Spam Sleuth


Spam SleuthFor the past two weeks, I have been trying out an  anti-SPAM software program from Blue Squirrel named Spam Sleuth.

Blue Squirrel is a software company that has been around since 1995 and is based in Salt Lake City, Utah. They primarily develop internet software such as WebWhacker, WebSeeker, Spam Sleuth, and a printing utility named ClickBook.

In some ways, Spam Sleuth is similar to other software solutions, but in a few ways, it works very differently. This newest version even includes the option to charge the spammer for the privilege of sending you their advertisements.

I found Spam Sleuth easy to install and set up. It took me a little longer than most because I had to set up a total of 7 e-mail addresses (I need to get rid of some of those). Basically, you just need to know your e-mail address, password and the mail server. This is all information that you can easily get from your current e-mail program if you don’t already know it. If you have any questions, their help menu has detailed instructions for different types of e-mail including Hotmail and AOL e-mail accounts.

Since I have cable internet access, and I use my e-mail program all day long (You readers know how to keep a computer lady busy!) I set Spam Sleuth to check my e-mail accounts for SPAM every three minutes, and my e-mail program to check every 15 minutes. This arrangement is a pretty good way to be sure Spam Sleuth has removed any SPAM before Outlook downloads it. If you have a dial up internet connection.

Once Spam Sleuth is installed and running, it goes to work checking each e-mail message that is delivered to your mail server. This is where Spam Sleuth works a little differently from other anti-spam software programs I have tried. Most other programs have a list of “Friends” whom you always want to get e-mail from, and a list of “Spammers” whom you never want to get e-mail from. It is a little hard to maintain a list of friends, when you have over 40,000 of them who read your newsletter! *grin*

Spam Sleuth has the same list of friends and spammers, but with the rest of the e-mails that come in, it uses a points system for words in the e-mails. This points system is totally controlled by you. I have my system set to mark an e-mail as spam if the score goes over 180. Bad words like “Credit Repair” or “Financial Freedom” add points to the score. Good words like “Computer”, “Help” and “Question” subtract points from the score.

Other things I have customized are points for more than 12 people in the To: field, points for profanity, points for attachments, and points for bright and bold HTML formatting. There is a power filter section where I can create my own rules. In this section, I have created a couple of rules for e-mails that have been submitted from my website links.

Spam Sleuth also has the ability to simulate an e-mail delivery failure. (Commonly known as a bounced e-mail) When spammers get a delivery failure message, they will remove the address from their list. This will reduce the number of future spam messages you will receive.

One last option that is brand new in this version of Spam Sleuth is something they call “EMail Stamps”. I find this option interesting. If a message generates a score higher than 1000 points (you can change the number of points) a message will be sent back to the sender telling them that the message will be delivered once they pay a delivery fee using PayPal. You can determine the amount of the fee, the default is the price of a postage stamp. You must have a PayPal account for this option to work. I did not turn this option on because I did not want my readers to think that I was charging them to send me e-mails.

Once I had explored all the options in Spam Sleuth, it was time to put it to the test. I let the program run overnight and checked it first thing the next morning. When I want to check the messages that have been marked as spam, I just double click on the small Icon near the clock. This icon brings up a window listing the suspected spam e-mails and how many points they have generated. From this window, I am able to do quite a few things. For example, if the e-mail came from a friend of mine, I simply right click and select “Add to Friends…”.

My first morning, there were almost 30 spam messages. A couple were from people I knew, and I quickly added them to my friends list. Some were from notorious spam companies and I bounced them. Once I had returned good messages to my mail server, and bounced other messages, I simply highlighted all the messages and deleted them.

Spam Sleuth has been working great for me! I would encourage you to download the demo today and see how it can work for you.

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