4. Third Party Software:
There are numerous applications available for purchase, or as free downloads, specifically intended to filter spam as it enters your inbox. These programs identify telltale signs of a spam message by analyzing hidden tags in the message, use of text and images in the message, and various other clues available that point to a message being unwanted.
A few examples of spam filtering software is available from these three companies; SPAMfighter, MailWasher, and Cloudmark. Each offers its own twist on the interface and manageability, but they all allow users to take control of the spam in their Outlook or Outlook Express mailboxes.
The price tag on this type of software may involve a one time fee of $30 or more, and some come with annual subscriptions costing up to $40. If the free software doesn't cut it for your tastes, these pay versions generally include a free trial so that you can be sure the program is right for you before you spend any money. The logic and data behind the spam filtering is constantly evolving, so these packages need to be kept updated, much like a virus scanning application, and this is where subscription-based offerings come into play.
5. Server Based Solutions:
Most major internet service providers (ISP) now offer a spam filter as part of the package offered to its subscribers. AOL and Earthlink are just two of the big names out there that include a spam filter in with other attractive features like virus protection and pop up blockers. These ISP provide filters which effectively manage spam at the server before delivery, but they are generally not overly customizable on the end user level, and they obviously only protect e-mail accounts provided by the ISP.
Protection similar to what an internet service provider offers can be implemented by just about anyone with their own domain name, and access to their server. Domain names and web hosting have become so cheap that it is not all that uncommon for people to have their own website, or at least a domain name for e-mail. SPAM Assassin is a no-cost, server based spam fighting solution that can be installed on a server, and has become a common feature included on many web hosting packages.
These solutions use various rules and logic to analyze messages, much like the third party software does, but it all happens at the server level. This keeps the message from having to be downloaded to be processed, thus saving time and precious bandwidth.
Spam is a nuisance that impacts people on several levels. Even if the content is not inappropriate or offensive, it is a waste of time and money. Although some spam solutions claim to eliminate 100% of all unsolicited e-mail, my experience tells me that this just isn’t realistic. That said, protecting your e-mail address and implementing the appropriate spam filtering solution should nearly eliminate spam from your life.
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