Spam is getting worse, not better. I hate spam. Work or personal, 90-percent of all my email is spam.
The best solution I’ve had so far is the past 10 days with the Mac’s best spam filter.
In the past few months or so there’s been a dramatic increase in spam—the junk email you love to hate.
Spam, or junk email, does not discriminate. Mac users get spam. Windows users get spam.
Recent reports say there’s a Windows bot-net delivering billions of email messages to hundreds of millions of email users.
For those of us with multiple email accounts, personal, business, and organizational, spam increases all around. What can you do to prevent spam?
Outside of living the life of a hermit or having someone else handle your mail and email, there’s not many options for the average Mac user.
I’ve been using Mac OS X’s Mail for a few years on my Mac, though I have email accounts that I track on my Linux PC for work; Windows, too.
Most email solutions these days have some sort of junk mail filter, including Apple’s Mail in Mac OS X. I’ve tried them all, including Spam Assassin at the server level (very good, but not for the average user to install, configure, or use on a Mac).
My frustration with the Junk Mail filter in Mail grew with the increase in spam the past few months.
The situation grew dire as the spam in the Junk Mail box stacked up.
Handling mail these days is a two step job if you’re running Mail with more than two or three email accounts. It’s a multi step process that’s difficult to avoid.
Step 1 – check your inbox for good mail; throw away the bad mail. Step 2 – check your junk mail for good mail; delete everything else.
Two weeks ago I dropped the Junk Mail filter in Mail and installed SpamSieve. I’m very pleased with the results.
The Two Step process does not go away, but it becomes much easier. SpamSieve catches more spam that Apple’s Mail, and seems to improve over time, whereas Mail seems to get worse.
Why? Spammers change their tactics. Most spam catchers and filters don’t adjust so eventually more spam gets through, and the chore of separating your messages, the good from the bad, takes more time.
SpamSieve works on a rather simple process which initially requires your involvement in a training process.
Installation is simple for both Mail and Microsoft’s Entourage. All incoming email goes through SpamSieve, good or bad.
The Bayesian filtering does a good job trapping spam right away, and dumping it in a special folder for spam. The rest goes in your Mail inbox.
What’s cool is that SpamSieve adapts to the email you receive, and the spam you receive, not just a blanket filter for all incoming spam. That means it improves as you tell SpamSieve which email is actually spam, which is not.
What’s the result after 10 days of use on my Mac? Less spam? No. Spam has actually increased the past two weeks. The difference is my response to spam.
Before SpamSieve, Apple’s Junk Mail filter put some spam in the inbox, and some good messages into the Junk Mail folder. That happened often, and more so over time. The two-step spam tango was increasingly annoying and time consuming.
After SpamSieve, there was few spam messages in the inbox, and few good messages in the Spam folder.
That was a good start. Then it got better.
As I identified which incoming messages were actually spam, SpamSieve improved the filter. Ditto for the reverse; telling SpamSieve that what it thought was spam was not. Still two steps, but much easier and less stressful.
10 days into using SpamSieve and I haven’t received a false-positive in two days, despite receiving a daily average of 240 email messages. Email is still 90-percent spam, but it’s 100-percent better because I have less work and less fear.
SpamSieve isn’t just for OS X’s Mail, or Microsoft’s Entourage.
It works well with Eudora, Mailsmith, PowerMail, Gyazmail, and others.
There’s a few dozen other features besides the accurate filtering of spam, and the accurate memory as to what constitutes spam in your inbox. SpamSieve also integrates with the Mac OS X AddressBook so messages from friends or co-workers don’t get marked as spam.
There’s a blocklist which adapts instantly to spam and catches 100-percent of those that match (which assumes you get more than one spam message that looks like another spam message—I do).
For the geekier among us, SpamSieve also has custom whitelists to match the blocklist, and other rules you can apply to parts of email headers or body.
SpamSieve is a very popular and highly regarding utility for Mac users. Updates are regular and improvements worth. For example, some spam filters don’t do a good job with simple misspelled words, often marking them as spam, though they’re not. SpamSieve doesn’t.
When your inbox gets a spam message, simply select the message, select the menu for “Train as Spam” and the message is dumped into the Spam folder and remembered. The reverse holds true for a message identified as spam but is not.
Of all the filters I’ve used, the two best are SpamAssassin and SpamSieve. If you’re an average Mac user, setting up SpamAssassin may give you a bigger headache than all the spam you receive.
Setting up SpamSieve is download, open, drag and drop to install. If you’re getting more spam than you want and the situation is not improving, try SpamSieve. If there’s a better solution, I don’t know what it is.
Do you have spam? What’s working for you? What troubles have you run into while trying to manage spam?