Yahoo! Gets Tough with Spammers

The popular portal beefs up its Web-based mail service with four new antispam tools.

Today, Yahoo! (, the popular Internet portal, introduced four new antispam tools for its Web-based e-mail service, Yahoo! Mail. Most notably, the service now lets you create disposable e-mail addresses—DEAs—which you can easily discard should they fall into the hands of spammers.

Yahoo! Mail, launched six years ago this month, is available in a free version or in a Plus version that costs from $29.99 to $59.99 per year, depending on your storage requirements. Both have long offered a minimal set of antispam tools Such as SpamGuard, developed by Yahoo! software designers, which funnels known spam into a Bulk Mail folder. Various other tools let you block mail from certain addresses, disable HTML graphics, and sort messages into personalized folders.

Now, both Mail and Mail Plus users also have access to Yahoo!s new Anti-Spam Resource Center—a site where you can learn about spam and how best to stop it—and a new feature known as message views. With message views, you can quickly differentiate between messages that arrive from known senders (people in your address book) and from unknown senders, and the process may go a long way toward separating spam from legitimate mail. You can also use the feature to sort your inbox in various other ways.

Yahoo! has introduced two additional tools just for Mail Plus users: SpamGuard Plus and AddressGuard. Unlike SpamGuard, the Plus version lets you train its filter to suit your particular needs. You identify messages as spam or legitimate mail using buttons at the top of your Web browser. AddressGuard includes a "caller ID" tool—which gives you a snapshot of a message and its sender before you open it—and a full-fledged DEA application.

A DEA is essentially an e-mail alias. Rather than handing out your true e-mail address, you give a DEA that routes messages to the same inbox. If spammers get ahold of this alias, you simply discard it and start fresh with another. Yahoo! Mail Plus users can activate up to 500 DEAs.