Better spam killer

by Michael Alderete on 6/27/2002

Update: I no longer recommend SpamFire, having found much better tools; see my Personal Survey of Anti-Spam Tools for more current recommendations.

I wrote about a utility called Mailfilter here a while back. While I liked it, after a while I found it to not be flexible enough, and there was no safety net. If it thought a message was spam, it would delete it, and the message was gone forever.

I’ve switched to something called Spamfire. Today it’s Mac OS only (both Classic and Mac OS X), but they are working on a Windows version as well. Except for a few stability issues, Spamfire is just about the perfect personal spam filter.

Spamfire is a commercial product, unlike Mailfilter, but at less than $20 for the “Lite” version it’s well worth it if you’re getting a fair amount of spam in your e-mail inboxes. The things you get with Spamfire, that are not in Mailfilter include:

  • A very well-designed graphical user interface, which makes installation and configuration a breeze
  • A pre-defined suite of effective filters, professionally created by the vendor (with Mailfilter you roll your own)
  • A flexible scoring system (each matching filter adds to a message’s cumulative score), and an adjustable threshold for triggering mail deletion
  • Recoverable mail deletion — just Rescue a message from the Spamfilter application, which holds all deleted messages until you permanently delete them yourself
  • With the Pro version ($29) you get automated (or manual, if you prefer) updates to the application and the spam filters for 12 months (renewable thereafter)

I’m extremely satisfied with Spamfire. Because I can recover from false positives, I can set the filtering to be much more aggressive, which leads to substantially less spam. With Mailfilter I had to be careful, and only delete things that were certainly spam, which meant Mailfilter only cut down the amount, instead of virtually eliminating it.

Highly recommended if you’re tired of spam in your inbox.

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