Why I'm mostly out of the email (anti-)spam game

July 20, 2008

I was once fairly interested in and involved in anti-spam stuff; I spent a bunch of time on anti-spam precautions here, followed news sources, and so on. These days, I find myself much less involved, and although I still care about various spam issues, I don't spend very much time involved with the whole field.

What happened is simple: somewhat to my surprise, the spam problem here was pretty much solved when we deployed a commercial anti-spam solution in combination with greylisting and zen.spamhaus.org. It's not perfect, but the amount of spam that got through to me has dropped to almost nothing with almost no effort on my part once we had everything set up.

(One great advantage of commercial solutions is that someone else worries about keeping them up to date. I suspect that the commercial solution is spending far more man-hours than I ever did on this, because this is their speciality and because they can amortize the time over a lot of customers.)

There's still anti-spam improvements I could make to our mail system and I'm still interested in the whole field, but the urgency has gone way down and with it, the amount of time I spend on anti-spam stuff. When the problem seems at least 95% solved, it is hard to carve out the time and motivation to work away at the remaining 5% (especially when there is lots of other work to do).

(I admit that my view is influenced by local attitudes. And I do admit that it feels peculiar and somewhat alarming to delegate something as important as our anti-spam filtering to an outside party, however well it's worked out so far.)

Written on 20 July 2008.
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Last modified: Sun Jul 20 00:17:52 2008
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