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Spam IT

Human-Powered Spam Filtering 343

Posted by Hemos
from the interesting-concept dept.
arturs writes "A company called eProvisia started an unusal business: they filter out spam not by using complicated algorithms, but human beings... It costs around $20/year - is the war against spam over?" It's an interesting idea - the privacy concerns are big of course, but how would this stack up to, say SpamAssassin or a suite like Barracuda's Spam firewall. We tested the Barracuda device - great integration of OSS software, with a nice interface. Update: 09/20 15:12 GMT by J : Corrected price of Spam Eradicator.
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Human-Powered Spam Filtering

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  • by Lord Grey (463613) * on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:05AM (#10297591)
    From the company's "About Our Company [dione.cc]" page:
    Privately funded in 1993, now with customers in 40 countries* and over $67 million** in cash reserves, the company experienced a phenomenal growth and continues to aggressively pursue new frontiers in order to meet or exceed the needs of most demanding customers by providing a scalable, seamless, comprehensive offering.

    Leveraging our paradigm-shifting product line with state of the art technology developed by a dedicated team of professionals, we offer a significant competitive advantage on the diversified but fragmented market of best of breed anti-spam solutions.

    These people score a 9.8 out of 10 in the Buzzword Bingo game. That second paragraph, in particular, would keep me as far away from them as possible.
    • Re:Buzzword Bingo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by JaffaKREE (766802) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:09AM (#10297650)
      Modded funny, but I agree 100%. Who writes these things ?? Do they start with a list of 20 words (Paradigm, leverage, diversify) and have their managers tell them those words MUST be included ?? Yeesh !
      • At least there are actual contexts in which the words "paradigm," "leverage," and "diversify" can be used with a straight face (although, rarely the SAME context!). However, there is no excuse for such nauseating idioms as "best of breed," "state of the art," or "paradigm-shifting."

        Best of breed especially makes my stomach turn. The images it conjures are a mix of evily grinning eugeneticists and the stinky poop smell of a dog show.
        • Well, if a state had the advancement of art as first goal in its constitution, it could rightfully considered a state of the art, couldn't it?
        • Re:Buzzword Bingo (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drinkypoo (153816)
          State of the art is a perfectly legitimate tool which is nonetheless nearly never used appropriately. People are always trying to claim that their tool that puts together a couple old concepts in a new way is state of the art. Unless you're doing something that's never been done before, that is nonetheless widely recognized as probably being the best way to do it (or will soon come to be recognized as such) you're not state of the anything.
      • Re:Buzzword Bingo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Andrewkov (140579) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:21PM (#10298951)
        You *are* aware that this site is a hoax, aren't you?

        I just wonder if Hemos knew that when he posted it...

    • Re:Buzzword Bingo (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Nos. (179609)
      No kidding, that second paragraph (well, actually sentence) has high buzz word content yet actually only says, we do anti-spam. I have a feeling marketing and technical don't agree on much at this company.
    • by AndroidCat (229562) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:10AM (#10297663) Homepage
      Ah man, I just needed "synchronicity" or "win-win situation" to fill my card!
    • I'm especially attracted to their "paradigm-shifting product line". I'd love to see them shift the boring present indicative "amo, amas, amat, amamus, amatis, amant" to the more self-actualizing future perfect "amavero, amaveris, amaverit," etc.
    • Re:Buzzword Bingo (Score:3, Interesting)

      by garcia (6573) *
      That second paragraph, in particular, would keep me as far away from them as possible.

      And yet those are exactly the words that HR departments are looking for on resumes. As long as you can use stupid words that really don't work in any other situation you can get your foot in the door.
    • by The-Bus (138060) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:13AM (#10297693)
      Damn it, I almost had a double diagonal if they had said "enterprise" and "legacy" --- drat!.
    • . ** - Palmyra Atoll dollars.

    • Re:Buzzword Bingo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gl4ss (559668) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:17AM (#10297729) Homepage Journal
      yeah and would like a bunch of buzzword bozos to READ EVERY DAMN MAIL YOU GET??????????????????

      personally i just think though that they use some filters to help..
    • by spellraiser (764337) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:19AM (#10297756) Journal
      I hereby propose a new mathematical function. It is called BSD (no relation to the OS), short for BullShit-Detector.

      The calculation of BSD is simple. Its domain is the set of all strings. The range is all real numbers from 0.0 - 1.0. To calculate BSD(s) for string s, simply take the length of s (call this l). Then, divide the number of of characters that contribute to the actual, non-bullshit content of the string by l. This is the value of BSD(s).

      To give a pertinent example, it is plainly apparent that BSD('Leveraging our paradigm-shifting product line with state of the art technology developed by a dedicated team of professionals, we offer a significant competitive advantage on the diversified but fragmented market of best of breed anti-spam solutions.') = 0.0.

      It is my hope that this will leverage the ever-expanding work of linguistics researchers around the world in utilizing paradigm-shifting methods for significantly empowering their abilities to detect bullshit.

    • by Clay Mitchell (43630) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:33AM (#10297904) Homepage
      Well, if they are reading everybody's spam, they are going to be damn good at spitting out buzzwords.
    • by Aggrazel (13616) <aggrazel@gmail.com> on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:35AM (#10297925) Journal
      Worse than that, click on the signup:

      The minute your mail starts flowing, a dedicated team of over a hundred trained Screening and Preselection Specialists, working 24 hours a day**


      ** - Timezone differences may apply.
      ....
    • Re:Buzzword Bingo (Score:2, Informative)

      by alakon (657771)
      but you missed the asterisks- * - Not all currently recognized by UN. ** - Palmyra Atoll dollars. ...from http://eprovisia.dione.cc/about.html As far as I can see, the Palmyra Atoll doesn't have it's own currency... and anyone in the world can make up their own countries.
      • It gets better... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by alakon (657771)
        Screams IP theft.

        (1) Warranties and waivers. You understand that there are no guarantees, either expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy, confidentiality or availability of the service.

        eProvisia LCC may choose to share any information acquired in the course of providing its services with other entities, and may, at its sole discretion and based on this information, take whichever actions the company, its affiliates, subsidiaries, or representatives, consider to be appropriate. You henceforth void y

    • Re:Buzzword Bingo (Score:5, Informative)

      by Chris_Jefferson (581445) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:37AM (#10297946) Homepage
      What is more impressive is:

      Conveniently located in the heart of Palmyra Atoll, eProvisia LLC is the leading provider of reliable, robust, powerful and cost-efficient spam filtering solutions for world-class corporations and individual users.

      Privately funded in 1993, now with customers in 40 countries* and over $67 million** in cash reserves, ....

      * - Not all currently recognized by UN. ** - Palmyra Atoll dollars.

      Palmyra Atoll is uninhabited, and doesn't have a currency. The phone number is invalid (nowhere has a +78 extension), and what kind of place lists in its address "Islet 7, 5 52 N 162 06 W"?

      I wouldn't have bothered posting this except it seems like both slashdot and most of the people reading this seem to be taking it seriously. It's not.

      • Re:Buzzword Bingo (Score:3, Interesting)

        by jrumney (197329)
        Its amazing how many people, even here on Slashdot, can't spot such an obvious scam. There was another company called "Edge Corporation" that used to sell a service where for $14.95/month they would let you know if your credit card number showed up on the lists being traded by fraudsters. Of course, you had to give them your credit card details so they could check on your card. The reason I found out, is a mysterious 39.95GBP showed up on my girlfriend's credit card bill, which I traced back to the same org
      • Re:Buzzword Bingo (Score:5, Informative)

        by lofoforabr (751004) on Monday September 20, 2004 @12:23PM (#10298403) Homepage
        Just look at the Terms of Service in their page. This must have been put under the wrong slashdot section. It's more suited for the "It's funny. Laugh".

        Terms of Service and Legal Disclaimer

        By viewing pages or using products and services of eProvisia LCC, you acknowledge and consent to the following terms and conditions:

        (1) Warranties and waivers. You understand that there are no guarantees, either expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy, confidentiality or availability of the service. eProvisia LCC may choose to share any information acquired in the course of providing its services with other entities, and may, at its sole discretion and based on this information, take whichever actions the company, its affiliates, subsidiaries, or representatives, consider to be appropriate. You henceforth void your reasonable expectation of privacy, and your constitutional rights to a fair and speedy trial.

        (2) Indemnification. You agree to hold harmless and indemnify eProvisia LCC and its affiliates, subsidiaries, and representatives, from and against any legal claims, including liability for the company not adhering to the terms and conditions of this agreement.

        (3) Choice of Law and Jurisdiction. These Terms of Use will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Uninhabited Sovereign Territory of Palmyra Atoll, without giving effect to its conflict of laws and provisions of your actual state or country of residence. Any claims, legal proceedings, or litigations regarding eProvisia LCC and its affiliates, subsidiaries, and representatives, will be brought solely in and you consent to the jurisdiction of Palmyra Atoll courts.
    • Re:Buzzword Bingo (Score:3, Informative)

      by 1u3hr (530656)
      These people score a 9.8 out of 10 in the Buzzword Bingo game. That second paragraph, in particular, would keep me as far away from them as possible.

      It was obviously designed to do that; it's a joke. And if you look up the location of their company, it's basically Gilligan's Island: an uninhabited (except for 20 Fish and Wildlife Service staff) atoll 1000 miles south of Hawaii.

  • by stecoop (759508) * on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:05AM (#10297592) Journal
    privacy concerns are big of course

    I thoroughly enjoy wikpedia and I have always thought of new ways of using the wiki concept - here is one solution to spam without privacy concerns.

    Your email interface would look at a list on the wiki page and filter out any known spam. One spam slips through and you can make a new entry at wik (like database or text page whatever). The entry could be the whole email or an algorithm but either way an algorithm would eventually be made based on a pattern to reduce the entry size (who knows the community is in control of it). Fixed the privacy concerns unless you did it to yourself.

    The next great thing about the wiki is you could take that 20 bucks a month and make a donation to the wiki. Not only would you be helping thwart spam but also supporting a great dictionary, encyclopedia and all things great with the open concept.
  • by mod_critical (699118) * on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:05AM (#10297595)

    I wonder if they ever verify their decisions with you:

    Mark,
    This is Eric, your spam d00d. You got a message about fisting, you into that? Let me know, thanks!
    -- Eric

  • by Anonymous Coward
    That I would not mind outsourcing to the indians and chinese!
  • Party like its... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ericspinder (146776) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:05AM (#10297598) Journal
    Our company, eProvisia LLC,
    I always worry about companies which use "LLC" as soon as the name is mentioned - 'Limited Liability Corporation'. It screams 'we are not responsable!'
    [the address]
    ...Palmyra Atoll (Uninhabited Sovereign Territory)
    Sounds like the 21th century equilivant of 'Florida Swamp land'.

    Four pages, home, the product, terms of service, and about the company. The only thing they are missing is bios of the 'management team'. Even better the $67 million dollars in cash reserves are in Palmyra Atoll dollars; I wonder what the exchange rate is?

    Overall, it looks like someone stole a 'dot com' idea from 1999. Anyone have a little red Corvette?

    I'll stick with Spamassassin, Thunderbird.

    • LLC Companies (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jeffs72 (711141) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:20AM (#10297767) Journal

      Actually, LLC's are the smart way to do a partnership. In a partnership, all principles enjoy equal responsibility for mishaps. In LLC's, all principles enjoy shared responsibility.

      I guess the best way to sum it up would be to quote my Business Legal Environment professor: "...and I hope that now you all have a clear understanding of partnerships. Now let me give you a word of advice, never form one."


      • Ya, no kidding. I work in the video production/post-production field and I have yet to hear from someone who hasn't been screwed-over by their "partner".

        I'd never form a partnership.

        N.
    • Some info [cia.gov] about Palmyra Atoll.

    • by Colonel Cholling (715787) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:29AM (#10297860)
      Even better the $67 million dollars in cash reserves are in Palmyra Atoll dollars; I wonder what the exchange rate is?

      One Palmyra Atoll dollar = 17 pieces of mithril, or approximately twenty kilograms of fairy dust.

      There's no such thing, people. This is a joke.
    • by secolactico (519805) * on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:36AM (#10297938) Journal
      [the address]...Palmyra Atoll (Uninhabited Sovereign Territory)

      This is thge odd part. How can an uninhabited territory be sovereign. According to the CIA Factbook [cia.gov] it is a National Wildlife Refuge managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Also, it says it has no economic activity. What the heck would back Palmyra Atoll's dollar?
  • by BoldAC (735721)
    Why did I think of this?

    You would only have to classify each message once by a person... and then have all messages like that blocked. Very sweet. Very India?

    I am not sure I want somebody reading through all my email though...
    • by DaHat (247651)
      MailWasher Pro from Firetrust has an option similar to that known as FirstAlert, you sign up for a year membership and use their app to submit spam type messages to them, later, a human verifies that the e-mail is indeed spam and adds it to their database. Once added, any MWP users using FirstAlert will hit the database, see that the message is there and act accordingly (often times deleting without even showing it to the user). It works... ok, about 30% of my spam is nuked this way, the built in Bayesian f
    • Re:ideas? (Score:3, Funny)

      by HTH NE1 (675604)
      I thought this up long ago when address munging was in its infancy on Usenet. I referred to it as hiring a secretary.

      They'd better not be applying for a patent.
  • Won't work (Score:2, Interesting)

    by seanyboy (587819) *
    1. The only way that they'll be able to do this at a good cost is to use some kind of third world labour with a first language that isn't english. 2. Given that my baysian spam solution seems to be better at sorting spam than me (I've accidently deleted items which were not spam before), then I'm not entirely sure that a stranger could do better. They offer a 100% guarantee. I doubt they'll be able to offer a 100% service.
  • by jb.hl.com (782137)
    Another example of the age old technique of profiting off dumbasses, this time by charging them money to do what they usually do for free, or could quite adequately automate for [gmail.com] free.
    • Re:Yay (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Buzz_Litebeer (539463)
      There can be a huge advantage of looking over data manually.

      My job is focused around looking at data to find problems. Many companies by high cost and very fancy data verification tools, address cassing software etc... Then they run these things on automatic on all of there data. What happens is that there data slowly becomes unreliable over time because they are paying their data entry a pittiance or are simply outsourceing it to a foreign nation who has people who do not speak the language, as much as
  • RE: Barracuda (Score:3, Informative)

    by numbski (515011) * <numbski@hksil[ ].net ['ver' in gap]> on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:08AM (#10297637) Homepage Journal
    https://sourceforge.net/projects/sa-milt-quar

    I'm working on mimicking the barracuda's functionality, and have the spam quarantine working.

    I apologize that sourceforge is showing no releases, the files ARE in cvs, and are stable after much testing. I'll try to get in and do a release later today.

    My hope is to build a full spam firewall suite that is easy to set up and still have much scalability and control.
  • by brucmack (572780) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:08AM (#10297641)
    The $20/month figure sounded a little high until I read that it is $19.95/year, not per month.

    That being said, I don't know if I see the benefit of paying someone else to read my email. They even offer more expensive packages to have them categorize and summarize your mail for you, as well as discard non-spam mails that you don't want anyway. I suppose it could be useful for really busy executive types, but then can't they afford secretaries anyway?
  • [Someone had to say it]

    So presumably they need to read your "ham" too, that's slightly worrying.

    Also, one man's newsletter is another man's spam.

  • This is great. I've always said that I would be willing to pay someone to filter my spam for me because that would be a "perfect" solution with human eyes looking at my spam.

    I might see if I can sell the enterprise on this, because we have people complaining because we don't use site-wide bayes because some people might want mail that other people don't want.

    Chris
  • This would be the difinitive way of getting around all the little ploys that spammers use, just register to all the crap on the internet and sign up for everything you can, then just mark everything off as spam.

    Whenever you get spam let through, ask people to forward a copy to you so that you can add it to the list, and so you can sign up from the details on the email.

    The only problem is, this is shooting themselves in the foot, if they eliminate all spam, spammers can't make money, no more spam, no more
  • by GoMMiX (748510) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:12AM (#10297681)
    People stop trying to profit so much to help reduce or stop it...

    I'm not sure who's worse anymore, the companies out there who sell services to 'help' you reduce/eliminate spam, or the spammers. (Maybe one in the same, in some instances)..

    The only resolution I see to spam is good, solid legislation THAT IS ENFORCED. Country harbors spammers, cut them off from the US internet. Spammers AND the companies that hire them BOTH held equally liable. If it's a criminal act to spam, it's a criminal act to hire someone to spam.

    People can write programs all day to try and stop spam, it won't matter. If someone can write a program to filter x out, someone else will find a way to get y through. It's an endless cycle.

    Spam is like a virus in so many ways...

    • The only workable solution I see is e-stamps of some kind. In other words, senders have to pay a small fee. Then mass mailings will no longer be profitable and should drop to a trickle.

      ISP's would get part of the stamp's value so that they have a financial incentive to enforce the postage. There is nothing that motivates better than greed.
    • The only resolution I see to spam is good, solid legislation THAT IS ENFORCED....Spam is like a virus in so many ways...

      Maybe spam is also like drugs in a couple ways. They both cause a bunch of problems, and the gross majority would like to limit/get rid of them, but there's also I section of the population that's hooked. So the question becomes, how do you get rid of something so popular?

      We've seen what's happened with drugs. You outlaw the sale, and people sell it illegally. You outlaw the import o

  • At first, I thought that too cheap to be true. However, let's do the math. I receive c. 200 spams a day. That's 6000 per month. I think I could hand-filter that many spams within an hour, so that gives a rate of $20/hour -- which isn't bargain basement, but still pretty reasonable.

    The problem comes, of course, in whether they can hand-filter my inbox with the same speed and accuracy as me. 99 times out of 100, I don't even need to open an email to see if its spam -- I know what emails I'm expecting to rec

  • Having RTFA... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by troon (724114)

    ...that site *must* be a spoof. All the disclaimers and address in Palmyra Atoll is so dodgy.

    Besides, I used to live out that way (Kiribati, in the early 1970s, then called the Gilbert Islands), and I don't recall hearing about these guys! Oh, wait, 1993...

    • All the disclaimers and address in Palmyra Atoll is so dodgy.

      Especially since Palmyra Atoll [wikipedia.org] is "uninhabited" with "no economic activity," and "managed as a nature reserve."
      • Yah I bet a small nature reserve island in the middle of the Pacific has a sweet broadband connection and population to facilitate such a business. Perhaps they are training monkeys to sort your spam. That would explain the price.
  • Business model? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Empiric (675968) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:14AM (#10297700)
    "24 hours a day" * 30 days/month = 720 hours

    $20 per month / 720 hours = about 3 cents an hour.

    Since they say they begin "manually reviewing, hand-picking and approving important correspondence", how does this work? To pay someone $6/hour, they'd need to be reviewing at least 200 mailboxes simultaneously. My confidence level of their accuracy under these circumstances would be considerably -lower- than a software solution.
    • ...and, according to their site (contrary to headline), it's $19.95 a -year-. So, make that 2400 mailboxes... Fast readers, I hope.
    • Re:Business model? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Brento (26177) *
      "24 hours a day" * 30 days/month = 720 hours

      $20 per month / 720 hours = about 3 cents an hour.


      No, because remember they have more than one customer, and it's not a ratio of one employee to one customer. One employee can probably service dozens and dozens of users, especially if you're prescreening email with SpamAssassin. When I start work in the morning, I can clear out the night's junk mail (after SpamAssassin's leftovers) in a matter of seconds.

      I'd be more interesting in seeing the lag time betw
  • hilarious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by alatesystems (51331) <chris@COFFEEtalk ... m minus caffeine> on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:16AM (#10297717) Homepage Journal
    Look at this [dione.cc] about page.

    Im going to include their footnotes on that pge in parentheses and bold.

    Privately funded in 1993, now with customers in 40 countries(Not all currently recognized by UN) and over $67 million(Palmyra Atoll dollars) in cash reserves, the company experienced a phenomenal growth
  • by Stone316 (629009) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:17AM (#10297727) Journal
    if its setup properly and bayes is enabled. Since Aug. 1st i've recieved 1800 emails flagged as spam... A few false positives but I have my threshold set pretty low. About 140 emails have gotten through and soon i'll take that folder and process it. Before I started processing spam that wasn't caught by spamassassin about 4-5 were getting through a day.. Now its once every few days.
  • by Colonel Cholling (715787) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:17AM (#10297735)
    What the article doesn't mention is that this "human-powered spam filtering" consists of Mentats who have been specially trained to use the latest Bayesian filters, and who bear the Imperial conditioning against deleting important messages.
  • Its a joke ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    (3) Choice of Law and Jurisdiction. These Terms of Use will be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Uninhabited Sovereign Territory of Palmyra Atoll, without giving effect to its conflict of laws and provisions of your actual state or country of residence. Any claims, legal proceedings, or litigations regarding eProvisia LCC and its affiliates, subsidiaries, and representatives, will be brought solely in and you consent to the jurisdiction of Palmyra Atoll courts.

    • So the first line on their front page reads:

      "For the first time ever: 100% reliability in combating spam. Guaranteed."

      But the first two bullet points of their TOS also read:

      "You understand that there are no guarantees, either expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy, confidentiality or availability of the service."

      AND

      "You agree to hold harmless and indemnify eProvisia LCC and its affiliates, subsidiaries, and representatives, from and against any legal claims, including liability for the company no
    • Re:Its a joke ... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It has to be a joke or a scam...http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factboo k/geos/lq.html [cia.gov] Read the CIA's description of that island and decide for yourself. Seems pretty unlikely this is legit. I would guess the only thing you would receive by contacting this "company" is more spam.
  • ...Barracuda Networks Spam Firewall. After we got it where I work, it didn't take me much time to set up and it seems to do a great job after the initial training period.

    At home I use ASSP as it's pretty simple to set up sompared to Spam Assassin.
    • Barracuda Spam Firewalls are so effective that they literally sell themselves. Whenever we have a client who is having spam problems we recomend they do a trial period with a Barracuda, when the trial period is over and we tell them they need to buy it or return it they ALWAYS buy, without exception. It's that good.
  • from my understanding, all gmail users that click the little "report spam" button are essentially helping build the database and increase the effectiveness of its filters... though I guess they must be careful because this could potentially generate a lot of false positives.
  • by unformed (225214) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:21AM (#10297779)

    Palmyra Atoll is a thousand miles south of Hawaii, an untold distance from civilization. Uninhabited by humans and wild to the core, it is the last intact marine wilderness in the U.S. tropics.
  • GMail outcry (Score:2, Interesting)

    by TVC15 (518429)
    And people were upset when it was 'discovered' that GMail was going to programatically 'read' your email to provide contextual advertising (and spam filtering) as an invasion of privacy? Here we will have actual _people_ reading your private correspondences. No thanks.
  • I dunno, I just get this image of a spam filtering sweatshop in southeast asia. People being forced to read about penis enlargements, mortgages and porn sites all day long for pennies a day and no bathroom breaks.
  • A piece of software that is filtering your spam is not being paid to do it. Yes it's creators were perhaps paid, but at least they are one step removed. A paid human-based service doing spam-filtering, however, would have a direct motive to want as much spam flying around as possible, so as to have as many potential customers as possible. I wouldn't be surprised if this company was created by and is being funded by the spammers themselves as just one more way to make money from spam! .
  • The human rate of error would actually be far worse than that of a spamassassin + RBL + DNSBL type filter. A human fatigues, the machine does not. The new filters are smart enough to update themselves, and while a human might catch some things the machine does not, the machine is less likely to fat finger a button and send your important emails to /dev/null.

    Besides, machines are faster. Big John be damned.
  • Hmmmm. (Score:2, Funny)

    by modifried (605582)
    "... working 24 hours a day**..."

    "** - Timezone differences may apply."

    Damn. I was all excited about the fact that they worked 24 hours a day, but I live on the west coast.
  • by baywulf (214371) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:32AM (#10297886)
    Why can't we use spelling checkers to filter spam? It seems all the spam now uses mispelled words and numbers in words to trip other filtering methods. So measure percent words mispelled or with numbers in them and above a particular threshold consider it spam.
  • I was out with my girlfriend yesterday morning, we went to breakfast and left the restaurant. When we arrived back at her place, she noticed that I had a flier attached to my car window. Something I had never even noticed when driving. It was for some silly event that I can't remember but it made me start thinking. You know, this is just spam..and yet I'm not all that upset about it. In fact, you see spam everywhere in life, but people rarely get as upset or harbor such a strong emotional feeling towar
  • Guaranteed? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bluntmanspam (186509) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:34AM (#10297916)
    From the home page (in BIG H1 font):
    For the first time ever: 100% reliability in combating spam. Guaranteed.
    But from the first point on the TOS page:
    (1) Warranties and waivers. You understand that there are no guarantees, either expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy, confidentiality or availability of the service.
    Hmmm...
  • We use the Baraccuda spam firewall here at work and it works great. We have approximately 250 users, so the smallest version was fine for us. It's blocking an average of 1000 spam, 100 virus infected emails, and allowing less than 5 spam through per day (company wide, not per user). It's NEVER incorrectly blocked a message, especially since I have it set up with the proper whitelists from our business partners. I've spent an average of 15 minutes a week tweaking the settings, and it automatically update
  • --- begin on-topic shameless plug ---

    I recently started a service for spam filtering. The idea was to combine several types of filtering as well as allowing a given user to create their own rules. Between whitelisting your uploaded address book, effective use of Spamassassin, Vipul's Razor, (careful use of) the RBL, we also create human made global rules to reject certain types of spam that slip through.

    The real draw of the service is that people can use it on an existing email address, by providing P

  • by tabdelgawad (590061) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:44AM (#10298012) Homepage
    Many popular anti-spam systems, e.g. those implemented by webmail services, are already indirectly human-powered. Users classify their own spam emails and the everyone benefits system-wide without privacy concerns.

    I'd say the system works pretty well. My Yahoo account, which was unusable after being harvested from my Usenet postings, is usable again. I just checked, and I have 426 messages in my bulk (spam) folder and 9 in my inbox. Of the nine, half (ok, 4!) are auto-responses from mail daemons to messages I never sent, while the other half are spam that escaped the filters. Not bad at all for a few days' worth of mail.

    I think a sensible business model is for the webmail services to leverage their huge, continually updated, spam database and license them to ISPs, who can then filter spam at the server level before users download anything. I think that's much more elegant than software+community based solutions implemented at the user level.
  • It's a joke. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rabin Vincent (642528) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:46AM (#10298032) Homepage
    Why?
    1. The site is hosted at eprovisia.dione.cc, and dione.cc is something of a Polish linux group's website, of which our friend arturs [dione.ids.pl] is a member.
    2. The "company" is "incorporated" at "Palmyra Atoll, a small nature preserve somewhere near Hawai'i. There's nothing there but nature.
    3. The geographical co-ordinates are in the postal address: Islet 7, 5 52 N 162 06 W.
    4. There's no +78 dialling code.

      This is a great joke, and once more Slashdot's been had.

      -Rabin

  • There's a dupe site (Score:5, Informative)

    by Colonel Cholling (715787) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:52AM (#10298093)
    at eprovisia.coredump.cx. [http]

    This site is a joke, and no more represents an actual business than that other famous site with a .cx domain.
  • by brickbat (64506) on Monday September 20, 2004 @11:54AM (#10298114) Homepage Journal
    This company can't possibly be real.

    Anybody read their terms of service? You understand that there are no guarantees, either expressed or implied, regarding the accuracy, confidentiality or availability of the service. eProvisia LCC may choose to share any information acquired in the course of providing its services with other entities, and may, at its sole discretion and based on this information, take whichever actions the company, its affiliates, subsidiaries, or representatives, consider to be appropriate. You henceforth void your reasonable expectation of privacy, and your constitutional rights to a fair and speedy trial.

    And their contact information. Um, Palmyra Atoll is an uninhabited pile of sand in the Pacific Ocean. "Palmyra Atoll dollars?" BWAHAHAHA.

    Leveraging our paradigm-shifting product line with state of the art technology developed by a dedicated team of professionals, we offer a significant competitive advantage on the diversified but fragmented market of best of breed anti-spam solutions. That line sounds like it was generated with the Web Economy Bullshit Generator [dack.com].

    Thanks for the laugh, Hemos. No, I'm laughing at you, not with you.
  • by Titusdot Groan (468949) on Monday September 20, 2004 @01:15PM (#10298896) Journal
    This article is not a troll. This is a very cleverly written ad for Barracuda.
  • by Flyboy Connor (741764) on Monday September 20, 2004 @02:06PM (#10299445)
    ...for a brief moment.

    I immediately realised such a business would never thrive, because:

    • Businesses would never allow an outside firm to scan potentially sensitive emails.
    • Even for humans it is sometimes very difficult to distinguish spam from real mail, especially if you are not an insider to the business.
    • It could not be supported by an automated mechanism, because you could be sued if you would filter out real mail as spam, even if it happens rarely.
    • If it takes about 10 seconds to scan a piece of mail, any human could scan a maximum of about 300 mails an hour. Since this is the amount of spam I receive in a single day, I have to pay at least an hour's fee per day to scan my mail, or probably something like $3000 a month. Nobody will pay this.

    Yes, it's a hoax. Which could be immediately deduced from the fact that it is not viable business (especially with the price they quote).

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