I don't know spammers do it, but it seems like you can have the strangest
email address, but it is quite probably that you will end up getting junk email
Whether is is called Bulk Unsolicited Commercial Email (BUCE
or UCE), junk email, or spam, we all get it. This has lead to a relatively
new market of software products called junk email filters. These programs interface
with your email client (either checking the mail before it is downloaded or
as it comes in) and have a way to classify email. Some programs will learn
what you consider to be junk while others strictly judge email based on a predefined
set of keywords.
I recently obtained a copy of InBoxer by Audiotrieve.
This is a package that is based on SpamBayes,
an open source project. It uses Bayesian techniques to learn your email habits.
you have used that software, then you will notice a lot of similarities, but
also a lot of
software is a small download and installed easily. The software is an add-in
for Microsoft Outlook 2000 and later, and so this needs to be closed
you install. I used both Microsoft Outlook 2000 and Microsoft Outlook 2002 (part
of Office XP) during testing and had the same pleasant experience with both
The first time you run Outlook after installing InBoxer, you will have to
answer a couple of questions. You can run either the
Express or Custom setup (I always choose custom). Even after choosing Custom,
there weren't that many options to choose from. I was given the option to filter
the inbox immediately, and to choose the Folders
I wanted to filter.
Once that is done, a short little tutorial starts. This explains the folders
created, toolbar buttons added, and the InBoxer menu options. Then you are
back in the normal Outlook window and InBoxer is running and working with
the basic options
creates 2 folders for you; one to store junk email and one to store junk
suspects. The default folder names are Inboxer-Blocked and InBoxer-Review.
show up directly under the Inbox folder. I chose to have the folders as a
sub-folder in the Inbox. I created these folders, then went into the InBoxer
and changed the folders.
get between 500 and 1000 junk email message a day, so over the several weeks
that I had the software installed, it was put to good use. The software scores
each message that comes in. Anything over a certain score is junk,
anything below a certain score isn't, and everything in between is a suspect.
The default thresholds were fine to start with, but you will probably find
that you will want to adjust your thresholds.
off the bat, I found that the software had 90%+ accuracy. At that point, you
have to train the software. You can block messages that were left
block suspected junk messages, keep suspected junk messages, or you can keep
blocked messages. As you do this, the software learns. At some point, when
with a similar message pattern as one that you have blocked or kept, the
software should block or keep that new message accordingly.
You can also trust
individual email addresses, entire domains, or your entire contact list.
In effect, you are creating a white list of accepted senders, and a black
of blocked senders. For some reason, a lot of mail that Chris (the assistant
editor) sends me ended up in my Junk Suspects folder even though the emails are
always related to the newsletter. Rather than deal with pressing the Keep button
all the time, I chose to trust his email address. Then his emails always ended
up in the proper folder.
An important thing to remember is that the messages are not checked as they
are downloaded from your ISP. They are checked once they land in Outlook. So
if you have the Rules Wizard setup to move messages
to folders other
folders. I tested the software on three different computers and monitored different
folders on each. On one computer, I had monitored 5 other folders other than
the Inbox. On another I monitored 6 other
folders other than the Inbox, and
the last system
(only monitored the Inbox).
software was very easy to use. The basic Block / Keep functions
can be done by anyone right away. My wife isn't very keen about computers,
caught on very quickly and checks the folders and blocks are keeps
messages as needed.
If you are an advanced user, there are also many extra features. Some of the
options available include the following:
Change folders filtered
Filter folders on demand
Change scoring thresholds
Trust or block individual email addresses or your entire contact list
Analyze and report on an email message for the likelihood that it is junk
Merge, export, and import statistics
of the high volume of junk email that I receive,
I was at first disappointed that I would still have 30+ suspects
each morning. But when
I've receiving over 1000 message, then that means it is classifying
of the messages correctly.
That is an excellent success rate that I'm
will continue to improve as I use the software and adjust the settings.