Gmail Smartens Up About Spam - InformationWeek

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01:25 PM

Gmail Smartens Up About Spam

Google Gmail is reportedly getting nearly 15 times better at separating real messages from spam, while Microsoft's Hotmail--also called Windows Live Mail--is showing only a slight improvement and a more negative false-positive rating.

Google Gmail got nearly 15 times better at separating real messages from spam in the last three months, a developer of e-mail marketing software has calculated.

According to Emeryville, Calif.-based Lyris Technologies, Gmail's false-positive rating -- the amount of e-mail it mistakenly pegged as spam -- improved to just 3 percent in the second quarter, down dramatically from 44 percent in the first quarter of 2006.

Microsoft's Hotmail -- also called Windows Live Mail -- meanwhile, improved slightly, but still tags nearly 1 in 5 legitimate messages as spam, said Lyris. In the second quarter, Microsoft's Web e-mail service's false-positive rating was 18.2 percent, down from 23.4 percent in the first quarter.

By comparison, rival Yahoo Mail's false-positive was 0.57 percent in the June-August period.

The U.S. e-mail service provider false-positive average is 3.3 percent, which is significantly higher than Europe's average of 0.75 percent, said Lyris, in large part because of the high ratings of Gmail, Hotmail, and CompuServe (

To come up with the numbers, Lyris tracked nearly 58,000-plus marketing messages sent from 57 businesses and nonprofits to e-mail addresses on 37 different domains. In all cases, said Lyris, the recipients had opted-in to receive the e-mail.

The complete second-quarter Lyris report can be downloaded as a PDF file from the company's Web site.

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