SpamSieve

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C-Command’s SpamSieve 2.6.1 is the gold standard of spam utilities, by which other utilities should be judged. It earns this high regard for a variety of reasons, not least of which are its accuracy and ease of use.

SpamSieve can work with any number of email accounts — whatever is supported by your email software, such as IMAP, Exchange, POP, Hotmail, and AOL. You also get the option to use SpamSieve with multiple email programs at the same time. Overall, SpamSieve is your ultimate approach to having a cleaner inbox without any technical hassles. SpamSieve includes keyboard shortcuts for marking messages as spam or ham—select the message (in Mail or Entourage) and press control-command-S to mark it as spam, and control-command-G to mark. Nov 08, 2020 SpamSieve Alternatives. SpamSieve is described as 'Save time by adding powerful spam filtering to the e-mail client on your Mac. One of the only standalone spam filtering softwares for Mac'. There are more than 10 alternatives to SpamSieve for a variety of platforms, including Windows, Linux, Mac, Microsoft Office Outlook and SaaS.

SpamSieve, which works within a variety of e-mail clients, including Apple Mail ( ), Microsoft Entourage ( ), Qualcomm’s Eudora ( ), Gyaz Square’s GyazMail ( ), Bare Bones Software’s Mailsmith ( ), Mozilla’s Thunderbird, and CTM Development’s PowerMail ( ), requires some configuration to get up and running correctly.

Although the SpamSieve menu includes commands for installing Mail, Entourage, and Eudora plug-ins, you must also configure your e-mail client’s rules so that they can access the AppleScripts that help SpamSieve do its job. SpamSieve’s manual includes easy-to-follow instructions for doing this, though a setup application would be welcome.

Once installed, SpamSieve’s training commands appear either in an AppleScript menu (Entourage) or within a program menu (Mail). When SpamSieve makes a mistake, simply select the incorrectly tagged message and invoke either the Train Good or Train Spam command to correct it. By default, SpamSieve will color-code messages in Mail to indicate their level of spamminess, thus making it easier to identify borderline messages.

Like other spam utilities, SpamSieve uses a variety of techniques for sorting the good mail from bad. It has a blacklist (called a blocklist in the program) as well as a whitelist—mark a message as spam and the sender is sent to the blocklist. Entries in your Mail, Eudora, or Entourage address book are automatically entered in the whitelist, as are the contacts for mail you accept. You can add, subtract, and edit entries in these lists as well as create rules within them.

SpamSieve employs a form of Bayesian filtering and can use the Habeas Safelist. This is a service that requires members to pass a rigorous audit of “best practices” to ensure that their services aren’t used for spamming. Members of the Habeas Safelist can then embed their membership in the headers of e-mail messages they send. SpamSieve looks for this header entry and gives messages that include it favorable treatment.

Unlike other spam utilities I’ve used, SpamSieve lets you train it with groups of selected spam and good e-mail. If you’ve got a few hundred spam and good messages archived in your e-mail client, this helps SpamSieve become acceptably accurate within a matter of minutes rather than the days it can take to train other programs. It also supports both POP and IMAP e-mail accounts.

I like the fact that SpamSieve mostly works within my e-mail client so I rarely need to muck with a separate application or risk losing e-mail in transit between a spam utility and my e-mail software. (To work with the program’s address lists and rules or its corpus—the collection of words the Bayesian filter uses to identify spam—you will need to switch to the SpamSieve application.) SpamSieve is easily trained, and if you want to go beyond the basics and configure your own filters or edit your black- and whitelists, it allows you to do so without a lot of bother. And after just a couple of days of use, it’s nearly transparent to the user.

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Macworld’s buying advice

SpamSieve 2.6.1 should be on the lips of all Mac users serious about ridding their computers of junk mail. It’s affordable, effective, easy to use, and as configurable as just about anyone needs a spam utility to be. While other spam software may filter your mail nearly as well, none performs the job as transparently as SpamSieve.

[ Christopher Breen is a senior editor at Macworld.]

SpamSieve mostly hides in the background, but you can check its work by pulling up its Statistics window.

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  • Review: SpamSieve

    • This topic has 0 replies, 1 voice, and was last updated 1 year ago.
      • I managed to dig out my license code to SpamSieve a while back and take it for a test drive. Here’s my review of SpamSieve.

        How It Works

        SpamSieve is a spam filtering application for Mac that runs at the client-side. Unlike server-side spam filters, SpamSieve works with multiple Mac email clients including macOS Mail, Outlook, etc., and it works with multiple email accounts (including Gmail, Exchange, and IMAP). SpamSieve can adapt over time with a Bayesian filter and has whitelist and blocklist capabilities.

        Setting Up and Using SpamSieve

        SpamSieve takes a few minutes to initially setup and “train”, but once the setup and initial training process is complete, it runs well without much manual intervention unless one needs to mark another email message as spam or good. I personally tested SpamSieve with macOS Mail and Outlook. macOS Mail uses a plugin, a Spam mailbox, and a custom rule for processing spam. Outlook needs a little more configuration with per-account rules and mailboxes, plus AppleScripts for processing SpamSieve’s filtering and the ability to mark messages. It still works effectively with both mail clients, and I may test it with other mail clients as well.

        SpamSieve’s Effectiveness

        Overall SpamSieve has been quite effective. It has done an excellent job capturing most spam mail with only occasionally one slipping by, and only occasionally marking false positives. The more it runs, the more accurate it becomes, and most days it’s spot-on on what it captures as spam versus good.

        Most of my email accounts still have server-side junk filtering as well. My work and school Office 365 accounts have EOP plus my work Office 365 account has a third-party spam filtering service. My personal email account has a solid spam filter as well with server-side blocking. SpamSieve still works well as an additional level of spam filtering across email accounts, so I see myself continuing to use it in conjunction with the server-side spam filtering I’ve been using.

        iPhone/iPad Filtering and Multiple Macs

        I tried running SpamSieve on multiple Macs just to see how it would work, and things can occasionally become messy when multiple email clients are running SpamSieve at once since multiple copies of SpamSieve is trying to filter mail across multiple Macs at the same time. My recommendation for users with multiple Macs is to keep one Mac setup with SpamSieve and the mail client running (I’m using my old iMac to do this) to act as a “spam filtering server”, then simply open the email client on other Macs when one needs to send/receive emails. Occasionally during the processing, I’ll still receive a duplicate email, but it’s a minor issue and not a major ordeal.

        Since SpamSieve does not run on the iPhone or iPad, this method also works for filtering spam on the iPhone and iPad. It’s how I’m filtering spam on my iPhone and iPad.

        Bottom Line

        SpamSieve has long been a popular spam filtering app for Mac. It’s low cost ($30 one-time fee after the free trial), it works with a wealth of popular Mac mail clients and accounts, and offers powerful junk mail filtering that adapts and improves it’s accuracy over time. While I’m glad to still be using server-side junk filtering across my email accounts, SpamSieve is a nice supplement to server-side junk filtering, and another great and useful Mac utility.