The best free spam filter

If you’re sick of spam email cluttering up your Outlook (or Outlook Express) in-box then you are going to love this utility.

It’s a network based spam filtering system that uses the opinions of over two million users worldwide to help classify spam and what’s not.

Like all network based spam filters it requires no training: it’s ready to go the minute you install it.

Each email is checked after it is received. If the email has been classified as spam by a lot of other users on the network then it deleted from your in-box and placed in a spam mail folder.

Watching the spam disappear from your in-box is singularly gratifying; the more so given no user intervention is required.

The user only needs to get involved if any spam is left in the in-box. The user should then select the spam mail items and press the special "Spam" button in the Outlook Toolbar. This will flag to the network that this email is spam and at the same time move the message to the spam mail folder.

It’s very similar in fact to my favorite spam filter, Cloudmark Desktop. It works similarly, has a similar ability to detect genuine spam and shares Cloudmark’s characteristic of virtually never classifying your real mail as spam.

But there’s an important difference; Cloudmark costs $39.95 per year while this product is free for personal use.

It’s called SPAMfighter [1] and is available as a free version and a $29 per user Pro version. The later allows commercial use and includes some additional features, the most important of which is the ability to remove the SPAMfighter ad that is inserted at the end of any email you send. To my eyes the ad is quite unobtrusive but some folks may not like it.

I tested SPAMFIghter’s performance against Cloudmark on a sample of around 1100 emails of which 69% were spam.

Cloudmark detected 94.2% of the spam while SPAMfighter detected 93.9%, an essentially identical result. These are good figures though not class-leading. Much more importantly, the number of real emails falsely classified as spam was zero in each case; an outstanding result.

The whole product is really impressive, the only important downside being the SPAMfighter ad inserted at the end of your outward email.

Every Outlook and Outlook Express user should try this. You will not be disappointed.

Thanks to subscriber Steve Ziltner for the original suggestion.

Free for personal use, Windows ME and later, Outlook Express 5.5 and later or Outlook 2000 and later, 842KB, Microsoft Certified Partner.

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