GoogleIt Mail IT Print IT PermaLinkThrowing In The Spam-Covered Towel
09:35:27 AM

As many of you know, I've been a speaker at Lotusphere three times on the topic of using Lotus Domino's anti-spam features. I've also been a contributor to two IBM RedBooks that covered that topic. And I've been a big fan of Chris Linfoot's blog, where he has carefully documented the techniques that he uses, and his results do prove the point: that these tools are capable of and sufficient for protecting Lotus Notes users in many organizations from the vast majority of spam.

But I'm done with fighting the fight with a limited arsenal. I've had times when my results were nearly as good as Chris' results; but I have not been able to be quite as aggressive as he is with some of the tools. I just have a small domain, with only six active mailboxes, but too many of the addresses were harvested way too long ago; and on top of that, the RHS domain looks like it should belong to a high school and so it is used by far too many young people for their fake registration address on MySpace and many other web sites. The times when I could keep the spam down to just a few messages per day are long gone. Each time I invest an hour in going through the quarantine and fine-tuning the local blacklist, and whitelist I gain no more than a week of slight reprieve from the onslaught in my inbox, and the other inboxes -- including my wife and kids' inboxes. The spambots are too widespread. Dozens of spam messages get through every day, sometimes many dozens. Getting any more aggressive with the strategy is sure to result in false positives, and if you think that business users are intolerant of false positives, that's nothing compared to family members!

I just don't have the time, patience, or enthusiam any more.

I thought about add-ins and even appliances, but there doens't appear to be a SoHo appliance solution priced down in the range that really qualifies for the "Ho" segment of the market, which is where I am with my domain. (Yo! No snide comments about that, homeys!)

And then there's the bandwidth issue. Despite aggressive use of blacklists, there's too much coming in over the wire. My server is on a home broadband pipe, and I've read recently about the ISP cracking down on bandwidth abusers, and I'm afraid I'm going to be one of them. I could colocate the server somewhere, but I'd have to pay more for colocation monthly than it will cost me to deal with the spam problem.

So, after talking with some friends and colleagues, I've settled on Postini. I just signed the contract and sent it to the reseller. It's just $30/month. It would cost the same if I had 30 mailboxes instead of just 6.

Progress reports will surely follow as I see how well it works.

Chris and others can, I'm sure, continue to be successful with what they do. It just doesn't work for me. I can outsmart spammers, but less often than I used to be able to, and I simply can't out-scale them.

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Comments :v

1. Andy Broyles03/26/2007 11:35:52 AM

I think that you will be very happy with Postini.

They and Baracuda were the two finalists in my fight against spam solution competition a year and a half ago. We would have gone with Postini, but at the time (it may have changed by now) they had fees for each additional domain and we needed to support 10 or so...the Baracuda didn't have that issue and just barely beat on price (fully costed over three years, including bandwidth assumptions)...functionality was nearly identical.

2. Richard Schwartz03/26/2007 12:23:09 PM

Yes, there are fees per domain, which is a shame. Fortunately, although I have a few domains, I have tended to be very consistent about only using for email, so I'm only paying for the one.

3. Bruce Currier03/26/2007 01:33:51 PM

Richard, our company had been using a Mcafee Webshield e250 internally for about 5 years, but it was starting to get overwhelmed, so in Sept 2005 we started using Postini. We have about 225 accounts in our Domino 7-based domain (and since then have bought 2 other companies and added their 75 users and 3 domains as well). We love Postini. I was spending 2-3 hours a day dealing with spam prior to Postini. Since then maybe an hour every couple of weeks. Plus because of out infrastructure (clustered domino servers at different locations with their own internet connection), we were able to set Postini up to failover to the other location if we have a problem with the main server and/or internet connection. Bottom line, no more e-mail outages and happy end-users.

4. Chris Linfoot03/27/2007 09:18:42 AM

For your personal domain, did you not consider Google? That's probably what I'd have done in that situation.

5. Richard Schwartz03/27/2007 10:45:51 AM

@4, Chris: I want to continue to host a Domino server receiving messages via SMTP. Call it stubbornness or habit, I dunno. I'm not aware of Google offering a service that would allow me to use their spam filtering while continuing to do that; though if I'm wrong I'd like to know about it. Also, a bit of "do I really want Google examining all that email?" enters into it.

@3, Bruce: Thanks for that input. We actually still have a second server in my old partner's house, and setting up failover is something we'll probably do.

6. George Chiesa06/08/2007 06:02:16 AM

I'm looking for a solution that I can buy with a flat fee for a domain that has currently less than 10 users, but that has been using many ALIASES for the accounts. I.e. my person record holds around 100 names, all of them aliases and miss-spellings of my name). I do not want to pay for email address per-se, just for the 10 users who happen to have many names. Anybody know a reseller of postini who can handle this IN THE USA (my server is in the USA). Thanx

7. Richard Schwartz06/08/2007 07:10:29 AM

@George: Postini supports many aliases per mailbox. I don't have a 100 names, but I had dozens and I didn't run into any limits in the configuration.

8. George Chiesa06/08/2007 08:50:26 AM

Anybody can recommend a US reseller ? Too many in google results, I'd rather understand from one of you if you can recommend whoever you buy from (since my server is in the US I can also buy in the US). HUGE THANX

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