Microsoft is using a 'bonded sender' email program to reduce the deluge of spam sent to Hotmail and MSN customers - but analysts warn that the junk will still get through.
Legitimate senders of commercial email can sign up for the Bonded Sender scheme to make sure their messages are not caught by Microsoft's anti-spam filters.
To be certified for the IronPort-developed program companies must pass a rigid screening process. To make sure only legitimate email is sent, a sender's bond, which can cost up to $10,000, is debited if end-user complaints exceed a certain threshold.
"The Bonded Sender program allows legitimate senders of email to identify themselves and avoid delivery problems," said Scott Weiss, chief executive of IronPort Systems, in a statement.
Microsoft has conducted trials of the system over the last five months on its MSN and MSN Hotmail platforms.
But Neil Macehiter, research director at Ovum, warned that the programme would not stop spam but instead would help e-markeeters send legitimate advertising emails to customers by ending some of the threat of a false/positive spam alert from a company's spam filter.
"[Bonded Sender] is not really designed to stop spam," he explained.
"Microsoft has other initiatives, and I believe it will be announcing or demonstrating at Tech Ed at the end of this month some Artificial Intelligence software that will learn patterns of behaviour and recognise spam."
In a statement Ryan Hamlin, general manager of the anti-spam technology and strategy group at Microsoft, said the company was evaluating a variety of ways of stopping spam.
"Because spam is our email customers' number one complaint today, our technology arsenal must include a process that works in tandem with our filters to differentiate good email from junk email," he said.
Anti-spam organisation TRUSTe will provide certification, third-party oversight and dispute resolution services for the Bonded Sender program.
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