GMail Fighting Spam with Oomph!
GMail is already the seventh largest (1 month back) email service with roughly a million users. As and when it goes public, signups will increase exponentially. It will probably relegate Yahoo! Mail to the third spot and occupy the second spot by November next year (with the first still being Hotmail.)
Having been on the net for a long time, one has probably had more than their share of spam stuffed into their email inboxes everyday. Day in, day out, the influx is incessant. Some of us employ mailinator, spamgourmet and whatnot to combat spam. There are hundreds of companies making a living out of helping companies deal with spam. Spam assassin, Spam Bayes are very popular products with tech savvy net users.
But how one gets an effective spam fighting solution for the individual? Yahoo has 10 filters to manually filter out spam and a bulk folder. But itâ€™s not that revolutionary. Most of us with GMail have more or less abandoned hotmail for any serious mail purposes.
Because of spam, many of us are reluctant to share our real email addresses when registering with various websites, some of whose privacy policies is suspect and Blogs, websites etc where spambots can harvest the addresses.
GMailâ€™s spam filters really work. They do the job pretty much as stated. What GMail is doing with its effective spam filtering service, is slowly changing peopleâ€™s attitudes about revealing their real email addresses on the net, be it on websites or Blogs. When a spam manages to land in the inbox, all you need to do is select it and click on â€œreport spamâ€. 3-4 months earlier, 2-3 spams a week landed in my inbox. Now itâ€™s gone down to maybe one a week. False positives are a little more common, maybe 3-4 a week but not a source of concern.
Many people who are fed up with spam are forwarding their mail to GMail. Unless you have privacy concerns about revealing your email address on the net, you are more likely to use your GMail id than some junk hotmail or yahoo address. Now you donâ€™t need to login to hotmail or yahoo every month/3 months and can abandon these addresses altogether.
Prior to GMail, email providers competed with each other trying to see who could provide smaller and smaller inboxes. With GMail, the space race is on again. When companies increase mail space from 2 MB and 6MB to 250MB, you know there is a more compelling reason behind it than plain benevolence.
With 2-6MB mailboxes, you wouldnâ€™t have enough space for your regular email, making space for spam was out of the question. Unless you are a targeted anti-spam crusader, 1GB is more than enough and then some to deal with spammers and their ilk.
Google recently introduced POP3. Even when you use your email client, spam is still filtered to your spam folder and you have to review it probably once a week to catch any false positives.
IMAP would have been more suitable for GMail. With IMAP, you could keep track of any false positives from your email client itself. Indications are that Google might introduce IMAP later on as a pay service. But in the meanwhile, enjoy a spam-free inbox.
Sushubh Mittal is the Tech Columnist at SEJ and also the Editor at TechWhack.