Does any of this sound familiar? You get so much spam that you have to keep your finger on the delete button whenever you check your email. Then you inevitably erase the one or two important messages that you really needed to see, so you have to sift through all the spam again in your Trash folder to find them.
If you go out of town for a couple of days, your inbox fills up with junk and your important messages start to bounce before you can return to your computer to clean out your inbox and make room.
That was my situation. I have a spam filter at the ISP level, which really does not seem to filter out much. And I tried a couple of other spam filtering solutions, but they delayed my email too much, and I never fully trusted that everything was getting through.
I tried SpamArrest after noticing that a colleague was using it, but my expectations were not terribly high because the other filtering solutions that I had tried just did not work for me.
How Does it Work?
When you sign up for a SpamArrest account, you simply make a few changes to your email program (such as Outlook or Eudora) so that SpamArrest can download your email from your ISP to the Spam Arrest mail server. Then SpamArrest sorts it and filters whatever you do not want. I expected to have a little trouble configuring my email account correctly, but it was no sweat at all. The instructions are very detailed and easy to follow. They definitely cater to the layperson, so there is no jargon. And if you do have trouble, you can get technical support via email.
The basic SpamArrest account allows you to filter up to 5 email accounts. And they have a webmail feature, too, so you can access your mail by logging into your account at the SpamArrest website. It is great if you are traveling and just want to check in.
Once your email accounts are configured, you simply decide whose email you would like to continue to receive. You can preauthorize senders by typing in specific email addresses, by using a special import feature, or by preauthorizing entire domain names.
When someone who is not on your preauthorized list tries to email you, she will receive an email asking her to verify her intent to send you the message. The idea is that a real human being will verify her identity, but a spambot or automated mailing system will not.
One of my favorite parts of the SpamArrest system is that anyone who is on your preauthorized list is never sent a verification email at all. So you can easily set it up such that your friends, relatives, and colleagues never know you are filtering your messages.
Once someone responds to the verification email, she is added to your list of authorized senders. Then her original email (and all subsequent emails she sends you) will get through.
You can always remove people from your list of approved senders, too, so you have total control of whose email gets to your inbox.
If a verification email is not responded to, the email stays in a special “Unverified” folder in your online SpamArrest inbox for a whole week. That way, you can log in and check to see if any important messages were not verified. For example, sometimes I will forget that I signed up for an email newsletter, so I simply authorize the sender by clicking a button on the screen. Then the message, and all subsequent messages from this particular email address, will go right to my inbox and skip the “Unverified” folder altogether.
Right after I opened my SpamArrest account, I checked this Unverified folder every day, but now I find that most of the senders that I want email from are already on the authorized list, so I check in only every few days. It is easy to tell which messages in your Unverified folder are new since your last login, because they stay in bold typeface until you log out.
According to the SpamArrest statistics on my account, a full 63.64 percent of my email to date has been spam. It is such a great relief to know that it never made it to my inbox at all. I save a lot of time each morning, and I enjoy sending and receiving email again.
How Much Does it Cost?
At the time of this writing, SpamArrest subscriptions are $5.95 per month (or you can save by signing up for a year or two at a time: $44.95 for one year and $74.95 for two years.) You can add features for an additional fee, but I have the basic subscription and have never needed anything beyond that.