Re: announcing: www-buyinfo mailing list

C. Farell (
Wed, 10 Aug 1994 22:43:32 +0200

On Tue, 9 Aug 1994, Dave Kristol wrote:

> Announcing a new mailing list: www-buyinfo. Information about how
> to subscribe appears at the end of this message.
> Subscriptions will be accepted immediately. Contributions to the
> mailing list itself will be rejected until Tuesday, August 16, 1994,
> to make sure (slightly) belated subscribers don't miss the early
> discussions. Those who subscribe by August 16 will be notified
> when the mailing list "opens" for discussion.
> The purpose of the mailing list is to discuss topics related to this
> vision:
> Potential information providers would willingly make a vast array of
> information available on the World-Wide Web (WWW) if they knew they
> could get paid for it. The system should work like this: using your
> favorite WWW client program, when you select a hypertext link ("buyinfo
> link") that reaches a server that charges money for the information,
> the server informs the client program (via HTTP) that there is an
> associated charge and lists the available payment options. The client
> can give up, either because it has no payment capability or because the
> user chooses not to buy the information. Otherwise the client passes
> the server some information (via HTTP) that will enable the server to
> be reimbursed for the information. The server then returns that
> purchased information. If the client is designed in a way that the
> user can make money available beforehand (and with a suitable
> user-protection interface), a user could traverse buyinfo links
> effortlessly, and the financial details would occur invisibly.
> These components are required to implement the vision:
> - http: to allow the exchange of cost and payment information
> - client/server application programmer interfaces (APIs) that make
> it easy to add different kinds of payment schemes
> - clients that provide an attractive, convenient, safe interface
> to support payment
> - ways to support transactions in multiple currencies
> Some possible payment schemes are: anonymous credit cards, DigiCash,
> electronic checks, conventional credit cards.
> Other relevant topics for this mailing list:
> - the privacy of financial transactions
> - authentication of payers
> - the efficiency of payment schemes
> (Note: I expect that many of the authentication issues will be solved
> in a more general context by people working on secure HTTP and will be
> discussed on the www-security mailing list.)
> This mailing list is NOT for discussion about:
> - whether charging for information is a good idea
> - how to exchange orders electronically
> To subscribe:
> Send mail to
> Body of message: subscribe www-buyinfo
> To unsubscribe:
> Send mail to
> Body of message: unsubscribe www-buyinfo
> To contribute to the mailing list:
> Send mail to
> Mail archives will be located in:
> David M. Kristol
> AT&T Bell Laboratories

This has already been done. I think it's called CompuServe.
C. Farell H I P P E R M E D I A
353 Clinton Street Toronto, Ontario CANADA M6G 2Y7