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SpamEater offers a number of sophisticated features designed to block all types on incoming junk mail before they ever reach your inbox. The program comes with a wide array of built-in filters and rules that are constantly being updated. You can even set up your own rules and filters through its uncomplicated user interface. The pre-packaged filter types include looking at header fields, country codes, message subjects, scanning the body of messages for known spam and checking blocked senders lists, which you can easily add to.
SpamEater notifies you of incoming messages which are initially tagged as (A)ccepted, (F)lagged for your review or (E)aten. You can review these messages and add them to an approved or blocked senders list before either releasing them to your inbox or leaving them marked as spam. If you forget a message, or decide later that you want to allow a message through, you can open the message archive in the user interface and recover the message or add it to your approved senders list. If you want more automated control over the program you can change the rules to always accept certain messages, flag messages or even delete messages immediately.
To ensure that email from friends and family always get through you can import your address book from your email program and add all of the names to the approved senders list. There are a number of address book formats currently supported such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora and Windows Address Book formats.
In addition to whitelist support and content-based filtering, the real advantage of using SpamEater is its real-time blacklist checking. Messages are reviewed against online databases of know spammers, such as SpamCop.Net and many other blacklist servers. You can also add additional blacklist servers to the list under the filters setting. You can also chose to bounce and email an send an error message back to the sender.
For the most part, there are very little features that are missing in SpamEater Pro that other comparable products offer. For users with multiple email accounts, or users that don’t know all of their email settings, not being able to import all of your existing settings from your email program can take you a while to get SpamEater up and running.
SpamEater Pro works separately from your email client detecting spam before it ever reaches your inbox. Once SpamEater is working you will need to remember not to leave your email program open. Doing so may allow spam to sneak through if your email client and SpamEater are set to check for incoming messages at different times.
Although SpamEater Pro works with a number of different email clients it will not work with MSN or AOL. Your email accounts must use POP3 servers in order for SpamEater to be able to connect to them.
I also noticed that SpamEater doesn’t do automatic updating of its rules and filters. You need to choose Help -> Check for Updates, from the mail toolbar in order to get the latest filters installed.
SpamEater includes the ability to bounce emails and send an error message back to the sender but I’ve always read that spammers can often detect false error messages and that doing this only confirms that the email address is active. There’s also no way to see what the error message is that SpamEater is sending.