I Am Joe’s Blog:

April 3, 2007 • 10:14 AM

Fighting Spam, Part 312

Here’s a news flash for you: the spam epidemic hasn’t quite been solved yet. In the years since junk email began to be a problem, all sorts of putative solutions have appeared, ranging from tougher laws to improved server-based tools and the effective, but irritating, challenge-response systems used by an increasing number of ISPs. And yet, the flood continues. For reasons that continue to baffle me, apparently there are enough people in the world clicking those links and buying what the spammers are selling to make it worth their while to continue sending out messages by the billions.

Your last line of defense against spam is your email client—or, if its built-in filter isn’t cutting it, a third-party add-on. I cover the current range of options for Mac users in Spam Filters for your Mac: Six Choices, which was published today at Datamation. Although I covered earlier versions of many of the same programs in Take Control of Spam with Apple Mail, this article provides the most up-to-date information I have. If you use a Mac and find yourself frustrated with the amount of spam in your Inbox, I urge you to check it out.

[Update: In my Datamation article, I made the following statement:

I keep wishing I could get SpamSieve to give me more granular control over how it treats suspected spam. For example, I’d like truly obvious spam to be trashed immediately, and I’d like spam from different accounts to be routed to different junk mailboxes.

As it turns out, both of those things are possible. SpamSieve author Michael Tsai pointed me to the instructions for doing so, though the procedures are not obvious from looking at the SpamSieve UI. The process varies by email client, but this page shows how to get the most obvious spam to go directly to the Trash in Apple Mail, and this one describes the process for creating separate junk mailboxes for each account.]

This might also be a good time to mention my article Stop Today’s Spam in the April issue of Macworld, which focuses not on third-party clients but on working with rules in Mail and Entourage and other helpful tricks.