Yahoo! Rolls Out New Anti-Spam Features

Yahoo announced Tuesday the rollout of strengthened spam-fighting capabilities for its email users, who the company said could see as much as 40 percent less spam.

Yahoo Mail, one of the most popular free email programs on the Internet, will now have enhanced spam-filtering technology through its SpamGuard system. The company said that users testing the new technology reported 40 percent fewer spam messages.

Yahoo introduced SpamGuard in December 1999, giving users the opportunity to identify and filter unsolicited commercial bulk email into a separate folder. Since last February, the company said it has grown five times more effective in stopping spam. The company said the new version builds on SpamGuard by incorporating new techniques used by spammers, such as dictionary attacks. Yahoo credited its “This is Spam” link with leading to the identification of many newer types of spam.

“We are committed to giving our users complete control over their in-boxes and we continue to work tirelessly to create the best spam-fighting solution available,” said Lisa Pollock, Yahoo’s senior director for messaging products. “With the release of new SpamGuard, and other useful tools, we believe we have the best solution to fight spam.”

The beefed-up anti-spam tool comes just a week after AOL reported that spam had reached a crisis point for its email service. A lawyer for the company told an Internet marketing conference last week that AOL now blocked a billion pieces of spam a day. If the problem worsened, he cautioned, AOL would need to take even more stringent action that might adversely affect email marketers.

Yahoo Mail users have two levels of spam protection. Users of the free service on the portal can block up to 100 email addresses with up to 15 customizable filters. Those paying for Yahoo Mail Plus can block 200 addresses with 50 filters.

In addition, SpamGuard allows users to block HTML images from appearing automatically, foiling a common method used by spammers to verify which email addresses are live.

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