A common statement from vendors of PC side email client software states;
"the only spam fighter we've seen that stops 100 percent of junk e-mail. . . . "
Let's look at the claim and see what the truth is;
The claim suggests this software does it's task automatically and reliably, but such a claim can be misleading.
100% means all of it, so this is a bold statement for sure.
Junk e-mail we take to mean spam, email we did not request, but this could include some from sales enquires or new but important email which has some characteristics of spam.
Typical software of this type handles all the received email and sorts it into 2 folders
junk (spam) email
BUT some systems may also permanently delete email on receipt or place some email in the DELETED EMAIL folder, some of which may be genuine and important email.
The user then spots some email in the inbox which is actually spam so as such has to make 3 decisions of every item of email in that INBOX;
OK read and act on it
Spam - classify for such future email to be classified Junk, this is done in one of 3 ways (or a combination of 1, 2 or all) from a certain email address (which may be unique to this spam mass email)
with a certain subject
addressed to a certain person (who may be you, someone in your address box, or a totally fictitious name. ) Useless, or not interested email but not seen as spam (this email will continue to arrive in the future)
Delete it as it's not strictly spam, but email that does not interest you at this time, or you lack time to read it. Mail from the same sender will continue to be received until classified as spam or you sign off from say a mailing list which is sending it.
The user needs also at regular intervals to read the JUNK EMAIL box and look for genuine emails and make a decision;
Classify as Non Junk and so add the FROM email address to the safe senders list (sometimes known as a white list) Read and act on it but NOT re-classify it, a repeated mailing will be treated as Junk Email SO, where does the 100% claim come from?
The system has received 100% of the email which is both spam, good mail, a few in betweens.
It has sorted it into two piles BUT still requires the user to spend time checking over its’ work as it has not, and never likely to be 100% effective in classifying good mail as good or junk mail as spam, or useless.
Fighting spam email is a constant, never ending battle, no one software product or service works 100% despite the claims. Spam cannot be stopped, only controlled, and to do this you need to be constantly alert to the problem, our key tips for better spam control include;
# adopt and maintain good anti-spam techniques and practices
# read the various guides available on spam issues
# have modern, up-to-date Anti Virus and Adware software on your PC or Laptop
# be cautious in who you give your email to
# be cautious about downloads, free trials and the like
# use TRUSTED sources and web sites
Maurice Clarke is founding owner of Spam Solution http://www.spam-solution.net dedicated to expand its fight against spammers. Offering a wide range of guides on email control and spam issues have led us to become a major force in the fight against spam. If you found this article useful please tell a friend about it and us.