Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Outsource Spam Filtering to Google

A friend of mine was bending my ear the other day about the amount of spam he has to deal with. Said he, "I have three mail accounts, two of which are widely available on the Web and I am averaging more than 800 pieces of spam a day. My ISV's spam filter is OK, but I still have to check it periodically for any false positives."

He added, "I am thinking of subscribing to one of those spam services like IBM offers where I can route my mail to them. They clear out the spam, and leave the rest in my inbox."

Why pay for what you can get for free? I suggested he create an account at Google Mail, which has excellent spam detection capabilities and has never had a false negative in my experience. Then route your accounts to your Gmail account, and set up your mail agent to poll the one Gmail account. Given the 2.8GB of space Google gives you, even huge amounts of spam are not going to overflow your mailbox.

Sure enough, my friend tried it and he says in an email full of gratitude, he is free from spam.

Additional note: This solution could be done with other 'free mail' services, such as Yahoo, but I recommend doing it with Google, because:

  • I find Google's spam filtering is superior;
  • because Google resisted subpoenas to reveal user data. This last point makes me feel comfy routing my mail to them;
  • and because of Google's superior webmail interface, which facilitates checking mail from the road.
Give it a try.

2 comments:

Rourke McNamara said...

I had a serious SPAM problem and a short while ago I looked seriously at the SPAM prevention tools out there. After trying Google, Cloudmark, and even some of the challenge-response services, I ended up deciding on Tuffmail.

In addition to doing a better job blocking SPAM, Tuffmail can also be used to simply filter your mail and then forward it on, preventing the lag incurred by the GMail approach you describe. I have a couple of friends who do exactly that and are really happy with the service.

Rourke McNamara said...

Tuffmail isn't free, so Google is definitely less expensive. At $20 per YEAR, though, Tuffmail is a great value and well worth it.