Yahoo! Mail’s Crappy Spam Filter

…or “how I learned to stop fighting spam and love GMail”.

My itchy keyboard was nudged by a recent comment on my old Yahoo! Mail Beta review post. If you’ve been reading for a while you’ll remember that I was a huge fan of Oddpost, to the point of continuing to use Oddpost despite their Internet-Explorer-only limitation. So when Oddpost was bought by Yahoo!, I waited eagerly for the next iteration of all-singing, all-dancing webmail that would run on Firefox.

Along came the Yahoo! Mail Beta, designed and built by the Oddpost guys, and implemented very, very nicely. I switched happily from Oddpost to Yahoo!, and enjoyed my newfound ability to use Firefox for webmail. For a short time. Then came the spam. Honestly, I don’t know who wrote the spam filter system for Yahoo! Mail, but if I had to hazard a guess, I’d say they are schizophrenic. Some interesting behaviour from the Yahoo! spam filter included:

  • Seemingly identical spams would arrive, one being sent to spam purgatory, and the other arriving happily in my inbox.
  • I’d get three mailing list replies from an email that was in my contacts folder, two of which would be marked as spam.
  • Purchase notifications from eBay or some online store would be spanked straight to spam

(As an aside, I have to say that I had none of these problems on Oddpost, so I’m guessing the Oddpost developers were told to retrofit the existing Yahoo! spam filter into the new interface.)

Through serendipity (or perhaps my subconcious seeking a way out of spam hell), I recently stumbled across the fact that GMail has a nice slick way of dealing with multiple email accounts. Sure I knew you could do filtering and labelling, but I didn’t realise how slick the options were for receiving email from multiple accounts and modifying the way you reply to them. Once you have confirmed with GMail that you infact own the email account(s) that GMail will manage, you have full control on how to manage them. For example you can tell GMail to reply to a message using the address that it was originally sent to. This means that although I use [private] as my primary mail management interface, people who send mail to [private] have no idea, they just send email to and receive replies from [private] Simple, but effective.

Couple this with GMail’s slick mobile interface, massive storage, and excellent anti-spam system, and I’m now a convert. Late to the table sure, but I’m not going back to Yahoo! for love or money. Sorry Oddpost guys. Hope you’ve invested your buyout proceeds elsewhere.

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  1. Gmail is so very slick, and it has so many little google nuances that you just never notice until they become very useful to you. Such a clever wee company.

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