Spam Prevention for your POP3 world

Recently I started a crusade to find some good anti-spam protection for my POP3 email accounts. Basically, I use my Notes client as a POP3 email client where I download POP3 email into a local (read NOT server based) NSF file. I’ve done this basically for security, and for the fact that I live in the Notes client and Designer quite a bit.

What I found was that there are not a lot of options for this type of thing, at least for Lotus Notes as a standalone client. There are lots of great tools for you if you have a server based NSF file, but when it becomes local, then all bets are off. There are also a lot of POP3 tools that will download all of your email to a local server on your machine and then sort them, but since they are no longer on the server, you don’t have access via a webmail interface. Because I’m out and about a lot, or I’m sometimes using the laptop via WiFi upstairs, I wanted the ability to check mail via the web when I needed to.

I found a company called ActivatorMail which at first seemed promising. Unfortunately, they initially didn’t have a spam folder because they told me that “they had virtually no false positives.” Being an email admin for as long as I have, I KNOW that there will be an occasional false positive in ANY system. I asked for one and they finally obliged. Within the first week I found at least five false positives which is slightly more than “no false positives.” Also, their webmail was fairly sub-par. There was no button to mark something as spam, or rescue something that wasn’t spam. When I asked about those features, I was told they were creating a plug-in for Outlook, but no features were planned for the webmail since that wasn’t supposed to be a primary interface for email. *sigh*

Then it struck me. What I was trying to do was make ActivatorMail into everything that YahooMail already had. I looked into a Yahoo MailPlus account that had everything I was looking for. It even allows me to create throwaway email addresses for one-time web site registrations, has 25MB of space, and can access my other POP3 accounts. So now I forward all of my personal email from my accounts to the Yahoo account, and then download it from Yahoo via POP3. Works like a champ.

In addition, my web host has SpamAssassin running on my POP3 server, so it flags anything it sees as spam with a JUNK tag in the subject line. I’ve set up a filter in Yahoo to delete those on sight. My spam issues are finally going away. Since I’ve been getting upwards of 400 spam messages a day, this is a good thing!