365 days ago I began a little (unsanctioned) experiment with my junk mail folder here at BlueTie. I thought it’d be interesting to go a whole year without ever emptying it. I set my junk mail preference to the least restrictive setting possible (0 out of a possible 10) so I could see how many spam messages (if any) would make it to my inbox. I also wanted to measure how many (if any) legitimate messages would be mistakenly marked as spam (false-positives).
It’s been one year, and BlueTie has successfully filtered over 9600 junk emails from ever hitting my inbox. The bad news? One legitimate email (out of nearly 10,000) was mistakenly flagged as spam and 2-3 junk messages a week still fly under the radar and end up in my inbox. Spammers are constantly devising new ways to sneak past filters. I get that. I can live with 2-3 a week, believe me.
Of course, I’m not your typical user. My email address is very easy for spammers to guess and I have multiple (also easy-to-guess) email addresses pointing to a single account. I’m also a marketing and technology guy, which means I’ve signed up for hundreds and hundreds of fly-by-night Web 2.0 beta applications and marketing newsletters over the past few years. Who knows what these companies did with my private information when they went belly-up. My point is this; I get significantly more spam than the average person.
To give you an idea of how bad this world-wide junk mail problem has become, I was told by our engineers that BlueTie actually blocks 90+% of spam messages before they even enter the BlueTie system to be processed and filtered. These are completely invisible to the end user and never even see the light of day.
The only way for my current inbox to receive less spam is to change my email address and start over, but the cost of ‘switching’ is way too high for me. Too many friends and business associates already know my email address, and my email address is also my username on over a hundred websites I’ve registered with. It would take weeks to switch and it would be a real pain-in-the-the ass, to boot. And how am I supposed to move gigabytes of data and thousands upon thousands of emails into an new inbox? In any case, as soon as I start using a new address, the cycle of spam starts all over again if (read:WHEN) it falls into the wrong hands.
So considering the total cost of switching, I think can live with BlueTie’s 99.9% filtering accuracy. 🙂
Full disclosure and disclaimer: I work for BlueTie, so obviously I am biased; but our junk mail system is doing a remarkable job by any measure. Also, this little experiment of mine was not approved or authorized by BlueTie in any way. These were the results from my email account. Your mileage may vary.
EDIT: The 9600 number shown in the screenshot above is the number of unread spam messages, not the total number of messages in the folder itself, which is higher.