I don’t miss spam

Margaret Shaffhauser with bull terrier dog at the Canine Association Show, 3 Nov 1934 / by Ted Hood

photo credit: State Library of New South Wales collection

I just emptied 536 spam from my email spam folder.

Today, I ran across some clients who had problems with email spam, and I recanted the following story.

Once upon a time, my email inbox was filled to the brim with spam every single day. Then one cool autumn day in Las Vegas, Nevada at the now defunct Comdex show in 2000 or 2001, I met some nice folks from a startup company called Cloudmark. They were discussing and promoting a new way to combat spam that used human eyes and minds to identify spam instead of computer algorithms.

Intrigued, I immediately downloaded and started using it upon my return from Vegas. Cloudmark was nothing short of miraculous for me and brought my inbox back under control. Currently, Cloudmark works with Outlook Express, Thunderbird and Vista’s Windows Mail.

I used it successfully and happily until 3 years ago when I dropped Microsoft Outlook and started using Gmail.

My first concern about the switch to Gmail was how good the spam filter Gmail used would be. After just a few days, my worries were for naught. Gmail’s spam filter was and is every bit as effective as my old Cloudmark friend. Gmail automatically filters all incoming email and moves it to a folder labeled spam.

Like any new spam filter, it is a good idea to periodically check the spam folder to make sure that it isn’t misidentifying spam. However, like Cloudmark, after a few weeks of checking for these false positives and finding none, I abandoned the practice because I was confident in its accuracy.

Now I just delete the contents of the spam folder periodically. Although, that isn’t necessary since Gmail automatically deletes any spam more than 30 days old.

Both Gmail and Cloudmark are so accurate, that for every 300-400 emails I received in my inbox, I might see one spam message the filter didn’t catch.

In the time it took me to write this article (about 12 minutes), my spam folder collected 16 messages. Spam in my inbox, zero.

I don’t miss spam.

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