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  • I don't know, Max. I don't get any of this. I think it's nuts that people actually purchase other people's email messages over the Internet. Is that legal, and who gets to decide the prices?

    There are lots of good reasons to buy an email message, especially if one or more of the parties is deceased. It isn't a lot different from auctioning off letters of well-known people. The main difference is that letters are unique and emails aren't. At least I don’t know of any way to guarantee that a file I receive is the only copy in existence.

    Why buy? What's to stop you from making up fake email messages from and to notables?

    That would be total sleaze, Geoff. When you buy an email from a reputable dealer, its provenance is, shall we say, vouchsafed. There's a signature from the originating mail server, and the message has metadata that are traceable to the initiating and receiving email accounts. There are online services that can verify these things.

    So, Max, what's to stop a vendor from selling such an asset over and over again, like a Ponzi scheme?

    For me, it doesn't matter that other people pay for the same thing. In fact, the more replications that are out there, the lower the price. Anyway, it's the content I'm after.

    OK Max, so what's the method in your madness? I need to know why you're up to this.

    I'm collecting some juicy and some ordinary messages to and from names we all know to compile into an e-book. I'll accumulate a couple of hundred emails, categorize them, add some commentary and market the publication as a glimpse into how the 1% network and communicate. Even if I make 10 cents a copy, I could strike gold.

    This is beginning to sound interesting. Do you have any examples I can see?

    Sure, Geoff. Take a look at this old message from the late, great Ted Kennedy to Warren Buffett. It tells a lot and is clearly not a form letter.

    Hmm. That's great stuff. Still, even if Ted did send a message to Warren, how do we know that this was really its text?

    Geoff, trust me. You can't make this stuff up.
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