded things are supposed to look all Matrixy and
random with funny characters. In fact, I bet some random characters in
the green matrix font would make a fine logo for whatever software you
eventually try to market. With a big shiny thing in front of them, of
In fact, you could probably just ROT13 people's email and they'd be
none the wiser. They'd see those funny random letters everywhere and
know that they were secure. You'd save a lot on R&D and wouldn't have
to deal with usenet trolls.