In Valid Logic

Endlessly expanding technology

Introduction to

As with most developers, I always have a couple of little ideas for programs or sites tucked away in case of a rainy day.  One idea I've been slowly working on for a while is to create my own spam filtering gateway.  Recently, I finally gave it a name (and a basic site design).

After reading Dan Hounshell, another Telligenti, and his ongoing series for his pet project, I thought I'd do some posts to my site about my project and little progress updates.

A common problem for most techies is that they get their coveted domain name and email address and keep it forever.  The problem?  Over time, as you give out the email address more and more (and through your less intelligent days of giving it out too freely), you start to collect some major amounts of spam.  As your volume of spam increases, you run into a few serious problems.  First, your regular anti-spam allows a lot of spam messages to slip through as not-spam, causing a build up in your inbox.  And second, you get an ever growing number of false-positives that cause you to have to lighten up on some other rules, causing the first case to grow.

There is a solution though.  There are more advanced spam filtering servers and services, specifically built to offload the processing of spam in a high performance, high assurance way.  Most of the time, these are targeted for business and have a high price tag, or they have good per mailbox rates, but require a 10 mailboxes minimum to sign up.  After shopping around a lot, the cheapest I could find was about $10-15 per month for a whole domain name, which isn't bad, however like a lot of people, it is just me on my domain.  Also, $10-15 is as much (if not more) than you usually pay for web hosting, so it seems like a lot for a fairly basic service.  I feel there is a void to be filled for quality spam filtering for single end-users.

That is where I come in with

<p> is a high quality spam filtering service targeted towards end-users.  These are people who have their own domain names and have them hosted elsewhere, but are plagued by the issue of mediocre spam filtering.  They either use their domain for themselves, or have just a hand-ful of people on the domain.  Since it is targeted at single users, it will be priced right around $30/year for approximately 10k messages per month (a pretty good volume, I think).</p> <p> works as a middle-man in the chain of email delivery.  Typically, you set up your domain, and you create a couple of mail exchange (MX) records that specify where email is to be delivered.  This is usually your webhost's mail servers.  When you sign up for, you change it so that the mail is routed to, it performs the spam checks, and then passes the checked emails onto your normal mail server.</p> <p>Implementing will require the follow components to be in place:</p> <ul> <li>A website (done, mostly) </li><li>A page to allow users to specify a list of email addresses/domains that they will be filtering, as well as display current usage </li><li>A series of small, light weight Windows services to move the messages around to/from the spam filter, and to move it onto its final destination after filtering (in the works)</li></ul> <p> Overall, I think I could get the service up in about 2-3 weeks, though up as in working, not available.  Things like management, payment handling and all will take much longer.  My goal is to have something working in the next month, and maybe shoot for letting the public use it like July.  I'd like to get it to the point where it is fairly hands off to manage, and used enough on my own to ensure stability before general consumption.</p>

Monday, February 26, 2007

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