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Knock, Knock!

Knock, Knock!
by Gary Woods

It seems that whenever I open my email spam is at the door. Spam filters can do a lot but it can be difficult to figure out what's spam and what isn't. The two main systems are called "White Hat" and, you guessed it "Black Hat." "White Hat" has a list of only the people that can get through your spam filter. The problem with this is if you don't know them they don't get through. In sales this could be an expensive way to go. On the other hand "Black Hat" excludes known spammers.

One system I found interesting is Cloudmark Desktop 5.3.3 for Microsoft Outlook. This is a community based system meaning that whenever any user that is a Cloudmark subscriber marks a piece of email as junk the fingerprint of that email goes into a database. If enough subscriber members mark the email as spam the program blocks it for all other members. The more your ratings match those of the community, the higher your trust level rises and the more weight your ratings have on what is spam and what is not.

By using this community based system of filtering unique messages from individuals should never be screened out and valid newsletters will be blocked only if members mistakenly mark them as spam. Cloudmark Desktop is almost completely transparent and doesn't impede the downloading of email. The only downside is its kind of expensive costing $39.95 per year (

If you have any suggestions or questions for me please drop me a note at or see my column on the Internet at or call me at (805) 729-0910

Gary Woods is the Computer Trainer for the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors. And he is a Broker/Associate at Home Realty & Investments, Inc