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Spam Filter

I really reccomend http://www.mailshell.com. Rather than getting yourname@mailshell.com you get (anything)@yourname.mailshell.com.

This way you can set up joelonsoftware@yourname.mailshell.com. If joel ever starts sending you spam, or starts sharing your e-mail address with spammers, you simply set your preferences to delete everything going *to* joelonsoftware@yourname.mailshell.com.

Sign up for a lot of contests? use contests@yourname.mailshell.com and filter them all to your junkmail folder. Also, if you start getting spam, you know exactly where it came from. For example, I've had to deal with verisign lately, so I set up verisign@myname.mailshell.com. If I EVER receive spam at that address from someone other than verisign I know they shared my e-mail address. While I can't delete all email that goes to that address (because I want to get stuff from verisign) I can start to filter it intelligently (e-mail that goes to verisign@myname.mailshell.com and is from *verisign.com goes through, but nothing else to verisign@myname.mailshell.com.

They tell me their built in spam filter is also pretty good.

Also, you don't even have to be online to set up an e-mail address! You can actually do it away from a computer. Say I go to a convention and sign up for a product demo, I can write down on their sign up sheet "vignette@myname.mailshell.com" when I receive an e-mail to that address, next time I sign in to mailshell it will ask me what I want to do with e-mail that goes to that address.

It's a free service, but there's a lot of premium stuff I'm thinking of upgrading to for $30/year.

http://www.mailshell.com

Mark W
Sunday, April 14, 2002

Coupons are also fun because you can send coupons to people and see which channels are the most effective - since you have different coupon codes (i.e. MISSPIGGY) you can tell who's responding from a convention, from your website, from an ad on google, from painting your website on your body and running the naked mile... (or not). Demographics, customer tracking, etc. is serious business. Just ask doubleclick*.

*Doubleclick are the evil people who track you as you travel around the Internet and then gather your home address, e-mail, and phone number. If you surf around a dozen doubleclick affiliates they know it. Then if you log in to one, they capture your log in information and can send you targeted advertising.

http colon slash slash dub dub dub dot doubleclick dot net

Mark W
Sunday, April 14, 2002

Honestly for a company our size it's more useful for measuring the effectiveness of a given advertising channel. I cannot imagine anything more boring than getting "personal information" on our customers, but if I spend tens of thousands of dollars on a given advertising campaign it would sure be nice to know if it does anything.

Joel Spolsky
Sunday, April 14, 2002

I did say doubleclick was evil... I hope you didn't think I was implying you should go that route.

Mark W
Sunday, April 14, 2002

For a spam filter I'm using SpamAssassin, it's a perl program that has various heuristics to detect if a given message is a spam message, it also checks Virpul's Razor system. It's been pretty effective so far. Though it's probably harder to set for the Windows users.

I'm also using sneakemail.com for mail forwarder where I can create a mail alias for each sender and then I can filter on each such mail alias, though the other service does sound more effective. The E-Mail addresses from sneakemail are pretty wierd, random numbers and letters. It has it's advantages and disadvantages.

For the name based e-mail address I can use my domain for a filter though.

As for DoubleClick, I'm using Galeon which is a Mozilla/Gecko based browser and simply filter all cookies, I control which sites do receives cookies from me and by default say no to cookies. I don't care about personalization or such stuff. I can also easy audit the cookies on my machine and remove those that I don't want.

Baruch E.
Monday, April 15, 2002

Whitelist spam filters are about as brain dead as you can get. I can't think of any anti-spam measure more offensive to the people trying to email you. "Here's a hoop doggy, be good and jump through it, or I won't read your mail".

An email address you do not publicise in any harvestable manner is the best anti-spam protection there is. Mine, for instance, is available only in graphic form on my web site - and not as a mailto: link or plaintext. Resulting spam to that address in 4 years: zero. Resulting spam to an address used in newsgroups some years ago: 2-3 a day, all automatically deleted by my mail client.

With my own domain any sign-ups to *anything* have a unique address as mentioned above. Any spam to any of those addresses and I know who sold the address, and can stop using them and block any email to the address from then on.

DB
Monday, April 15, 2002

Does anyone know how to configure sendmail so you can just make up email addresses and they get sent to you?

For example, I know you can set up sendmail so that if you are the only user at your domain *@domain.com goes to you, so anytime you need an email you just make one up.

But what if you want something like mhp-*@domain.com or *-mhp@domain.com to go to you?  aliases file doesn't take wildcards, so it has to be done in the sendmail.cf file I believe, but seems a bit tricky...

Michael H. Pryor
Monday, April 15, 2002

I know that "use qmail" isn't a good response to "How to configure sendmail to accept various wildcard aliases." However, if you're interested in easily extendable mail aliasing and you have a mail server on which you can use qmail, take a look. (http://www.qmail.org). It's pretty straightforward to install, comes with step-by-step instructions, and can be a drop-in replacement for sendmail.

Each time you want to create a new alias with qmail, you just make a new file whose name has the alias in it, and whose contents are the instructions on how to deal with mail to that alias. If the file is blank, then the default delivery rules (toss it in your inbox) apply.

Plus, each user can manage their alias space without any intervention from a sysadmin. This applies both to aliases based on a username (like mhp-foo@fogcreek.com, mhp-bar@fogcreek.com, etc) and entire domains that a user can control (like foo@michaelpryor.com, bar@michaelpryor.com, etc.)

David Sklar
Monday, April 15, 2002

I can vouch for SpamAssassin. After setting it to be a little more sensitive than the default, I only see one spam every couple of days. (this is on an email account that gets hit by 5-10 spams per day). In a couple weeks of operation it only marked one non-spam message as spam (and it was a pretty bad message anyway). It's the best spam protection I've used yet, barring a whitelist system.

Dan Maas
Monday, April 15, 2002

DB said:

Whitelist spam filters are about as brain dead as you can get. I can't think of any anti-spam measure more offensive to the people trying to email you. "Here's a hoop doggy, be good and jump through it, or I won't read your mail".

---

The other problem I see with such filters is that they add to, rather than subtracting from, total network traffic. I would hope that they're also sophisticated enough to avoid looping on admin messages, as in:

From: evilspammer@invalid_address.com
Subj: Make money fast

To: evilspammer@invalid_address.com
Subj: If you want me to read your mail

From: admin@somewhere.net
Subj: undelivered mail - invalid address

To: admin@somewhere.net
Subj: If you want me to read your mail

From: admin@somewhere.net
Subj: This is an automated reply

and so on. Spam is a problem, and becoming worse, but increasing network traffic and making correspondents jump through hoops is not the best way to deal with it.

Just the other day, I sent an email to my boss, on the order of "I'm going home early. I'm sick, and may not be in tomorrow. The file you need first thing in the morning can be found <here>." If he'd had one of these filters, he'd have had to wait for me to return to get that message.

Steve Wheeler
Monday, April 15, 2002

I have very limited experience with these e-mail bounce programs, but from what I can tell

1) you can check your e-mail, even the stuff that hasn't been verified yet
2) it recognizes bounces

Mark W
Monday, April 15, 2002

db - yep, these are exactly the form of address protections that i use (apart from the graphical form on the web, i had not thought of that one - thanks!). if one gives ones email address away to all and sundry the chance that you sill be spammed increases. personally, i am spam free for the last two or three years now. i must confess, i quite like the idea of stamplets, which are similar to the whitepages idea - "sure, give me 1M cus and i will accept that piece of junk mail".

nope
Tuesday, April 16, 2002

just checked out the web site given at the opening message. it looks like their policy must have changed. there is nothing available for free, except a 30 day trial.

the only option it seems is to transfer your entire domain or just your MX to this company, which is something i'm definitely not interested in.

jae
Tuesday, April 16, 2002

I know it looks like that, but the mailshell service is free, there are a number of premium services that they charge for.

Mark W
Tuesday, April 16, 2002

I'm an experienced user spam filter user. I used to use SpamInspector, plus used SpamArrest (online server) to add a challenge email step to one of my accounts...
recently I discovered another filter at www.spambully.com.
SpamBully was rated BEST BUY in October 2003 WIRED Magazine:
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.10/play.html?pg=10

I have downloaded trial, and love it!
SpamBully does it all - I have even been able to delete all of my old, manually entered spam-filtering rules - the Bayesian wizard is phenominal out-of-the-box! Now mine is trained, I am seeing 99%+ accuracy (in fact, for the past 24 hours, I've seen 100% accuracy!)

Gregory RD
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

One more thing … http://www.spambully.com  integrates with Outlook making it so easy to use.

Gregory RD
Wednesday, March 17, 2004

I tried SpamBully, and what I have to say is that -  SpamBully is very intelligent software.

Jefry
<a href="http://www.bank.md">http://www.bank.md</a>

Jeffrey Hunter
Thursday, July 01, 2004

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