Last year, Judi Sohn did an excellent roundup of anti-spam solutions, breaking them down by web-based, client-side and server-side solutions. As she noted there, research shows that about 80 percent of e-mail is spam, and that number has not changed much. It’s a big problem. Lately, I’ve been experimenting with a couple of solutions in addition to the ones Judi cited. I’ll round these up here.
Are you an Outlook user? If so, Cloudmark Desktop for Outlook is not quite free, but it’s a very effective way to keep spam and phishing messages out of your Inbox. There’s a free trial, and if you like the application it costs $39.95.
Cloudmark Desktop is an add-on for Outlook, and it filters your e-mail as it arrives, routing probable spam into a spam folder. You can review your spam folder whenever you want to see if messages you want have been routed there, and delete the ones you don’t want. Cloudmark does its work automatically, so you don’t build filters, but you can specify contacts you want never to be filtered.
In the world of freeware spam blockers, Spamihilator uses Bayesian filters to weed out spam, and sits between your e-mail client and the Internet, scanning for spam in the background. It works with many e-mail clients, including Outlook, Eudora, Opera, Pegasus Mail, IncrediMail, as well as POP3 and IMAP messages. Spamihilator comes with a training module that lets you provide instructions for which kinds of messages you suspect are spam, so if you serially get spam from one sender, you can eliminate all of it.
When it comes to frustration with spam, the more I use Gmail, the more impressed I am with how good it is at filtering out spam. It uses its own built-in filtering, of course, but the filtering is quite good.
On that note, especially if you’ve resigned yourself to receiving lots of spam, keep in mind that the older your e-mail address is, the more spam you probably receive. Unless it’s an absolutely monstrous hassle to notify your contacts that you’re switching to a new e-mail account, consider, say, starting up a free Gmail account and enjoying a reprieve from all that junk mail.
How do you fight spam? Do you use Gmail? How have you found its spam filtering to work?