Canadian firm blocks spam, e-mail viruses

Canadian vendor 800onemail Inc. is looking south of the border for government customers who want to can spam.

The Toronto company launched its antispam offering last year and opened a second data center in New York to back up its main facility. The New York facility, hosted by Internap Network Services Corp. of Atlanta, protects against malicious code in attachments and blocks unsolicited commercial e-mail.

800onemail began life as a consulting company and became a full-time application service provider in 2001. Its service can work with most e-mail applications, but customers use 'primarily Microsoft Exchange and [IBM Lotus] Domino,' president Gus Harsfai said.

For a monthly fee starting at $3 per user, 800onemail receives e-mail, scans for malicious code and forwards messages to the designated recipients over an encrypted link. The antispam service requires a large, flexible filtering rule set, because one user's spam might be another's valid e-mail.

Based on his company's logs, more than 13 percent of business e-mail is spam, Harsfai said. Home users typically get more, almost 50 percent by some estimates. The problem is unlikely to disappear soon, Harsfai said. 'What other marketing method can hit 50 million people for $150 to $200?' he said.

The company applies about 3,500 rules to block unwanted e-mail. A help desk fine-tunes the service for each customer. 800onemail claims to block as much as 99.5 percent of unwanted mail with a false positive rate of only 0.005 percent.

The false positive rate is critical, Harsfai said. 'If you stop a valid e-mail, that's a problem.'
Blocked mail is quarantined in an account that the customer can monitor, so that legitimate messages can be quickly retrieved and forwarded.

Contact 800onemail at 800-663-6245.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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