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Goodbye Postini, Hello SpamHero

With the impending doom of Google’s mail filtering service (the service formerly known as Postini) I have been searching for alternatives. The front runner is SpamHero. My business partner at Clarinet Internet Solutions, Daniel O’Callaghan made the transition easy and came up with an interesting hybrid solution for further enhancing its operation.
The major attraction of SpamHero (www.spamhero.com) is the charging model. Most of the competition charges on a per user basis. SpamHero bases its charges on a per domain (aliased domains don’t get charged extra) per 100,000 messages basis. This makes it easy to add an organisation with a common quarantine trivially by pointing the mx records at SpamHero and SpamHero at your mail server. If you want personal quarantines for a user then there is an additional charge for each additional separate quarantine (email aliases don’t get charged extra either).

One particularly nice feature in the setup was the automatic verification of the MX records. A big green tick can be most comforting when changing your email configuration.

SpamHero uses content filtering and white listing / black listing of e-mail addresses. As a result most mail is handled on a pass through basis. Some marketing e-mail appears to be “deep filtered” and is slightly delayed.

Filtering appears to be quick and acceptably accurate so far.

One thing SpamHero doesn’t do is grey listing. This technique has been very effective in dealing with botnets. It works by keeping track of mail servers that send you e-mail and at first telling them that you are temporarily unavailable. Real mail servers come back later, at which point the mail servers are remembered and the mail is accepted.

Danny at Clarinet Internet Solutions* (http://www.clari.net.au) developed a method for adding grey listing on to SpamHero which both reduces the volume of e-mail going to SpamHero (keeping costs under control) and providing another layer of spam prevention.

In summary, the transition has so far been easy and filtering level OK.




* Clarinet Internet Solutions is both a reseller and an affiliate of SpamHero