SpamSweep 1.5

If you’re looking for the easiest-to-use Mac-compatible spam utility on earth, look no farther than SpamSweep 1.5.3. Yet its ease of use is a double-edged sword. While it’s a cinch to set up and learn, it provides precious few options for configuring its filters.

When you first launch the program, a setup assistant allows you to choose your e-mail client [Apple’s Mail (   ), Qualcomm’s Eudora (   ), Gyaz Square’s GyazMail (   ), Bare Bones Software’s Mailsmith (   ), Microsoft Entourage (   ), CTM Development’s PowerMail (   ), and Mozilla’s Thunderbird are supported] and provides an area for entering your e-mail account information. Once that is done, SpamSweep attempts to log onto the ISP’s POP and SMTP servers to confirm your settings.

SpamSweep downloads the first 100K of every e-mail message, filters it, provides options for making corrections, and, once you’ve labeled your spam, deletes it from the server. You download the good e-mail that remains on the server when you connect with your e-mail client (SpamSweep includes a command for launching the default e-mail client). It currently supports POP accounts only.

Like other spam utilities, Spamsweep installs a blacklist consisting of multiple IP and domain names, builds a whitelist of approved senders, and offers Bayesian filtering. The program provides no access to its blacklist, spam corpus (the collection of words the Bayesian filter uses to identify spam), or filters. Like other utilities that include Bayesian filters, it learns as it goes. Other than correcting it when it’s wrong by identifying the validity of e-mail that it’s filtered, you have no options for adjusting its behavior.

The program ran well, and after a few days of training, it did a reasonable job separating the good from the bad e-mail. But I’m a little uneasy about allowing an application other than my e-mail client to handle my messages, as some may be accidentally deleted. For this reason, I prefer applications like C-Command’s SpamSieve (   ) and Intego’s Personal Antispam X4 (   ), which work within my e-mail client.

Macworld’s buying advice

SpamSweep 1.5.3 is a reasonable choice if you prefer an effective filter that doesn’t require much in the way of setup or maintenance. It’s not a good choice, however, if you want to get into the guts of your spam utility to configure its lists and filters.

[ Christopher Breen is a senior editor at Macworld.]

SpamSweep is a straightforward and easy-to-use tool, but it allows very little configuration.

Subscribe to the Help Desk Newsletter

Comments