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Spam Arrest LLC

$5.95/month or $24.95/6 months or 44.95/12 months or 74.95/24 months

In the February 2007 issue of ÆGIS we discussed ChoiceMail, a PC based e-mail challenge and response system. While ChoiceMail works quite well, it has one problem: Because ChoiceMail downloads your e-mail to the PC, you have no access to our e-mail while traveling. In theory this is no problem for us, because we hate traveling, and make every effort to avoid going anywhere. As often happens, practice doesn’t work quite as well as theory, and in the month following the writing of the ChoiceMail review, this editor was on four different continents, traveling to countries as alphabetically and geographically far apart as Argentina and Uzbekistan.

This, and subsequent trips, made it clear that what was needed in our particular circumstances was a Web based challenge and response program. Because of this we have been using SpamArrest for several months now.

The transition was quite smooth. We exported the list of approved e-mail addresses from ChoiceMail and uploaded it to Spam Arrest, and were pretty much in business.

There are some differences between the two programs.

Spam Arrest reads your various e-mail servers (three in this editor’s case) every few minutes, and brings the e-mail to its Web space. You can then download your mail to your e-mail client, or look at it on the Web mail portion of Spam Arrest. In our case we first run it through MailWasher (see the June 2002 and May 2003 issues of ÆGIS). Once we get rid of valid but unwanted e-mail, we then download it to our e-mail client. Since it all comes in one batch, independent of the e-mail address to which it was sent, we built filters in our e-mail client, The Bat! (see the January 2005 and July 2006 issue of ÆGIS), to direct it to the appropriate mailbox. The few on which we were BCCd stay in the Spam Arrest mailbox until we drag them to the appropriate mailbox.

Filtering on Spam Arrest is more simplistic that on ChoiceMail (or The Bat!, for that matter). Each filter handles one condition, rather than many. You get 20 filters thrown in for your monthly fee. Since you are really relying on the challenge and response system, this is interesting, but not really an issue.

We tend to look at the unverified e-mail periodically, just to make sure there is nothing we want. The best way to do this in SpamArrest seems to be to hide all messages with bounced verifications – surely spam – and scroll through page by page until the bold listings turn to un-bold listings, indicating they have been previously seen.

One of the nice features of ChoiceMail was that if you sent someone an email, that address would automatically go into the approved list. This doesn’t happen with Spam Arrest, so you have to remember to do this manually, or catch the response in the unverified list if the person does not respond to the challenge sent them by Spam Arrest.

We have been quite pleased with Spam Arrest. If a local system such as ChoiceMail does not serve your purposes, then Spam Arrest is a good choice.

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