SpamSieve is the best spam filter for the Mac. It’s incredibly accurate yet invisible. I have been using it for almost three years now and its statistics show that over that time it was 99% accurate. SpamSieve is so invisible and maintenance free that I’ve just about forgotten about it — despite the fact that my email has been widely posted on the web for 10 years. I don’t have to open the app; it somehow sits quietly behind most email programs. My wife, who has a Mac at work, was complaining about her spam load, and I realized, “oh my gosh, you mean you don’t know about SpamSieve?”

I’ve used some good spam filters before but they didn’t learn fast enough, or needed too much attention to keep on top of their game. Like many of the best spam filters SpamSieve uses Bayesian tricks to learn from your in-box what kind of mail you approve of and what you hate. I needed only a few minutes fiddling to get it up and running, and thereafter, I merely delete the occasional stray spam with a keystroke that simultaneously scolds SpamSieve about its correct nature and sends it to the dump. Then about twice a month I go through my Junk Mail box and pluck out two or three “goods” that got through with a single keystroke that again admonishes SpanSieve of their proper state. That’s it! SpamSieve also knows my friends from my address book, and it can be told about specific address or domains in hundreds of direct ways if you care to, but mostly I simply do nothing. For all that nothing I get a squeaky clean in box with a rare spam intruder.

I think the 99% batting average of my SpamSieve would be 1% better if it weren’t for two factors: 1) Because of product reviews my mail is more spamish than most, and 2) in the last 6 months spammers started sending image spam (the text is a picture) which as taken SpamSieve a while to figure out. Without that temporary lapse, I think SpamSieve would filter out 100% of the correct spam. As it is I can happily live with it removing 99+%.

I am sure there must be an equivalent for Windows, but this is the one to cure spam on the Mac.

– KK

$30 (30 day free demo)
Available from C-Command

For a SpamSieve-like program for Windows, I’ve been using SpamBayes (with Outlook on Windows XP) for the last three years. It’s brilliant enough that I’ve never bothered to get an update for it. It sounds like it works just like SpamSieve. I look through the junk folder every month or so for things that have been misfiled – often two or three corporate mailing list things will wind up there. I press a “Recover from Spam” button and SpamBayes moves it to my Inbox. Likewise, for the very rare spam that gets through to my Inbox, I just click a button “Delete as Spam” that teaches the add-in about something new. It’s free and it works great, easily 99.5%+ accurate.

– Colin Robertson