Thursday, October 1, 2015

Comcast's horrendous (lack of) spam fighting

From their website:
We take our responsibility to combat spam seriously and we constantly work to reduce the amount of unwanted and malicious emails that make their way to our customers’ inboxes. We employ a number of technologies to reduce spam including:
Yeah.  OK.  Right.

Today about 8:30 I emptied my Spam folder on the webmail site.  Over the course of the next four hours I marked about fifty message as spam.  To be fair, Comcast filtered another 125.


  • about fifteen messages were about a new "Tesla-like" engine technology that I have been marking as spam for almost two weeks now
  • about twenty to thirty messages were to tell me that I needed to hurry to redeem my $50 bonus from Amazon, Walmart, Walgreens, Southwest Airlines, and numerous other companies that I can't remember off the top of my head, all of which I have been marking as spam for at least a month
  • a half dozen messages claimed that a story that had been banned from Fox News was going to change how I viewed whatever, also marked for the Spam folder for at least six months
The rest were the usual mix, Rachel Ray's fat busting secrets, Dr Oz's something or other, Oprah's miraculous thing-a-ma-bobby, plus the occasional tip for making me rich by investing in something else.

I get it.  Spam is difficult to deal with because it changes constantly.  But when the same spam pops up ten to twenty times  a day for a month and Comcast's filters STILL can't recognize it there might be a problem

Maybe, to give them the benefit of the doubt, however, it just isn't possible without filtering all my legitimate email.

Let's talk about Mozilla Thunderbird, my home email client.

Not one of the above emails has made it through to my Inbox in the past month.

Not one.  Somehow the people at Mozilla have managed to provide me with a free product that blocks close to 100% of the spam that is sent to my Comcast email address, while I pay Comcast $60 a month for internet and email and they can only block about 60 to 70% of the spam that heads in my direction.  In spite of my active participation in trying to assist them in recognizing it as spam.  Participation which apparently is futile since nothing has changed in the year or so that I have been periodically opening my webmail site and dealing with the messages there.

I don't get it.

On the other hand, they aren't going to lose my business since they have a utilities monopoly on cable internet in my area and I am not interested in a slower service for the same price that might be offered by someone with different technology.  Maybe it isn't worth the money to them.  Just maybe, however, they could call up the folks at Mozilla one of these days and offer to work out a deal.

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