Gmail Smartens Up About Spam - InformationWeek

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10/3/2006
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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 (www.cs.com).

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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