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Idea on Spam Reduction

This is an idea that just occurred to me on dealing with Spam from a large email provider, such as Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Hotmail. Back in 2005, I had written a post on how effective Gmail had become on spam and how they could use that understanding to offer an attractive option to domain owners to have mail on their domain (which as we know now is a Google offering).

Currently, Google’s Gmail is ideally positioned to benefit from a largely ignored market of e-mail outsourcing. To that effect, the implementation of effective spamming tools, together with Gmail’s clean and organized web-format would benefit many individuals. More importantly it would benefit businesses, both large and small, for which Gmail could handle all of their e-mail traffic, hosting and storage needs.
The question then becomes how to extract the maximum value out of move to significantly reduce spam? To maintain Gmail’s current business model and improve their companies image Google should still maintain their free individual email accounts. However, to address the business communities’ needs for an efficient anti-spamming email service, Google could offer a subscription email solution.
Technically this would involve Google setting up private label paid accounts where companies and individuals could set Google as their mail server and view their e-mails in a Gmail’s online interface or through the clients PC based email programs; such as, Eudora and Outlook. (read more)

Despite advancement in this field, spam reaching our Inbox is still much higher than desired. Following on that note, I believe that an effective spam blocking tool could actually be your users. In a large enough pool, employing your users in a style similar to Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, spam filtering could actually make your spam machine more precise in reducing spam. Here’s how I envision it:

  • Identify the spam reporting activity of your user base
  • Separate the x% of most active spam reporters within your user base
  • Analyze your active spam reporting group’s precision in actually reporting general spam, rather than personal specific mail which they report as spam incorrectly and filter out those who use the spam reporting tool incorrectly.
  • Now you should have a clean spam reporting pool (SRP) of users at a 9x% confidence level
  • Plug in those users who you identify from the SRP to be online, into your spam filter engine so that emails with a high spam score that are not high enough to be discarded in the automated process are first sent out to your online users in the SRP.
  • You should then receive a percentage response of Spam from these users that would tip over that email message into the Spam pool, before it is sent out to the general population.

This method can be most effective from a large user pool like that of Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo Mail, because many Spam efforts are directed to the email provider domain (gmail.com, hotmail.com). Gmail is in an even more advantageous position, given their management of Gmail for your domain, which could serve as an extra window on spammers focusing in a more heterogeneous domain attack.

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