A look back on a year with SpamSieve

Last year the spam and garbage email was completely out of control. A new message for me to delete was coming in every couple of minutes. It was so much junk, so many interruptions. In came SpamSieve to solve all my problems, right? 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 issues with the initial configuration where it didn’t detect anything. Once I got past that, it’s been pretty hands off.

Since installation, junk messages went down significantly, with 95% accuracy. So, how much junk SpamSieve has kept me from dealing with. Surprisingly, it’s nowhere near as much as I thought. Mail gets flagged as junk, but not by SpamSieve.

If we go back a year, I also went through a massive “unsubscribe” phase. I took myself off every mailing list except for two or three. That alone cut down on a huge amount of mail I didn’t need.

That left SpamSieve to handle the rest.

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 my mail.

Apple Mail is pretty savvy at detecting spam mail on its own. It realizes those 5 offers from Starbucks are junk before SpamSieve has a chance to act. 

Junk mail is getting flagged, but Mail is doing most of the work. Is SpamSieve necessary?

In my case, not really.

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 is barely working. It catches the last 10% of mail I don’t have rules for. It’s more of a bonus, not a primary player, that’s not worth $40.

Admittedly, there’s nothing wrong it, but it’s riding the coat tails of Mail, not leading the way. I thought it was flagging all the messages. Turns out the drop in spam was unsubscribing, Mail, then SpamSieve.

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

When all is said and done, SpamSieve was a decent investment at $20, it’s a waste at $40.

Apple Mail is good at detecting spam. For the messages it misses, I’ll create a rule.

If you want to cut down on spam, take yourself off all those mailing lists, then add some rules to handle the remaining junk. If you’re still getting spammed, then look into SpamSieve.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
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