Tame OS X Mail Spam with SpamSieve

After going through a privacy / paranoia phase concerning the use of Gmail as my primary account, I eventually made the decision to go with a hosted email solution [Dreamhost] that would provide a little more control and peace of mind. Although Gmail does offer POP access, I yearned for the convenience of IMAP. Having access to both email protocols allowed me to access my mail from a mobile handset via IMAP, while continuing where I may have left off via POP on the MacBook.

spamsieve apple os x mail app screenshot

Although I enjoy the flexibility of both IMAP / POP, I found myself questioning the move due to the increasing Spam arriving on a daily basis. Despite Apple’s integrated Spam filter, and my regularly updated filtering rules, the Spam continued to find its way into my safe folders. Rather than tweaking the built-in filtering rules to coexist with Apple’s joke of a Spam filter, I opted for a small Spam filtering utility by the name of SpamSieve.

Embracing the strength of the Bayesian filter [read more], SpamSieve users will see immediate improvements in the way Mail handles Spam [testimonials].

It is important to understand that SpamSieve itself is an application that must continually run in the background while your default email client is running. If you’re not too keen on having the dock icon setting up permanent shop within your dock, check out Dockless which provides a simple GUI for hiding specific application icons.

Integration with your default mail client – Apple Mail, Emailer, Entourage v.X through 11.x (2004), Eudora 5.2 – is a simple one-click install from the SpamSieve menu. By design, SpamSieve was created to replace your existing mail applications Spam filter with its own Bayesian filter. During the initial install, users train begin to train SpamSieve by selecting “safe” messages and marking them as good (Ctrl+CMD+G). Items which should be marked as Spam (Ctrl+CMD+S) will be added to the SpamSieve blocklist for future reference.

To date, SpamSieve has amassed the following statistics concerning Spam mail to four separate email addresses:

  • Filtered Mail: 976 Good Messages, 986 Spam Messages (50%), 32 Spam Messages Per Day
  • SpamSieve Accuracy: 24 False Positives, 23 False Negatives (49%), 97.6% Correct

With continual training, I anticipate a 99% accuracy report. At the moment, emails which I consider Spam that manage to slip through SpamSieve’s filters are messages composed in different languages.

If the performance of your desktop email clients Spam filter is beginning to disappoint, check out the 30 day demo of SpamSieve and decide if the solution fits the bill.

Discuss - 10 Comments

  1. My father uses Spam Seive religiously. I couldn’t deal with another external app open all the time so I’ve been using JunkMatcher, which integrates with Mail.app extremely nicely.

    Unfortunately, there’s no train as ham/spam shortcut keys for some reason.

    It works ok – tho i’m not sure how much more than the built in apple junk catcher it really does…

    Those graphic spam mails suck though…

  2. Derek says:

    Oh SpamSieve catches the image Spam like no other. I’m almost amazed at some of the stuff that lands in the Spam folder which I myself would have clicked on had they landed in the inbox.

  3. Chou! says:

    You bring up some good points on the convenience of IMAP/POP access. How are you accessing the webmail part of the function in case you’re at a public terminal or don’t have your trusty macbook with you?

    I know dreamhost offers squirral mail but the functionality of the squirral mail is extremely limited, and being a designer yourself, you gotta have some issues with the interface of the standard webmail application.

    englighten us on how you’re solving this issue.

  4. Derek says:

    I rely on RoundCube Webmail for accessing my email from a web browser. Squirrel mail is a little too stripped down for my tastes. RoundCube accesses your emails via IMAP.

  5. Ray says:

    I went back to yahoo mail after my email from my host was getting spam 100x a day. I’m probably going to try that SpamSieve soon.

  6. chou! says:

    Great suggestion Derek, looks like I too, can toss away Gmail

  7. Glenn Wolsey says:

    What icon set was been used in the sidebar of Mail?

  8. [...] Getting Bayesian Filed under: OSX — 0ddn1x @ 2007-04-22 16:44:08 +0000 http://5thirtyone.com/archives/543 [...]

  9. philip says:

    I want to remove an incorrect name from my spam list in Yahoo mail. How can I get up that list?
    Thank you.