Re-imagining Our Email Defense Service

In February we made a decision to nuke the portal for our Email Defense Service and move to filtering only for the time being. Back then, we promised to build a new and improved service to replace it. We‚Äôre pretty close to being ready, (it‚Äôs in QA now). It’s expected that we‚Äôll go live with it in the first couple of weeks of January, after the holiday and our December code-freeze.

We took a look at Email Defense as it functioned back in February and decided to re-focus on simplicity. Making our services easier to use and administer is a mantra around here these days. The original “spam portal” had every bell and whistle imaginable, but just like lots of other web services and software packages, it was over-engineered. In reality, very few of those features were actually being used. Here’s what we found:

  • End Users only used the quarantine, and the blocked/sender lists
  • 95% of Resellers used the default settings
  • Fewer than 5% of Resellers branded the portal for their end users

Based on these findings and what we learned last winter, we concentrated on delivering the features people actually use.

We created a new spam quarantine that has two main functions:

  1. Reviewing spam and, if required, releasing email from the quarantine
  2. Managing safe and blocked sender lists

For Reseller management, the service has been integrated into the interfaces for the Tucows Email Service. At the domain and user level, Resellers can set up domain level blocked/safe sender lists, and even reject spam outright, if they choose. If Resellers choose to use the Tucows Email Service as well, filtering only accounts can be instantly upgraded to a full mailbox through the same interface with the check of a box.

We’ll provide more details about the specific changes and time frames in the new year.

In the meantime, here is a preview of what the spam quarantine will look like to your end users (click any of the images for a full sized view):

The list view shows all the messages caught in the Spam Quarantine:

spam-portal-list.jpg

In the message view, users will be able to see each spam message and take one of three different actions: tag the message as “Not Spam” (message is released from quarantine); add the sender to the Safe Sender list (messages from that sender will no longer be filtered) or add the sender to Block Sender list (messages from that sender will be automatically deleted):

spam-portal-message.jpg

Users can manage their Safe and Block Sender lists easily with the push of a button:

spam-portal-senderlists.jpg

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