A look back on a year with SpamSieve

It’s time to check in on another app I’ve been using for a year, SpamSieve. Like plenty of other people I put SpamSieve to work to help manage email. There is so much junk, so many interruptions. So, over the course of the year, how much spam has SpamSieve kicked to the curb?

SpamSieve and I got off to a rocky start. I had some issues with the initial configuration, but once I got past that, it’s been pretty hands off.

Since installation, junk messages have gone down significantly, with 95% accuracy. Since it’s been a year, I wanted to see just how much junk SpamSieve has kept me from dealing with. Surprisingly, it’s nowhere near as much as I thought. Mail is flagged as junk, but not by SpamSieve.

When I checked the SpamSieve stats, it showed that it had blocked 1800 spam messages. At first glance, 1800 messages seems pretty good. However, that’s 5 messages a day by its own measure.

I get 30 or more spam messages per day going in the Junk folder. What’s going on here? Is SpamSieve working or not? Are the stats skewed?

When SpamSieve flags spam, it color codes the messages and moves it to the junk folder. These colors are degrees of “spaminess,” so you can filter and train SpamSieve. Mail doesn’t use color tagging that way.

When I looked at Junk messages, I noticed only 1 in 5 messages were color coded. That means SpamSieve didn’t process a majority of those spam messages.

Apple Mail is pretty savvy at detecting spam mail on its own. It realizes that offer from Starbucks is junk before SpamSieve has a chance to act.

If Mail is doing most of the work, is SpamSieve necessary?

At the original price point, SpamSieve was a good idea. It was a relatively inexpensive investment. Using it helps control spam and makes training missed messages easy.

However, the stats say SpamSieve isn’t doing that much. It catches the last 10-15% of mail I don’t have rules for. It’s more of a bonus, not a primary player. That’s not worth $40.

There is nothing wrong it, but it’s riding the coat tails of Mail, not leading the way. I thought it was junking mail left and right, turns out that was just as much from using the unsubscribe feature.

I’m not going to uninstall SpamSieve, but I’m not upgrading either. SpamSieve is a decent product at handling spam, but Mail is just as good. For the future, strategic rules would handle just as much as SpamSieve.

When all is said and done, I’ve learned that Mail is good at detecting spam. For the messages it misses, it’s just as easy to create a rule.

In the end, the spam is handled, so I’m happy.

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