What I wish my e-mail provider would do


By Paul Holstein

I wish my e-mail account had three in-boxes: 1) Safe mail from trusted sources 2) Quarantine mail from questionable sources 3) Junk mail from unwanted sources. My mail provider should use pattern recognition, black lists, and custom filters and lists that I update to put the mail in the correct box. For example, if a fresh e-mail is not on a black list but the pattern looks suspicious, it should go to the quarantine box. If I've received mail from a source in the past and I didn't block it, it is probably trusted.

I'd like my ISP to verify the from address before sending mail to my inbox. A good percentage of correspondents claim that they come from AOL, Hotmail, MSN, Yahoo, or Excite. It seams to me that if the message says "from: [email protected]", my mail provider should check the message headers and verify that the e-mail originated from hotmail before passing it along to me. Speaking of domains, there are only a limited number of domains registered (yes it's millions, but that's still manageable). If the from address says from [email protected], and lskd.com is not a valid domain, the message should be sent to the quarantine or junk.

I'd like better blocking filters available. Blocking e-mail by sender's e-mail address is a waste of time since it is usually fake and computer generated (e.g. [email protected]). I want to use reverse DNS lookup to be able to block by originating domain and especially country. I rarely receive mail from outside the US. All other countries should go to the quarantine or junk box.

I'd like the system to consider how many other users have received the same mail and how many of them have junked the message. For instance, if a fresh e-mail comes in to 100 users and the first 3 or 4 junk the message, it is probably SPAM. The system should then move the message to quarantine or junk for the remaining users who have not yet seen the message.

I'd like the system to consider the time of day the message was sent. Most of my friends and colleagues are not sending e-mail between 1:00 and 6:00 in the morning. Messages sent at those times should face a tighter filter.

I'd like a choice of which black lists to use for filtering. Personally, I'd check them all.

I want a SPAM button available when I read my messages. It should do the following:

1) It should analyze the offending message and send reports to the originating domain and the next domain in the chain (the one providing service to the originator).

2) It should also send a report to the domain hosting the offending site's web content (as listed in any URL's contained in the message) and to their provider as well.

3) It should forward the SPAM to the SPAM tracking sites such as the FTC [email protected]. These sites should maintain black lists of all offending spammers.

4) It should bounce back an error message that my e-mail address was unknown (of course if the "from address" is no good, that could be a waste of time)

5) It should intelligently block all future messages from the offending spammer using the header information (not just the from e-mail address)

6) It should delete the message from my inbox and move it to the junk mail box

7) It should send my SPAM to the SPAM administrators at my mail provider who should analyze the message and update the pattern recognition to prevent future similar messages reaching my in-box.

8) It should intelligently analyze the message to see if there is an unsubscribe method listed. If it can be determined, the program should automatically launch it. Sometimes the unsubscribe methods do work.

It should return me to my inbox to continue reading my other mail

I'd like more storage space from my mail provider as well.

What would I be willing to pay for all this? I think about $4.95 per month would be fair.

Paul Holstein is the developer of CableOrganizer.com