Firm claims e-mail spam success

April 29, 2004

BBC News

A fledgling Swansea company claims to have made a breakthrough in the fight against spam e-mail.

NetBop Technologies says its new filter has so far proved effective in stopping 99.5% of junk messages.

Founder Andrew Downie, a graduate of the city’s university, says his BopSpam filter operates differently to many of the competitors on the market.

It works at the server end of the chain by intercepting e-mails before they are downloaded.

It also studies a user’s e-mail history to work out the probability of a message being spam.

Users are regularly updated on e-mails that have been caught before they reach their inbox in case there are any they want to see.

Spam is a problem for everyone with an e-mail account.

Spammers tend to send huge amounts of e-mail in the hope that a few of the messages will get through to working accounts or simply tempt people to respond.

BopSpam, which was launched in February, has won praise from computer magazines and fans on internet chat rooms.

Mr Downie established NetBop Technologies while still an undergraduate studying mechanical engineering, but it has become a full-time job since he graduated last summer.

He has had help from the Welsh Development Agency’s Graduating to Enterprise scheme and the university.

When I was in school I always had a keen interest in computers but at the time wanted to do engineering,” he explained.

When I was at university I decided I wanted to develop web applications and started building something up before I finished.

BopSpam had been on mind for quite a while because I had been receiving a lot of junk e-mails.

There has been a lot of interest since it was launched and there are a lot of people on the free trial at the moment.

People have a tolerance to receiver 10 to 15 spam emails a day but some people are having hundreds and that’s not manageable.

There are free applications that you can use but they are nowhere near as efficient.

Mr Downie is hoping his company will expand to new premises on the university’s campus and he also plans to recruit graduates in the summer.

The plan is to follow two routes – web development and applications,” he added.

I want to make three to four applications a year and have just started work on a hotel booking system.