As we always tell our clients spam can not be stopped completely and nor will it be until the time comes when someone works out how to effectively police the internet, In our opinion, that time will never come.
There are hundreds of different kinds of spam protection programs available we would like to discuss a few here with you and the problems each one presents so that you understand more clearly why we recommend the program we do.
This was the first miracle cure to spam. The idea is that when someone sends you a message if they are not on your white list (friends list) they are sent a challenge email asking them to perform an action to confirm that they are a human being and not a spambot.
The simplest version of this was “Simply reply to this email and leave the subject unchanged to be added to our whitelist ”
PROBLEM! Spammers quickly bypassed this by having any challenges replied to with an auto responder.
The second version was Click this link to confirm yourself. Again spammers just wrote programs that faked the click.
The latest version is a clickable link takes you to a webpage where you will be told to “enter the digits in the picture above into the box to confirm you are a human being”
While better this did not solve the main issues with challenge response. I send you an email and you have challenge response, your challenge response sends me an email to confirm my id, but because you have never emailed me before my challenge response sends you a similar email. The result is a mail loop messages going backwards and forward to servers and never reaching the recipient.
Not only will you lose legitimate emails this way but you will not be very popular with your web host for filling up the mail queues with these messages.
Email Client/Programmes White List Add-ons
Other popular programs plug into Outlook express and other programmes add a white list to the program. Any email that comes in that is not on your white list is put into a junk folder for later review.
You should immediately see the issue with that. At some point, you have to trawl through that junk folder marking what is legitimate mail and what is spam. You may as well just not bother and sort through it as it comes in. These programs can also mess with your outlook settings and even when uninstalled leave you with issues with checking your mail.
Spam Filtering By Rules
Some of the bigger spam solutions use what is called boolean or heuristic filtering. Put simply these are complicated sets of rules that apply a spam count to incoming mail to try and determine what is spam and what isn’t.
These programs work mainly on the content of the emails and word filters. The problem with this is they can make mistakes. If for example, a newsletter you signed up for sends you a newsletter containing the words “Special Offer” at the end of the email. The program could think this is spam and dump it. That means you do not get the newsletter you enjoy each month.
So What Is The Best Solution?
The real solution to spam is being able to sort it out quickly but not block it that is the only way to ensure you do not miss legitimate emails.
The program we recommend does just that. For full details on how we recommend dealing with spam click here.