Get Paid to Read E-Mails

A start-up company wants to replace spam with targeted marketing e-mails and it'll pay you to read them. Reading a single e-mail would earn a user 25 cents — with an annual windfall of up to $400, though the price would vary depending on a recipient's earnings and his attractiveness to advertisers. The service, called Boxbe, already works with a range of Web-based e-mail services, including Yahoo! and Gmail. As well as paying customers to read their messages, it provides an e-mail filtering service.
Unlike traditional e-mail-based marketing, which is often an unwanted result of e-mail address falling into the wrong hands, users would sign up for Boxbe and offer personal information which would allow marketers to further customize messages.

An e-mail user earning $50,000 a year could expect to bring in around $100 a year, while someone with a salary of $200,000 could expect to get $400 — just for opening his or her inbox, the company said.
Users could also set a minimum fee that they would want to be paid for reading single e-mails, based on the topic of the e-mails and their relevance to them.

American companies spend $40 billion on direct marketing by regular mail each year, Loder said, of which $20 billion alone goes to stamps.
The information provided by users would be anonymous, offering marketers only a profile of the user, and fake e-mail accounts designed simply to gather cash would be weeded out by close monitoring of how recipients responded to messages.
Boxbe was one of a number of companies giving presentations at the Web 2.0 Summit, the world's largest Internet conference, in San Francisco this week.