The other day, I wrote a post called “Will SPAM kill email?” Since writing this email I’ve noticed several people announce their twitter account as a way to reach them.  This works since you can send them a direct message using Twitter.  Another popular podcaster announces his email address but suggests that you never have it written down anywhere that SPAMbots can abuse it.  In this post I am going to talk about another tool you can use in the fight against SPAM.  It’s called MailWasher Pro.

Past solutions

SPAM Assassin – helps in the identification of SPAM.  You can set a tolerance threshold that will automatically remove emails that exceed your set level.

Problems:

  • It doesn’t really fight the cause of the problem.  It’s just a way to deal with the problem.
  • It’s a little difficult to configure

Box Trapper – is like a first line of defense.  If email addresses are white-listed, known good emails, then they are forwarded on.  If email addresses are black-listed, known bad emails, then they are denied.  If emails are unknown, they are sent back a reply that asks them to reply so we know a human received it and wants to get through.

Problems:

  • This method doesn’t work so well with mailing lists and other subscriptions.
  • Spammers are aware of these tactics and usually get through anyway by creating scripts to automatically respond to the email challenges.
  • Important email that are not white-listed can get stuck in Box Trapper.
  • If an email challenge is never responded to, the email will sit there until the Box Trapper user reviews the emails that are stuck.
  • Sometimes, unresolved emails may be discarded without the Box Trapper user even knowing about it.  There is a setting the user can set to discard emails that haven’t been resolved in a reasonable time.
  • It requires the user to constantly monitor the incoming emails.
  • The user interface is a bit clunky.

New Solution

There’s a solution that works a little differently.  It’s a first line of defense that goes between your email server and your email reader.  It uses SpamCop and other Spam databases to see which emails are definitely Spam.  It allows you to indicate which emails you consider Spam and which ones are not.  You can add email senders to a friends list or a blacklist.  You can report the emails as SpamCop. 

You can mark the emails for deletion or bouncing.  To bounce an email is like throwing a ball to another person that is standing in front of a wall.  If the other person catches the ball, then the ball will not bounce back.  If the other person didn’t catch the ball then the ball will hit the wall and bounce back.  So a bounced email is like sending an email to an email that doesn’t exist.  The server will say, “Sorry, the intended recipient does not exist”

MailWasher Free – A free version of this product works with only one email address.  It logs into the email and allows the user to see the subject, from & to email addresses.  You can mark the emails as Good or Spam.  If marked as Spam you can choose how to deal with the email:  Delete, Report.

MailWasher Pro – A premium version of the previous product, one that works with multiple email addresses.  It logs into your email accounts and allows the user to see the subjects, from & to email addresses, and content.  It also gets up-to-date information from SPAM databases.

I had to stop the email program from automatically checking emails.  To minimize the receipt of SPAM through my email program, I have MailWasher Check the email, then process.  Finally, I have my email program read from the email server.  Practically all my Spam emails have been eliminated.  I am pretty excited.  This seems to be a step in the right direction of eliminating the chore of eliminating SPAM in my emails.