Emergic CleanMail

Emergic has launched a business focused Spam Solution…

We have launched Emergic CleanMail, an Internet-based spam filtering and virus scanning service for enterprises. Some key features:

# Triple-level Virus Scanning
# Multi-layered Anti-Spam capabilities stops 90-95% of Spam
# Spam Analysis Engine with auto-updates and auto-learning
# Personal Whitelists and Blacklists allow/block emails from specific IDs/domains
# Real-time Blackhole Lists capture data from global spam servers to block spam
# Content filtering
# Reports on email trends, viruses detected, spam volumes, policy violations

We are offering a 2-week free trial for the service. [E M E R G I C . o r g]

There is no pricing yet…

Spam Debate

Scott Richter was profiled not too long ago on The Daily Show as a high volume sender… This should be a good battle.

SpamCop founder Julian Haight and Scott Richter, who reportedly is “one of the world’s most prolific spammers,” have agreed to meet for a public debate next month at the upcoming Email Technology Conference in San Francisco, reports Wired. “The two sides are currently embroiled in a legal battle involving SpamCop’s spam blacklist service,” notes the report, “which Richter says violates the rights of his online marketing firm, OptInRealBig.com.” [MacMinute]

Mail.app’s Spam Filter

While I personally did not find the spam protection to be sufficient, you might find the following of interest and useful if you are using or deciding on whether to use Mail as your email app. I am still running SpamAssassin at the server level and using SpamSieve locally to pick up things that get missed.

Many myths have emerged about Mail’s junk mail filter. No, it’s not an extremely complex set of rules, no it doesn’t look for keywords, and no, it doesn’t use white magic. To truly understand what makes it so much better than the competition, we’ll have to take a closer look at the recognition engine and the technologies it relies on to do its work. It may sound a bit complex at first, but things will begin to make sense as we work through the mechanics. [MacDevCenter.com]

I do like Mail.app a great deal and hope it gets better in Tiger this fall. Entourage has been probably been updated in the new Office and Thunderbird continues to grow as well.

A Question for Spammers

Does sending multiple copies of the same message get a better response or open rate?

There must be some logic as to why I sometimes get a dozen of the same message at once. It’s interesting to note these when I scan messages caught first by Spam Assassin and then by Spam Sieve in my spam folder. I can’t understand what the purpose is other than an phone book attack on a domain which certainly plays a role.

I’ve got images off so I know I’m not sending anything back when I review these… Many times I’ll get several at once all to the same name, though not usually me, just another open address I’ve got on my domain for various purposes.

massive amounts of spam

When I suddenly get close to 4000 (3935 actually) messages at once, I have to just delete them. If you sent me one and it ended up there, you lose. No way I can possible be expected on any level to manually sort that much crap.

If you don’t read my blog, well then you just think I’m a jerk for not replying right away.

The Spyware that Loved Me

Brought to you by the letters IE…

CNET News.com sleuth John Borland wanted to see what would happen to his PC if he loaded rogue spyware apps onto the machine. That’s when all hell broke loose. [CNET News.com]

Obvious perhaps…

Deactivating the “catch-all” mailbox for my domain has instantly reduced the spam flow. No more messages for emails that do not exist. Instead spammers…you get to bounce!

There is still a great deal of spam to manage but Spam Assassin and Spam Sieve are taking care of business very nicely.

AOL Takes Down Spammers’ Offer Pages

Amazing no one thought to do this earlier…

Taking a page from the Chinese government’s playbook, AOL proved the first U.S. Internet provider to attack spam by taking down the websites of spammers. By denying access to the pages to which spam emails link, spammers have no commercial motive to keep sending the messages to annoyed AOL subscribers.

The move, started quietly early this year, is sure to bring protest by companies whose affiliate marketers manage – through ham-handed email marketing – to put the brand websites in hot AOL web water. eCommerce Times reports. [marketingvox]

Spam Filtering on Pair Networks

So with the move to Pair comes a nice installation of SpamAssassin which is great as I was not really up the challenge of installation in previous hosting environments.

My goal with filtering spam was to create a separate box just to collect the spam and check it when I got the chance. My usual method through Spam Intercepter allowed for this as I would just head to my account on the site and empty the trash as well as check to make sure nothing was caught in cache limbo waiting for my approval or rejection.

Now, I have created a separate account just for spam and all messages that come through any of the other boxes I have set up – across domains even – get instantly sent to that box. I created a simple account in Mail to pull just those messages so it’s quite easy to see what’s been flagged and delete them.

Setting this up was not that obvious, but after an email with support it’s easy to do. Here are the instructions for anyone else looking to do the same

Log into the Account Control Center: https://my.pair.com/
Click E-Mail Management.
Under Mailboxes, click Create New Mailbox.
Enter the configuration information that you would like to use for the new
mailbox, and click Add Mailbox at the bottom of the page.

Once that is done, then you will want to edit the configuration of the
mailbox(es) which are receiving the junk emails so that they know to
forward those messages to your newly created junk mailbox. In the settings
for each mailbox is the following field:

Junk E-Mail Filtering:

In the “Save junk e-mail to a file:” text box, you will enter the


Replacing USERNAME and DOMAIN.COM with the domain on which the mailbox resides.

This solves two issues/needs I have for mail. The first is that by checking my primary account I get the benefits of spam filtering at all times, across devices even which is great when you are using a palm or phone and don’t want to use valuable bandwidth for checking spam. The other is something I was not really that concerned with but happy to gain which is control of my mail all within my domain. Spam Intercepter, which is an excellent system, does force mail to loop outside before coming back to your inbox. Hardly terrible… but nice to have it all in one place.

The verdict is still out on this system – I know I’ve changed how I do things often – but so far this is a great way to do mail.

Study: Spam Filters Often Lose E-Mails

AP – As spam-fighting tools become increasingly aggressive, e-mail recipients risk losing newsletters and promotions they’ve requested. [Yahoo! News – Technology – Spam]

A new study attempts to quantify missed bulk mailings. Return Path, a company that monitors e-mail performance for online marketers, found that nearly 19 percent of e-mail sent by its customers never reached the inboxes of intended recipients.

The figure, for the last half of 2003, is up 3.7 percentage points from the same period in 2002.

In some cases, the messages weren’t delivered at all; in other cases, messages wound up in spam folders that are rarely checked. Though technical glitches can also cause mail to disappear, Return Path blames most of the deletions on spam filters.

New Rules for Spam

Good advice for anyone rolling their own through the use of SpamAssasin…

I started looking at the patterns of what was getting through SpamAssassin to try to fight it more effectively. I ended up taking a couple of steps that are rather drastic. They’re certainly not recommended for everyone, but I think a certain subset of people would see a substantial reduction in spam by changing a few rules. [~stevenf]

Macs help The Spamhaus Project take on spam

“With Mac OS X, we can flip vital services onto backup circuits and IP setups in seconds, trace attackers and weather the storm without our services being interrupted. I don’t sit around wondering how many crackers and script-kiddies are hammering our servers; I know those Macs aren’t letting them in.”

Linford’s main servers are Power Mac G4s and Xserves, but the heart of his network is a G4 Cube that maintains his Spamhaus Block List (SBL), which involves feeding real-time database changes to 300 worldwide servers that help more than 200 million SBL users reject around 8 billion spam e-mails a day. He notes that, except for reboots required when installing or upgrading software, he hasn’t needed to restart the machine since 2001.

“It’s an amazing piece of hardware,” Linford says. “There’s something very special about Macs in general, which starts from the moment you unpack one and discover that every component is a work of art. And working in Mac OS X simply doesn’t feel like hard work; there’s a feeling of calm about the OS.” [Computerworld]

MyDoom is the Uncle Leo virus

How many emails has your spam filter picked with with ‘hello’ as the subject in the past few weeks… I can’t even count that high, it’s so many. As I clear things up, I can’t help but think of the episode in Seinfeld when Uncle Leo gets arrested shoplifting. It’s the same one where Uncle Leo tells Jerry he could at least say hello, regardless of how inconvenient the situation might seem. As Uncle Leo is getting taken out of the store he sees Jerry (who actually reported him) for the first time and Jerry says… “Uncle Leo, Hello!” Maybe it’s just one of those had to have been there /seen it bits…