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How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

timkil
Newbie
Posts: 7
Registered: 02-09-2007

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

There is a piece of free, reliable, open-source software that is a very effective spam filter that PlusNet could implement at near zero cost at the POP server.

SpamAssassin (see www.spamassassin.org) applies a sophisticated series of tests to the text of inbound mails. If the total score resulting from all the tests passes a threshhold, then the POP server adds a header to the mail that tags it as suspected spam and identifies which spam tests it passed.

Customers can then put in a simple filter into their mail client that puts all the spam in a single mailbox or, if you're ruthless, deletes it outright. Of course customers who don't wnat to use it can simply ignore the new headers; they're invisible in most mailers anyway.

Two observations:

1. The drawback for PlusNet is that running SA puts more load on the server than a standard POP server. But it reduces spam so effectvely that the positive publicity and resulting new customers should more than cover the cost.

2. Individuals can run a client version of the same software, but it's not very user friendly and requires some reconfiguration of the mail client. It's a classic example of something that it's nice to have someone else do for you, and the cost saving to the world of having one person do it for thousands of people is too obvious to ignore.

What do you think? If you're a customer and you think this is a good idea, then please check out the web site and reply.
16 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

Sounds like a good topic for discussion and I agree ISPs like PlusNet need to do more to combat spam. However I don't think a blanket solution is needed. It should be opt in.

Chris

PS try and use a more suitable subject for your topic.
benoh
Grafter
Posts: 272
Registered: 24-08-2007

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

We already offer the option of SPAM filtering on incoming mail...

http://www.plus.net/services/security.html has more info
N/A

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

at an extra £2.50/month

no thanks
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

I agree it should be a free option.

At the end of the day filtering spam is a bonus to the ISP more than it is to the end users.

Maybe a good idea for a poll?

Chris
N/A

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

perhaps plusnet could discuss with us how much it costs them to implement spam filtering
N/A

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

What about the price difference running "spam assasin" compared to +nets present offering.

Also which is the more efficient at blocking the spam. anyone out there using +nets offering, if so is it any good, especially as it costs £2.50 P/M extra. Seems a bit expensive for something that isp's should be fighting againt as a matter of customer protection. (with the opt in/out facility).
Mark_Dowd
Grafter
Posts: 102
Registered: 08-08-2007

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

Define Spam. There is the stuff that is obviously just overhead, but what about the rest?

If I was developing a spam killer (which I am not), or doing research into "nerds on the net" (of which I might be accused, but not for spam) then I might want to see what was attracted to my inbox.

The only equitable way to implement this would be with an opt-out clause.

Mark
N/A

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

I think that the plusnet spam filter is spamassasin and it just prepends the word SPAM into your subject line so you can then setup a mail filter and shunt it into a folder in your mail client.

Personally I use http://www.mailwasher.net/ which lets you see what messages are on the server and delete them before you download them.
N/A

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

Most SPAM filtering approaches don't address the real issue of stopping the SPAM being sent in the first place. I contend also that a lot of SPAM is self inflicted, and I know I've been guilty of attracting SPAM in the past. The real mass-SPAM mailers don't care about the rules and regard bypassing SPAM filters as something of an intellectual challenge.

Imposing an inbound SPAM filter at your ISP level presents a processing load and ongoing maintenance issues. Ergo, this must be translated into cost. This cost has to be passed on. On the basis that this approach doesn't address the core issue the processing load and ongoing maintenance will always be fighting a problem that only ever gets larger.

Personally I'm in favour of outbound SPAM filtering. Responsible ISP's should block this stuff at source. Irresponsible ISP's should be blacklisted, through a series of increasing steps, up to simply ignoring all traffic for persistent offenders. i.e. You need to make it such that it is in the ISP's business/financial interest to ensure they don't host irresponsible SPAM mailers.
Ianwild
Grafter
Posts: 3,835
Registered: 05-04-2007

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

HI Guys,

We have looked at this, and to spam process every one of our customers emails would introduce a requirement for some huge capital expenditure. I am guessing, but I reckon we would be looking at a minimum spend of £250,000 on equipment alone to do this. Something which wouldn't be possible without an increase in subscriptions for everyone.

We do block a lot of outbound spam, and the fact that our own mail servers use tarpitting means that very little gets through them. The main problem comes with customers running their own mis-configured SMTP servers, which short of blocking port 25 for everyone there isn't much we can do about apart from pro-actively search for open relay servers and take action if we find any.

We are always looking for ways to reduce Spam, and work closely with other ISPs to this goal. At the moment though, if you don't want to take up our spam filtering service (Which is very much based on the spam assasin principle) I can only suggest you use software such as Mailwasher and the excellent (imho) Spampal.

With Regards,
Community Veteran
Posts: 5,878
Registered: 04-04-2007

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

Why don't you block port 25 for all customers as default, and only enable it for the customers who NEED to run a server, keep a list of the IPs which are enabled and run regular checks (every 24 hours) on these IPs?

Chris
the_norris
Grafter
Posts: 463
Registered: 02-08-2007

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

I like Chris's (fa55dsl) idea. Could be an option in the members control panel on the portal. "Enable Port 25" this would have amessage attached saying if enable PlusNet will scan this port now and again to test for open relays.
N/A

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

perhaps other ports could be blocked/unblocked in this manner too?
N/A

How PlusNet could make customers happy - do you agree?

Quote
We already offer the option of SPAM filtering on incoming mail...

http://www.plus.net/services/security.html has more info


I dont see why we should have to pay extra for spam protection! Surly it wouldnt be that hard if you already implement tarpitting to just run spam assasin or some thing else for every account. Its porbably more work checking to see if a particular account is on the list of extra services anyway.

As for the expenditure Ian Wild mentions, if you already have this for a select group of customers you already have some of it in place. I'd quite happily wait 20 mins for email to churn through the +net servers if it meant it had been through spam assin and most of my spam was blocked out!

By that i mean that there would be 20 min delay between it being recived by +net and released to my pop3 account. I'm sure that the current equipment could do it a lot faster anyway.