Spam rates may be high, at around 70% of all email traffic, but protecting yourself is easy – at least, in theory. Just install an internet security suite and you’ll probably get a spam filter along with everything else.
The problem? While this sounds convenient, bundled antispam engines aren’t generally very accurate. If you really want your inbox to stay junk-free, then you should try a specialist filter like Cloudmark DesktopOne.
The Windows and Mac program protects a good range of programs and accounts, including Outlook 2010/ 2013 (2011 on the Mac), Windows Mail, Outlook Express, Thunderbird 3+ (17+ on the Mac), Exchange accounts, and any web mail account that supports POP or IMAP.
It’s also available in free and ($19.99/ year) Pro versions. The key differences are that the free build can protect only one account and folder, and isn’t able to automatically whitelist anyone in your address book. But there’s still more than enough power here to be useful.
We installed the program on a Windows 8 system with Outlook 2013 installed. DesktopOne added an icon to the system tray, and we used this to add the email account we wanted to be filtered: our Outlook inbox.
A DesktopOne configuration dialog helped us decide how spam should be treated. By default it’s moved to the Spam folder, but we could have it moved to the Deleted folder, some other location, or (in the Pro version) deleted permanently. It could optionally be marked as “read”, or “low importance”, and we could have DesktopOne purge it permanently after a certain number of days.
With our configuration complete, DesktopOne began to work immediately, stripping out junk just as soon as we next launched Outlook 2013. It made occasional mistakes, but the program can be trained by selecting falsely-flagged messages and clicking “Block”; they’re despatched to the Spam folder and hopefully DesktopOne should recognise any similar emails next time.
Just as with any other spam filter, DesktopOne will also occasionally mark legitimate messages as junk. Pro users can reduce the chance of this by telling the program to trust email from anyone in your address book, and there’s also a separate whitelist of “Approved Senders”: manually add addresses here and their emails will never be filtered.
Once we’d spent a week or two setting the program up to handle our regular emails, though, there was really nothing else to do. Cloudmark DesktopOne typically detected and blocked around 90-95% spam, far better than we’ve seen from any bundled filters. And although it did also raise some false positives, these could be rescued from the spam folder as long as we checked it occasionally. They were only ever commercial mailing lists which we wouldn’t have missed, anyway; personal or genuinely important commercial messages – eBay alerts, say – always got through.
If you’re not happy with your current antispam solution, then, Cloudmark DesktopOne might be able to help. Try the free version, perhaps running it alongside your existing solution, and see what the program can do for you.