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JimC Jan 3, 2004 7:58 PM

O/T - Spam Subject titles getting creative...
I get so much Spam it's sickening.

What's interesting, is the subject lines. For example: I just received one that was obviously Spam, titled:

"Your ordered medication depreciated beef"

Of course, I didn't order any medication, but it sure was tempting to see what was being offered (given the recent finding of mad cows disease in the U.S.). That was the idea behind the subject title, I'm sure (to get you interested enough to at least open it, so that they could verify the e-mail address was valid).

Yes, I know I can install mailwasher, etc., but I hate to use even more software (I'm already running AVG Antivirus, Spybot S&D, and Zone Alarm to try and keep the nastier stuff down). I also don't want a filter accidently getting rid of stuff I may want to see. So, it's a dillema.

Sometimes, it does get hard deciding what's spam, and what's not (I get lots of e-mails from forum posts, etc.).

Yes -- I realize I should use more than one e-mail account (one for online forum use; another for personal use, etc.). Yet, it's WAY too late now.

Anybody else getting as sick of this as me (and wondering the best way to deal with it)?

ohenry Jan 3, 2004 8:08 PM

Since installing "I Hate Spam" for Outlook or Outlook Express, I don't get 1/10 of the spam that I used to get. Well, I get it, but the filter catches 95% of it and puts it in another folder that I can check or ignore as I feel.

Richard Howes Jan 4, 2004 12:00 PM

I have been running the SpamBayes plug-in for Microsoft Outlook for a week now and it is already correctly identifying 98% of the spam (50 to 100 a day) and dumping it directly into a Junk Mail folder. I have not lost any wanted emails. SpamBayes works as well as any other local, trainable spam filter and it is FREEWARE - a big advantage as far as I am concerned.

JimC Jan 4, 2004 1:06 PM

Thanks for the suggestions guys. I'm still looking at solutions.

The SpamBayes plugin looks like it's a very good solution, with a MUCH lower level of false positives compared to "I hate Spam" for Outlook Express (based on the reviews of these products I've found so far).

However, I'm running Outlook Express, and the Spaybayes plugin won't work with it (only works with the full Outlook).

My ISP ( does seem to have a new feature (probably a Bayesian based system) with their browser based mail system to report spam, but I like to use Outlook Express to have my mail on my local hard disk.

So, I'm still looking around (reading reviews, etc.). Heck, I'm even considering going to a different mail client, since Eudora now has a built in Bayesian based Spam Filter.

Although, I will save this as a last resort. I have multiple e-mail accounts setup in Outlook Express (it seems to handle switching between e-mail id's faster and easier than the full Outlook), and don't want to change mail clients unless absolutely necessary.

False Positives are something I want to keep to a minimum, and the tests at PC World showed false positives to be as high as 45% with the Outlook Express Version of "I hate spam" after training (higher than any other product they tested).

I'll keep looking -- more suggestions are welcome.

ohenry Jan 4, 2004 1:42 PM

Jim, just a comment on I Hate Spam. My wife uses it on Outlook Express and I use it on Outlook. I can tell you that the false positive is <5% on both of our machines. I don't know where they got that 45% number. Maybe that's an old review of an earlier version. Anyway, they do have a free trial version to check it out. One thing that I like about it is that I can always see what it has quaratined, read it if I wish, delete, or inform IHS that it's not spam and send it back to my email. On the downside, it's not freeware and requires purchase (although to me, it was $$ well spent). One of the things that I don't like about the web-based filters is they bump them and you never see them, so their false positives are lost email. I know one filter that automatically bounced anything from my ISP because my ISP also had some known spammers that used it. Rather than attacking the spammers, the filter attacked everyone that used that ISP. Not exactly good policy in my book. (I have since fixed that problem by addressing the issue with my ISP).

Short of getting a new email address and being more careful in the future, those darn spammers will continue to annoy the h### out of us --- Congressional bills or not! I'm on the National Do Not Call list and they still call. SIGH

JimC Jan 4, 2004 2:00 PM

This is the review comparison I was looking at regarding false positives:,pg,4,00.asp

According to them, the Outlook Version was a "Best Buy" (but still had a pretty high level of false positives), but the Outlook Express Version was nowhere near as good (45% false positives in their tests).

They were looking at Version 3.2

I guess the amount of false positives depends on what kind of mail you are getting, too.

I get lots of newsletters, etc., that I want to keep getting, so with my type of mail, I suspect that false positives would be much higher than most peoples.

From my perspective, if I have to sort through a quarantined box to see which mail is legitimate, this sort of defeats the purpose of having a spam filter to begin with.

I may download a few and try 'em to see which one works best for my mail.

My short list now includes Spam Bully (a newcomer that appears to be much more sophisticated than most) and McAfee Spamkiller V4 (which seems to have the lowest level of false positives, according the PC World Tests, with some other reviews recommending it as best for Outlook Express users).

Here's the Spam Bully page (but I haven't found any comprehensive reviews of it):

I'm still looking around at others, and may end up trying several to decide.

koruvs Jan 4, 2004 3:31 PM

Hi Jim,

Here is a good site for Spam issues:


JimC Jan 4, 2004 4:39 PM

Well -- I downloaded and installed Spam Bully version 2.0 beta, but I'm not impressed so far.

I had about 3000 e-mails in one of my accounts in box that I tried it on (after training it on a few hundred of them).

When I scanned the box, it considered most of my Account Statements (Credit Cards, Mobile Phones), Newsletters, etc., as Spam. But, it left much of the "Viagra, weight loss, etc." type junk mail in the in box.

It also slowed my PC down considerably upon loading Outlook Express (now takes 4 or 5 times as long to load).

Oh well... It's coming off.

I'll try a different one.

I did some more research, and it looks like there is a version of SpamBayes that doesn't integrate with Outlook Express, but can sit between your mail server and e-mail client (requires Python install, which may slow my PC down).

I'll give it a try next.

JimC Jan 4, 2004 8:59 PM


Originally Posted by Richard Howes
I have been running the SpamBayes plug-in for Microsoft Outlook for a week now and it is already correctly identifying 98% of the spam (50 to 100 a day) and dumping it directly into a Junk Mail folder. I have not lost any wanted emails. SpamBayes works as well as any other local, trainable spam filter and it is FREEWARE - a big advantage as far as I am concerned.


I didn't look at the info on this product closely enough. Apparently, there is a stand alone version that will work with any e-mail client (including Outlook Express) - -by installing it as a Proxy Server on top of Python -- intercepting the e-mail before it gets to Outlook Express.

The plug in version only works with the full Outlook.

This project does look very interesting. So, I may give it a try next.

The initial work done by Paul Graham on the Bayesian based algorithms looks promising (this is what everyone seems to be copying).

From reading through the reviews and info on Spambayes, it looks like the Spambayes development team has been working to improve it --- with a high level of accuracy, and low false positives.

Thanks for the tip!

eric s Jan 4, 2004 9:50 PM

I was a very happy mailwasher user for a long time. Imagine having a name as common as mine at a publicly held company. I would regularly see 30-40 a day waiting when I came into work.

The only reason I stopped using mail washer is that the company finally installed a spam filter into the mail server. Now I don't get any spam, so it works out.

I would recommend mailwasher. Yes, you have to train it, but it is easy to use and learns well.


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