Mail-Filters.Com Can Ban Spam

By John Taschek  |  Posted 2002-06-17 Print this article Print
 's new SpamRepellent service reduces unwanted e-mail by 80 to 95 percent, depending on how proactive users are with the service.

Mail-filters.coms new SpamRepellent service reduces unwanted e-mail by 80 to 95 percent, depending on how proactive users are with the service.

Users have two choices for ridding themselves of spam. They can create junk mail accounts, which eventually get polluted with hundreds of ads, or use filters, such as those found in Microsoft Outlooks or Eudoras e-mail clients. Neither goes far.

Administrators, meanwhile, can do basic things such as turn off access to the SMTP port or subscribe to a service such as the controversial and often-sued MAPS (Mail Abuse Prevention System). Hotmail, for example, uses MAPS.

SpamRepellent is far easier to use and, at $2 to $5 a pop, its more cost-effective than MAPS, which seeks larger customers. Administrators connect to the service by modifying their MX (mail exchanger) priority tags and granting mail filters a higher priority.

I modified the MX priority on my domain to route all mail through SpamRepellent. The service then tagged each message with specific header information. Messages designated as spam arrived with the "X-Mail-Filters-SPAM" tag, for example. uses several methods to determine what is spam, including content filtering server identification based on the IP address. Unlike MAPS, which does not allow customers to say what is or isnt spam, SpamRepellent lets users decide. They do it through e-mail, of course—by sending mail that is spam to or mail that they value that was mistakenly designated as spam to The downside is that, to place spam into the appropriate bucket, each client machine must have a rule that filters based on the e-mail header.

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    As the director of eWEEK Labs, John manages a staff that tests and analyzes a wide range of corporate technology products. He has been instrumental in expanding eWEEK Labs' analyses into actual user environments, and has continually engineered the Labs for accurate portrayal of true enterprise infrastructures. John also writes eWEEK's 'Wide Angle' column, which challenges readers interested in enterprise products and strategies to reconsider old assumptions and think about existing IT problems in new ways. Prior to his tenure at eWEEK, which started in 1994, Taschek headed up the performance testing lab at PC/Computing magazine (now called Smart Business). Taschek got his start in IT in Washington D.C., holding various technical positions at the National Alliance of Business and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. There, he and his colleagues assisted the government office with integrating the Windows desktop operating system with HUD's legacy mainframe and mid-range servers.

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