What I have, right now, is this: you pay $10.00/month for an
e-mail address in the domain junkproof.com. Mail to that address
is filtered via my spam filter and forwarded to your real address.
Filtered mail is tagged with a special header. Spam is not forwarded.
I'll be offering other services (some of which I'll discuss toward
the end of this post) as time goes on but for now, that's it.
These are some situations where I think the service I have right
now will prove useful:
o You want to post on the Usenet or put an address in a Web page
but you don't want to be flooded with spam. Use an address
o You've got an address that you post with already or which is
otherwise infested with spam and you want mail to it filtered.
If you either have a mail filter program like procmail or you
have another address to receive your mail at, you can use my
service for this purpose.
o You're a not-too-large ISP who wants to keep your users from
sending spam. By using my system as your mail relay, your users
won't be able to spam. Send me e-mail to discuss this....
Is there a downside? Of course. To explain the downside, and
because I expect people will want to know, I'll explain how my
spam filter works.
The first part is a conventional pattern-based spam filter. If
you're doing spam filtering with procmail then you've got
something like this already though I doubt you have anything like
my (currently) ~1400 rules. :-)
Assuming a message gets past my pattern filter, it gets delayed
for a certain amount of time -- that's the downside -- before it
gets released for delivery. The amount of time it is put on hold
depends on a number of factors but typically ranges from five
minutes to half an hour. The system is smart; it learns about
"good" senders and cuts down on the delay time as it figures out
that particular senders aren't spammers.
Before the message gets released for delivery, the mail system
checks all the other messages it has received recently to see if
there are others "like" this one. If it finds too many that are
like it, the message stays on hold until I take a look at it.
Otherwise it is sent off to your real address. Each message that
is delivered gets a header put in, to indicate that it got sent
through the service. Every address has its own code put in the
header, so that the spammers can't just stick on their own header
and pretend it came from my service.
I suppose you're wondering how good it is? Some spam does get
through. About .2% of it. This sort of filter isn't any good at
catching slow spams (until I'm notified of them, anyway) or spams
that only occasionally hit any of my addresses. On the other hand,
this sort of filter gets better with increasing numbers of users.
And I've got ideas for improvement just waiting for implementation.
I'm announcing this now, which is the earliest moment that the
service is stable and functional. That's v1.0 software, folks. :-)
It works; it's filtering for some 16,000 addresses as I speak and,
as I said, the filter itself has been running long enough to get
meaningful statistics. However, if you go to the Web page,
http://www.junkproof.com/, you'll find that there's still a lot
There you'll find the Terms of Service and an on-line registration
form, along with a lot of other stuff. Yes, you can "try before
you buy" -- the first month is free unless you get more than 100
megabytes of mail (after filtering :-) or egregiously violate the
Terms of Service (like trying to use one of my addresses for a
spam dropbox. Heh.)
This mail filtering service has a number of drawbacks. One is the
intentional delay. That's great for catching spam; less so for
prompt communication. One of the features I want to be adding
fairly soon is "filter it but send it right away". Even better
would be "filter it and if it's from people on my special list,
send it right away; otherwise, you can delay it".
Another drawback of the present service is that many people don't
want the spam to go away -- they just want it clearly marked so
they can deal with it in their own way. I'll eventually have an
option for dealing with that.
A final drawback that I'll be dealing with soon is that, as no
filter catches all spam, sometimes it'll catch non-spam. I'll be
offering an option to send a daily or weekly log of spam filtered,
and an option to request sending of a message that got filtered
All of this is well and good for people who are willing to get a
new address or who have the fortune to be able to do conditional
filtering. It isn't useful for folks who are stuck with POP access
and no filtering.
At some point, I plan to offer POP accounts, so people can take
direct advantage of the service without worrying about
interactions with their ISP's mailers.
A suggestion I got was a "proxy POP" account -- basically, a POP
server here that will fetch mail from another POP server, filter
it, and then make it available for POP access here.
I can't do either of the above with my current bandwidth; it would
just be much too slow. (Yeah, I'm on a dialup for the moment. I'd
love to be on the end of a T1 but I need some income first. :-)
I have, however, thought of a way for the service to work for a
POP box, without requiring good interactive response time. The
idea is a POP client that fetches the mail from a POP mailbox and
runs it through the filter, and then returns it via e-mail to the
POP box. (Or other variations, like just deleting spam messages,
or only remailing spam messages.) There are some nice things about
this, like no delays on receiving e-mail. However, it won't work
well (or at all, in some cases) without a cooperative POP server.
And while the POP box is being filtered, the user can't access it.
So, it would require some sort of scheduling so as to minimize
Anyhow, I'm looking for input on this, especially of the form "I'd
use your service except that you do/don't...."; that'll let me
know what things to implement and in which order.