Unsolicited Commercial Email - better known as spam is a tremendous problem these days. We all hate it. Most providers have taken steps to minimize it as have individual users but in the end the spammers will always be one step ahead and will design their messages to look as much like standard correspondance as possible so that no filter can eliminiate it.
While we must all tolerate some amount of spam there are certainly things that can be done to keep the amount of spam under control. Spam filtering can be achieved in 3 ways:
- Inbox filtering by the mail client. This requires either your mail software or an add-on product installed on your computer. This method provides the most flexibility generally and is most often rules-based which means that you will setup specific rules that the filter will apply when examining your Email. These may be simple or complex and the product will generally include some proven rules to assist you in getting this started. Other filters, known as bayesian filters, will learn as they go by interacting with you in determining what is and what is not spam. Once trained this method is reasonably effective but both of these methods require constant tweaking to work well. In addition, this method requires that the user download all of their Email, including the spam, to be evaluated.
- Blocking known spammers at the mail server - not allowing them to even connect. This is very effective but spammers move around a great deal and so only a small amount of spam is really blocked this way these days. OWT does this and maintains it agressively.
- Implementing a single, rules and/or bayesian filter at the mail server level to provide spam scoring and filtering at the same time the message is scanned for viruses. Scoring rules are implemented for the entire group and each user can determine how strictly they wish to filter based upon this score. While not as flexible for each individual, this represents the most powerful approach as a single entity can administer the rules for the benefit of the entire group. This is the approach we have taken with the OWT Mail Filter but we have taken it a bit further by allowing the user to keep their spam in another mailbox for review just in case it is, in fact, not spam. None of these methods are perfect.
Since spammers are willing to butcher their messages almost beyond recognition no spam filter can catch everything. We have tried to design the OWT Mail Filter to be as easy to use and understand as possible. However, spam filtering is a complex issue and you will need to understand some basic concepts to be able to configure the filter properly for your needs. If you are just fed up with spam and want to reduce it without learning any of this just call our tech support staff at 783-3454 and we will enable a basic filter for you. This will reduce your spam substantially but it will not be optimal.
This filter is a very powerful tool. Along with the power to minimize the unsolicited Email you receive comes the power to reject mail you may wish to see. Make sure you understand how the filter works before entering your settings