BopSpam – Website’s of the Day’s current anti-spam service of choice

February 20, 2006

Miles Mendoza’s Website of the Day

I’ve recently been trying a newish anti-Spam service at home, and after a couple of months of use, I’m happy to give BopSpam a hearty recommendation.

While I’ve not been spam-free at home for several years, I had found that previously the problem was easily manageable using a free product like Mailwasher to identify and delete Spam emails before I downloaded them.

However towards the end of last year I noticed a dramatic increase in the number of spam messages sent to my home email address, which meant it was no longer practical for me to use a product which requires extensive intervention from me.

At work we have a pretty efficient spam filter which automatically removes spam messages before they reach my inbox, so I was hoping to find a similar product to use at home. I’d noticed some pretty glowing reviews of BopSpam in the webby magazines, so I thought that would be the one to try.

Bopspam is a completely web-based service (so there’s no need to install any software). It works alongside your existing Internet Service Provider (Wanadoo, Tiscali, Virgin etc) to filter your emails before they reach your inbox.

The service is preconfigured to identify (and remove) email from many known spammers. But for best results, you’ll need to take a week or two to train your account to recognise which messages you consider legitimate and which ones are spam. This is the key to the product’s success rate. A weekly email newsletter from your local health authority might be essential reading to you, but your neighbour might consider the same message to be junk mail.

BopSpam relies on a custom-built database of which messages you have marked as legitimate and which ones you have identified as spam. The more messages you “tag” the greater the chance of BopSpam automatically removing unwanted mail in future.

They boast that the product removes over 99% of spam from your inbox. Initially I found that it fell well short of that target, barely reaching 50% in the first week of use (in spite of my devoting 10-20 minutes a day “training” the service). I contacted Bopspam’s technical support and received a very quick and very comprehensive response. One small tweak of settings later and the service improved dramatically. After 3 months of use, BopSpam is successfully removing 95% of all the spam I receive, and now requires minimum manual intervention.

In summary this product repays a bit of time spent setting it up. If you’re not prepared to take some time training it to recognise which messages you regard as spam, it won’t do its job properly. But for those who don’t mind putting in a bit of time upfront, it’s a very effective tool that’s well worth a look.

Bopspam offer a free no-strings 30 day trial to all new users. After that you’ll pay between £30 and £50 a year dependant on the volume of mail you receive. Not cheap for home users then, but certainly worth considering if it saves you enough time and hassle in the long term.

I’m going to try some rival services over the coming months in order to see how BopSpam stacks up against its competitors for price and performance. Watch this space!