For me, the spam problem is solved

A lot of people have been ridiculing Bill Gates for predicting that "spam will be solved" by 2006 January 24. For me, the spam problem is solved and it's thanks not to Microsoft, but to the open source software community, for example the SpamAssassin community, and to my excellent email service providers. In a nutshell, here's how I solved my spam problem.
  1. Point the MX record for each domain that I use as the right hand side of an email address to an email service provider that does robust up-to-date SMTP-level spam filtering.
  2. Use only my own domains for my email addresses.
  3. Do not do any SMTP forwarding of my email.
  4. Put all email that gets a SpamAssassin score of 2 or higher in my MaybeSpam mailbox. Look at my MaybeSpam mailbox at most once a day. Order it by spam score and greenlist any non-spam message that shows up in this box (i.e. greenlist the false positives).
  5. If a spam message is not delivered to the MaybeSpam box, redlist or blocklist it.
Steps 4 and 5 are sometimes called "training on errors" and I will write more about how I do this later.

In case you are thinking that I didn't have much of a spam problem, consider this: I have been using real email addresses to post to Usenet and mailing lists since 1987. My email addresses, many of which are still alive & well, are all over the Net. For example, one of my live addresses is in the Procmail manual page (man procmail), which is available on almost every Unix, Linux, and Mac OS X machine.

If you still have a spam problem, I recommend that you follow the steps above, especially the first three steps, and use one of the email service providers who is 100% focused on email.

2006-December-8 Update: For a discussion about problems caused by forwarding email, see Tracking down lost emails at Ask MetaFilter.
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