These days, email is probably the most important communication tool for businesses and is quickly becoming as important to home users. If you spend a lot of time online, especially in Internet newsgroups or online discussion forums, your email address has probably been added to the multiple lists that spammers use to send out an endless flood of junk mail, viruses, phishing scams, commercial advertising (often for dubious products), get-rich-quick schemes, and other sorts of unwanted messages.
Finding a way to rid yourself of spam can be a challenge with all of the different products to choose from, all claiming to keep your inbox clean. If you’re looking for a program to help you fight spam, SpamEater Pro does an excellent job of meeting that requirement.
Unlike some anti-spam programs that are integrated into your email client, like Outlook’s junk mail filter, SpamEater pro stops spam before it ever reaches your inbox. When a new message comes in SpamEater connects to your mail server and checks each message against a built-in set of advanced rules and filters as well as a number of public blacklists. After each message is processed SpamEater lets you know that new mail has arrived by playing a sound or displaying a pop-up message. SpamEater’s filters are updated frequently to keep up with the latest tricks and tools that spammers use to try and disguise their unwanted junk mail.
SpamEater Pro doesn’t change the way you use your email, and you can use the default installation settings to start immediately protecting yourself from email threats. Unlike other anti-spam programs I’ve tried, SpamEater Pro deals with spam on the server, before it gets downloaded. In addition, deleted spam is archived so that it can be recovered later in case a legitimate message is accidentally marked as spam. SpamEater removes spam efficiently and painlessly and the best thing is that it works with any email client, not just Outlook and Outlook Express, as is the case with many anti-spam packages.
In testing, I found that SpamEater caught and tagged more than 95 percent of the junk mail coming into my account. And if a message is identified as spam by mistake you can easily add it to your approved sender’s list and release it to your inbox. SpamEater will even give you details on why a message was flagged, such as the body of the text matches a rule that mentioned a particular subject.
Price to Value (5 out of 5)
For $24.95 SpamEater Pro is one of the better anti-spam products available. SpamEater is easy to use and takes very little time to configure. Its ease of installation and effectiveness makes it an excellent choice for blocking spam.
You can also download a 30 day free trial to evaluate the product before deciding if it meets your needs.
SpamEater Pro doesn’t appear to work well with email servers that require an encrypted connection (SSL) or a non-standard port despite the fact that they advertise this feature. There’s also no support for IMAP servers.
Installation & Setup (4 out of 5)
Installation went smoothly and there were no issues installing or running the program on Windows XP or on Windows Vista. During the set up SpamEater launches a Profile Wizard to guide you through the steps of adding an email account that you want SpamEater to monitor. During this process you will need to know the name of your ISP’s POP3 (incoming mail) and SMTP (outgoing mail) servers along with your login name and password for your account. Basically, all the same information you would use if you were setting up an email client such as Outlook or Outlook Express. If you don’t have all of your settings handy you can print out a worksheet during this step or write down all of the information you need before proceeding.
Once installation is complete there is very little configuration needed to get started blocking spam. You can always go back and make changes to the settings afterward.
Because SpamEater connects directly to your mail server you can use it with any email client and you don’t need to take any extra configuration steps after you launch your email program.
Although the installation is very straightforward, the Profile Wizard only allows you to set up one email account during the setup. If you want to add more accounts you’ll need to do that through the Account Profiles section of the user interface after SpamEater has installed. The Profile Wizard also lacks an option to indicate if your mail server requires an encrypted connection (SSL).
The installation wizard doesn’t have the ability to import your email settings from an existing email client like some of its competitors. This can be a drawback if you have multiple email accounts like I do. Configuring all of my accounts to work with SpamEater was a slow process.
Product Features (5 out of 5)
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.
User Interface (5 out of 5)
The user interface can seem a bit confusing at first but once you’ve used it a few times you’ll find that all of the features are easily accessible. There are a number of ways that you can add new rules, sort incoming messages, add senders to blocked lists or create additional features. After a short time I found the user interface very uncomplicated and easy to work with.
I’d like to see the ability to import email settings directly from an existing email client as well as a way in setup to import your address book.
I’ve been trying out a number of different anti-spam programs lately and SpamEater is one of the best I’ve used so far. Its user interface is easy to work with and the ability to check and filter email directly on the server means that your inbox will only see messages that you want to come through. SpamEater comes with a sufficient number of built-in filters and rules to get you up and running quickly, with the ability to add more when you need them. The program found and correctly identified almost 95 percent of the spam I normally receive. If you’re looking to help control the increasing amount of spam that is being sent out, SpamEater pro is a product well worth looking into.
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