Once again we’d like to thank everyone who submitted questions, and who stopped by to participate, during last week’s Anti-Spam Workshop with Mark (transcript here). We received a lot of great questions, and Mark enjoyed the opportunity to answer questions, as well as hear directly from the users. One of the more interesting questions lead to a stat that Mark had never shared with me … and totally blew me away.
dlippman: Why don’t emails with the word “Lottery” and a few other Spam characteristics automatically go into my Spam folder?
Mark: I really wish we could! Catching a specific word is really hard. On the one hand, there are the risks that we’ll catch something legitimate — “Campus housing lottery this Friday” — which is what we call a “false positive.” (A “false positive” is any time our filters mistakenly mark something as spam when it isn’t)
On the other hand, if we build a filter for one specific word, there are often about a bazillion other ways the bad guys can spell it and still get their point across. Did you know there were 600,426,974,379,824,381,952 ways to spell \/!@g.r.a? (check out http://cockeyed.com/lessons/viagra/viagra.html)
I actually had to look up what that number translates to (turns out it’s a quintillion) and who would have thought that the “little blue miracle” could be re-written that many ways.
Check out the complete transcript from the Workshop here. We will be doing more of these Workshops over the next few months, so if you have any themes you would like to recommend please feel free to suggest them (comments or email).