SpamAssassin managed to accrue more than twice as many votes as second place, as it took home the top award in the Anti-Spam category at Product of the Year Awards 2005 for Datamation.
SpamAssassin which is an open-source spam filter, easily won over its competitors to be in the final round of the reader-based competition. SpySweeper Enterprise was the runner-up, and other finalists included Cloudmark Immunity, MailMarshal SMTP, and Sophos PureMessage.
Jeremy Howard, CEO of FastMail.FM, said that SpamAssassin doesn’t just save them money, it makes them money. He said that they know from the feedback that they get from their clients that they are upgrading their accounts thanks to SpamAssassin.
SpamAssassin is under the umbrella of parent company Apache, which is a non-profit organization that provides financial and legal support for a long list of open-source projects. It is used by academic, home users and corporate to boot, and it is also integrated into other software, including email servers and appliances.
The winner of the anti-spam category uses techniques including header analysis, content analysis, blakclist checking, and collaborate spam-tracking database, so that spam can be eradicated.
As bulk email spam continues to take coporate inboxes for a ride, software like this is becoming more and more important. MessageLabs reported just last year that spam accounts for nine of of every 10 emails in America alone. Back in 2003, spam made up 55% of all American email, but now it is surpassing the 80% mark.
Industry analysts on the whole agree that spam wastes precious productivity time and serves to distract employees. It also means that IT managers have to use their tight budget to fight spam. Howard, who began to use SpamAssassin a few years ago, says that as an email provider, it’s their job to make sure that the clients are getting the mail they’re expecting, and nothing else. This means that they can’t just block messages that some of the clients will want to get, so the solution is to let clients themselves choose what they want blocked.
Howard says that SpamAssassin gives a data score, which is then used by clients to make decisions about which messages they should keep, and which can be thrown out. He says that clients talk about how their inboxes are now clearer, and the best part is that they don’t have to throw out any messages they were hoping to keep.
Vice-president of SpamAssassin Apache, Daniel Quinlan, says that their product has done really well because it is an all-encompassing solution.
It uses network tests to work out what is spam, and what’s not. This makes it really hard for spammers to work out what they need to change in the email to get past the spam filter. The other plus is that the software is free to download and add to an email server, making it incredibly appealing.