The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

24 March 2003

Block that spam!

Phil Goldman says you get too much spam, which is almost certainly true, and he's going to do something about it, for a small fee.

Goldman's new Mailblocks service incorporates a so-called "Challenge/Response" mode. If you're sending mail to a Mailblocks user and you're not in that user's address book, the mail is not delivered until (1) you receive an auto-generated message from Mailblocks and (2) you reply with the authentication code included in that message. Spammers, of course, don't reply, since they sent out a bogus reply address to begin with and therefore will not receive the authentication code. Once in your recipient's address book, you can send mail with no interruptions.

Mailblocks also permits aliases which will allow computer-generated mail that is wanted — mailing lists, newsletters, e-commerce confirmations and the like — to pass through without challenge.

Undelivered mail is held in "quarantine" for two weeks and then automatically deleted; the recipient can inspect it at any time. Mailblocks supports both POP3 and IMAP, regular email clients or Web-based mail.

This service has only been up and running for a few hours, so I can't tell you how well it works. But for a mere ten bucks a year (twenty-five bucks for four times the storage space), it may be hard to resist.

Posted at 9:13 AM to PEBKAC , Scams and Spams


That sounds like a good service. I'll sign up for it as soon as my money comes in from Nigeria.

Posted by: Ravenwood at 10:14 PM on 24 March 2003

>>This service has only been up and running for a few hours, so I can't tell you how well it works.

I observe that, with great care, neither Mr. Goldman's own e-mail address nor those of his managers and advisers are to be found on any of Mailblocks.com's pages (as of yesterday).

Posted by: Mark Odell at 1:07 AM on 28 March 2003

Hmmm. "Let us have faith in our product, and let us use it proudly — but let us not give an actual opening to those smarmy bastards."

Nice catch.

Posted by: CGHill at 7:21 AM on 28 March 2003