I think, by now, you are all familiar with Mark, our resident anti-spam czar. If not, Mark has graced this blog a number of times before. Most recently he conducted an anti-spam workshop in addition to letting us know how we’re cracking down Lottery scams on our corporate Yodel blog. Today, he’s back with more great news on how he and his team are working to keep you safer for 2009. So without further ado, here’s Mark….
At Yahoo!, we take spam seriously. And as I’ve told you before, we’ve got some of the smartest computer scientists in the world working to ensure Yahoo! Mail users receive all the mail they want…and none that they don’t. It’s a huge challenge and the bad guys are always out there trying to make a buck with their scams, but we’re committed to helping keep you safer online.
One way we’re turning up the heat on the spammers is by utilizing even more state-of-the-art technology. Recently, Yahoo!’s anti-spam team has been using a “supercomputer” consisting of thousands of individual PCs — part of our open source Hadoop project — to help detect spammers. We’re teamed up with several top universities on this research, looking for more ways to find and block the bad guys even faster, before they can do their damage.
We’re also out there working with partners big and small to help reduce spam across the Internet. We’ve seen some promising early results from one such company, a startup named Abaca, and our hopes are high that together we can block even more of these messages by looking at spammers’ behavior in addition to the contents of their spammy messages.
Closely related to all of this is that we need to ensure the right messages still get through, that we don’t throw out the proverbial baby with the bathwater. With the help of our friends at Return Path, we’re relaunching our Complaint Feedback Loop for commercial e-mail companies. With the CFL, legitimate companies receive notification when users mark a message as “spam,” and those companies can then use that feedback to help them fix the problems on their end. For example, a company may have used a confusing subject line, or accidentally sent to the wrong mailing list; with the CFL, we can get that information to them so they can quickly correct the problem.
As always, I’ll close with a reminder that, if Yahoo! Mail does let something slip through into the wrong folder — either allowing spam into your inbox or mistakenly putting a good message in your Spam folder — please use the “Spam” and “Not Spam” buttons to let us know. Clicking those buttons sends an immediate and powerful signal to our systems (and to me :) so that we can quickly try to correct the problem. It’s the best way for us to get better, and to continue keeping your e-mail experience great!