Spam blocking supercedes usability

People are so annoyed with spam, that they seem willing to give up usability for a little better protection. Case in point, Yahoo! Mail versus Gmail.

Interestingly, I use both services for certain things, and I have found both pretty good at filtering spam. I’ve also found both about as useable as you can expect from a webmail interface. Nevertheless, I’ll stick to POP, as I don’t really care about the storage capabilities I get from outside services. I’d rather be able to drag and drop an mbox folder to my desktop, zip and encrypt – lock it away for safekeeping, away from any potential prying eyes, but still have ready access myself.

That’s my idea of usability.


For those interested, here’s a head to head comparison of the webmail programs (with Hotmail thrown in for shits and giggles).


ben says:

I got really annoyed with Yahoo!s false positives. Messages in my inbox that I would reply to, then the reply back would go into the spam folder. Totally crazy. Surely addresses you reply to should be automatically whitelisted?

I guess also that my oddpost address is pretty old (several years), and I’m not shy about using it on forums etc, so it probably is a bit of a spam magnet.

Still, why can GMail filter 99% of my spam with maybe 1 false positive per week. Whereas Yahoo! gets maybe 90% with 5 false positives a week.

Tell me – what was the composition of mail coming into each service?

My thinking – I can get Yahoo! Mail to look like shit compared to Gmail if I use the Yahoo account to sign up for porn sites and free ipods, while I conduct encrypted-only financial transactions via Gmail.

You know, age of the account has an affect on how much spam you tend to get, so I don’t find the “old” Oddpost/Yahoo account failing a few more times all that, uh, odd. Wait until Gmail has been around a few years…..

ben says:

The composition is identical, because I now have all my oddpost/yahoo email forwarding to GMail 🙂

Gmail seems much, much better at detecting the latest type of spam: the ones with just a gif attachment and nothing in the body. Yahoo regularly let those through into my inbox.

Interesting. However, if you are forwarding email from Yahoo! to Gmail, the body of the email may not change, but the headers may (hence they would be different).

Curious to see if one of the Yahoo! crew chimes in on this one.

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