Yahoo: Bolstered SpamGuard Lowers User Complaints

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Yahoo has launched a more powerful version of its spam-filtering technology, SpamGuard, for users of its free e-mail service, the Sunnyvale, CA, company said yesterday.


Preliminary tests of the newly bolstered product resulted in 40 percent fewer user complaints about spam, the company said in a release. Yahoo also claimed SpamGuard caught five times more spam in February 2003 than in February 2002. It said the increase in the amount of spam filtered showed Yahoo's commitment to fighting spam.


However, unsolicited bulk commercial e-mail by all accounts has risen dramatically in the past year, which would account for at least some of the five-fold increase in spam filtered by SpamGuard.


Also in the statement, Yahoo voiced "a multi-faceted approach" to combating spam, including federal legislation.


"Yahoo supports legislation that provides for effective deterrents, penalties and marketing rules that would give consumers and e-mail service providers additional protection from unsolicited commercial e-mail," the statement said.


The news comes as Internet service providers AOL, Earthlink and MSN increasingly use public relations in the war on spam. AOL last week published a statement claiming that it had blocked more than 1 billion spam messages in one day.


"Reaching this important anti-spam landmark comes less than two weeks after AOL announced that it was successfully blocking over three-quarters of a billion (780 million) spam e-mails from reaching its members, while also updating its members about the steps AOL is taking to further fight spam," the company said in a statement.


"The fact that the volume of junk e-mail blocked by AOL has reached 1 billion reflects the significant and continuing attacks that spammers have launched against Internet consumers, a major issue facing the industry."


AOL claimed its members have been using its new "Report Spam" button up to 5.5 million times per day.


The rise in spam, along with an increasingly complicated patchwork of state anti-spam legislation, also led the Direct Marketing Association in October to also voice support for federal anti-spam legislation.


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