A little over a year ago I was faced with a spam filtering problem, but it's not what you might expect.
I had been using the paid Postini service for filtering spam sent through my domain, when Google acquired Postini and, once acquired, killed it off and forced users to transition to their Google Apps platform. I found the Google Apps interface to be clunky and, worse, my users found it difficult to use. In addition, I had no interest in sending all the mail for my private domain through Google's servers. Suddenly the bang I was getting for my Postini buck had lost its pop, so I went looking for an another solution.
There are plenty of apps you can install on your Mac to filter spam, but, as is the case with virus scanning on PCs, most desktop software solutions are playing a game of catchup that requires training time and constant updates, which is why I was looking for a web-based solution.
There are also numerous web-based options for spam filtering, but they tend to be aimed at and priced for corporate customers. For example, a year's worth of McAfee's SaaS mail filtering is about $14 per user, Google Apps costs about $25 per user per year, and most any other service you'll find will run somewhere in that range. So, imagine my somewhat cynical surprise when I came across a solution that was free: MX Guarddog.
Oh, I see the way you're looking at me... because that's exactly how I was looking at myself. For several days. Wondering what the catch was.
Funny thing is... there was no catch. MX Guarddog is great spam filtering that you can get for free simply by putting a link to MX Guarddog on your homepage. (There's no time here to explain the "whys" of free MX Guarddog, but if you're interested, check out Who is MX Guarddog to learn why they made it free.) And, if you don't like the idea of linking to MX Guarddog's homepage, you can pay 25 cents per user per month.
The setup for MX Guarddog is easy, but it's important to note that in order to use the service you must have email that is hosted using your own domain. No Gmail. No AOL. No Yahoo. No other addresses hosted on those types of public domains.
The addresses being filtered must be something like: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here's how to set the service up:
- Go to MX Guarddog.com and click the Register link.
- Provide your name, email address, and the domain you want to protect. (It's best here to provide a mail administrator address and contact info.)
- Look for MX Guarddog's activation email and click the activation link.
- Login using the account information provided in the Postmaster email you receive after activation.
- Add a link to your website.
- Add the email address you want protected by MX Guarddog.
- Provide MX Guarddog information about your email servers.
- Update your MX records to direct your email through MX Guarddog's servers.
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