A Silicon Valley email company said it will provide a free service for consumers that detects unsolicited bulk email, otherwise known as spam, before it reaches the users' mailbox.
Bright Light Technologies claimed its Bright Mail product has been able to eliminate 90 per cent of spam messages sent to users, without accidentally deleting any legitimate email messages. The service is available at no cost to users with a POP3 email account that can be accessed from anywhere on the Internet.
"Companies we are working with, such as Sun-Netscape Alliance, Software.com and Sendmail, have introduced our service to their international consumers," said Jeff Magill, vice president of marketing at Bright Light Technologies. "Right now we are capable of providing the service to English speaking countries, but it would require an intensive localisation effort to provide it to non English speaking countries."
Several of the beta customers were located in Europe and the Pacific Rim, Magill said, but he added, that the company doesn't really look at users from an international perspective.
"With English speaking countries, it is pretty straightforward," he said.
Bright Mail runs a 24 hour operations centre where the company evaluates new and existing spam and then forwards information about the spam to a "spam wall" assigned to each user. The spam wall uses software to identify and block spam messages before they reach a user's inbox.
Bright Mail's Spam Wall software is written in C on Unix System V and currently supports Unix platforms running on Sun Solaris 2.5.1 and 2.6 with future support for HP, Linux and Microsoft NT platforms. It works with industry standard email products from Sendmail, Software.com, Microsoft, Lotus and other messaging systems.
Last month, the company conducted a survey with the Gartner Group, and found that more than 90 per cent of users receive spam at least once a week and almost 50 per cent get spammed six or more times a week.
"The study showed that email users resent the time it takes to delete spam, see it as huge invasion of their privacy and are offended by it," said Magill. "Unfortunately, the study also indicated that the problem will most likely get worse if it goes unsolved."
The study also found that 24 per cent of respondents believe that their ISPs provided spammers with their email addresses and that 74 per cent believe that ISPs should regulate spam, compared with 15 per cent who believe that national or local government should do it.
Bright Light was founded in 1997 and currently provides this service through ISPs. Investors and advisors to Bright Light include: Esther Dyson, chairman of Edventure Holdings; Mike Homer, executive vice president and general manager of Netscape's Netcenter Web site; and Ben Rosen, chairman of Compaq Computer.
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