How EarthLink Is Blocking Spam For 5 Million Users

EarthLink has the same spam problem that an enterprise e-mail system has -- only bigger.

Where an large enterprise might have more than 100,000 mailboxes, EarthLink has five million. EarthLink users range in expertise from expert programmers to novices. And EarthLink has some challenges that an enterprise IT manager doesn't face: the company can't mandate what e-mail software its customers use, the company can't mandate that its users go in for training, and where an enterprise e-mail manager's users are a captive audience (more or less), EarthLink's customer can leave any time they want to.

In the latest effort to fight spam, EarthLink put in place an aggressive set of anti-spam measures May 28. These include an implementation of controversial challenge-response technology, the largest implementation of that kind of spam-blocking system. Critics of challenge-response systems say that challenge-response systems, if they become popular, will simply make the spam problem on the Internet a lot worse, but EarthLink says it has a handle on the problem.

Jim Anderson, vice president of product development for EarthLink, provided details on the spam-blocking system in an interview with InternetWeek. EarthLink's experience can provide helpful information for enterprise e-mail managers looking to build or buy spam-blocking systems for company use.

"We think this is as close to a silver bullet as you are going to get," Anderson said.

News source: Internet Week

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