The longer you're on the web, and the more you participate in email and Internet commerce, the more unwanted junk email (SPAM) you will receive.

In fact, the inevitabilities of life can now be summarized as Death, taxes and SPAM.

While there are numerous tactics that you can employ to reduce the amount of junk email you receive, there are only a few tools available that actually enable you to fight back.

Two of the most popular and sophisticated programs that let you take a proactive stand against SPAM are SpamKiller and MailWasher. Both can get the job done, but through substantially different approaches.

What They Have in Common

Each program is slightly unstable, with the programs crashing on a somewhat regular basis. This is not to be unexpected given the low cost of the programs. Fortunately, neither program caused system wide failures, but instead simply could be shut down and restarted when problems were encountered.

In this regard, Mailwasher is a bit easier to work with, as the program closed easily after it encountered program errors, whereas SpamKiller required bringing up the Windows Task Manager in order to forcibly close the program when it misbehaved.

Regardless, both programs are stable enough to recommend, and are continually improved upon so that greater stability can be expected in the future.

Different Approaches

While both programs allow you to identify, segregate and delete SPAM, their approach is quite different.

Which is to be preferred is simply a matter of user choice. I expect that more advanced users will prefer seeing all of their incoming email on the single screen provided by MailWasher. On the other hand, beginner and intermediate users will probably be less intimidated with the separate windows used by SpamKiller, and probably won't mind the extra step required switching between the two.

However, the real difference between the two programs is in what they can do with SPAM beyond the simple process of deleting the unwanted messages.

Realistically, both programs offer long-term benefits, though I wouldn't expect a drastic reduction in the amount of SPAM you receive overnight. Most of the individuals who send junk email won't bother to purge their lists of bounced email very frequently and also change ISPs often enough that complaint letters may be too little, too late.

However, the accumulative results from either approach will likely result in a reduction of the amount of junk-email that you receive over the long run.

Which One is Best for You?

From a practical standpoint, I prefer MailWasher for its lower cost and more efficient workflow. It's simply much faster to click on the "bounce" and "delete" check-boxes than it is to select the various complaint options provided by SpamKiller.

Additionally, I prefer to see all of my incoming email in one screen, rather than having to select separate windows to view the legitimate email and the suspected SPAM and it's likely that at least some SPAMMERS will eventually purge bounced email address from their lists.

However, if you're not looking for the emotional satisfaction that comes from bouncing junk email or sending complaint letters, and instead simply want the SPAM you received quickly identified and deleted, then SpamKiller is likely a better choice. The sophistication of SpamKiller's email identification and sorting is more advanced in this regard.

Ultimately, what we really need is a program that combines the strengths of the two, allowing you to quickly sort, delete, bounce and complain all in just a few quick key-stokes.

Until then, you can (and should!) download either of these programs and begin the process of taking control of your privacy and your email.


Copyrighted with all rights reserved by Stephen M. Canale