Review – Spam Arrest

As a Web professional you probably receive serious amounts of unwanted email in your inbox every day. Especially if you have been using the same email address for a long period — the number of spam messages you have to wade through can get really annoying.

Fight it!

Here’s what I, like many others, have done so far to fight spam:

  1. Sign up for a free email account like Hotmail or Yahoo! and use that address when asked for your email address on a Website. Don’t forget to log in every now and then to delete all the emails and to keep your account alive.
  2. Download and run Mailwasher to fight unwanted emails.

Having a Hotmail or Yahoo! account on the side reduces the amount of unwanted email — but it’s not enough.

Although Mailwasher is a great tool (you can simulate email bounces!) you still have to check your email yourself and add spammers to your blacklist manually. Also, spammers are always getting smarter, and now often use a recipient’s email address as the sender as well. This means you can’t reply or simulate a bounce.

Enter: Spam Arrest

I first came across Spam Arrest after I sent a message to someone using a form on his Website. After I hit the submit button, I found a new message in my inbox that read:

"I’m protecting myself from receiving junk mail.

Just this once, click the link below so I can receive your emails. You won’t have to do this again."

I clicked the link and ended up at Spam Arrest.

How does it work?

Spam Arrest acts as an email server that verifies all incoming mail before it lands in your inbox.

Here’s what happens, step by step:

  1. Someone sends you an email that arrives at your mail server.
  2. Spam Arrest connects to your mail server and downloads the message.
  3. If the sender is on your "authorized senders" list, the message will end up in your inbox next time you hit send/receive in your email client.
  4. If the sender is not on your "authorized senders" list, Spam Arrest will send out on your behalf a message like the one above that asks the sender to click on a link included in the message.
  5. After they click the link, the sender is directed to a page in the Spam Arrest domain. This page automatically generates a word and asks the sender to enter it into a form and submit it. The sender is now verified and added to your "authorized senders" list. Next time he sends you and email it will be directly sent to your inbox.
  6. Your email client connects to the Spam Arrest server and downloads the email waiting for you.

As almost all unwanted email is sent automatically, and the verification process described above needs to be completed manually, the spam will never reach your inbox.

Mailing lists and newsletters

Unlike other Spam filters, Spam Arrest doesn’t block newsletters and other subscription-based emails. The only thing you’ll have to do is add them to your "authorized senders" list by entering the "to" address that’s used by the sender.

Signing up

Spam arrest offers a 30 day free trial period. During the sign up process you’ll need to provide your email address, mail server, username and login. After you complete the process, you’ll need to change the settings for your incoming mail server to the ones provided by Spam Alert.

After you’ve successfully changed the mail server settings in your email client, you’re ready to use Spam Arrest.

Pricing

Spam Arrest is not freeware. You can sign up for the free trial, but after that you’ll have to pay to keep using it.

Spam Arrest costs:

  • $ 19.95 for 6 months
  • $ 34.95 for 1 year
  • $ 54.95 for 2 years
Spam Arrest At A Glance

Pros

  • No software to install
  • You don’t need to scan through your waiting email to filter spam
  • Provides the option to manually add senders to your "authorized senders" list
  • Provides the option to manually add senders to your "blocked senders" list

Cons

  • Connecting to Spam Arrest takes considerably more time than does connecting to your pop server directly
  • There are privacy and security issues: you have to enter your pop-server and our username and password for Spam Arrest to work
  • If you’re behind a firewall, Spam Arrest will let you know that the settings of your email client are not correct

Overall Impression

Spam Arrest seems a simple yet effective solution to fight unwanted email. Personally I know that the time it takes to connect to the Spam Arrest server will eventually start to bug me — and in the end this will probably stop me from using it.

The only question I still have is this: what would happen if the sender and receiver are both using this tool and are not yet verified. Does this cause a loop of verification messages?

Ranking: 4/5
Price: $ 19.95 for 6 months, $ 34.95 for 1 year or $ 54.95 for 2 years.
For more information: http://www.SpamArrest.com/

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