Stop Spam in Its Tracks

by Lauren Simonds

Disposable e-mail from EGramPlus promises a happy ending to the plague of unwanted e-mail assaulting SMBs. Even better, you don't need a degree from MIT to get things rolling.

EGramPlus, Inc, a N.C.-based software company, offers a new software program called EGramPlus that promises to eliminate spam. According to the company, the program combines the power of white lists and disposable, or public, e-mail addresses to confound Internet e-mail harvesters.

A white list (also known as a trusted list) is the list of e-mail addresses of people that you trust and accept. A disposable or public e-mail address is a prefix that attaches to the beginning of your e-mail in order to thwart spammers.

EGramPlus, available to individuals, businesses and ISPs, works with Outlook or Outlook Express and lets users decide who they'll accept e-mail from.

What's in a Name?
The idea behind EGramPlus is to protect your base e-mail address by adding a prefix. The prefix keeps Internet e-mail harvesters from picking up your address off of the Internet — handy for any business that needs to post e-mail addresses on the company Web site.

Adding prefixes to base email addresses keeps spammers from accessing true email.

For example, if your regular, or base, e-mail is myname.name.com, you can add any prefix you like (the total number of characters in your prefix and base address can't exceed 64). You can create multiple disposable, or public addresses by adding different prefixes and organize them any way you like. So myname@name.com becomes business.myname@name.com or info.myname@name.com or anything you can think of. There's no limit to the number of public address you can create.

According to Lynn Huffman, marketing manager for EGramPlus, each time someone e-mails you at one of your public e-mail addresses, that person's name is added to your white list as a trusted contact. "The strength of the software lies in its ability to track e-mail and show you where the spam is coming from and who sent it," she says

If someone on your white list should sell the info.myname@name.com address, you delete the offender, and then deactivate the public address and create a new one, let's say information.myname@name.com for future contacts The spammer can no longer reach you via the old public address — you've deleted it. But — and here's the cool part — the rest of the people on your white list can still reach you at the original info.myname@name.com address. You don't have to send e-mail to everyone announcing an e-mail address change.

Guarding SMB Servers
Many SMBs face limited Internet bandwidth and storage space, two areas where spam can become a big problem. EGramPlus eliminates that by not letting unwanted e-mail reach the server in the first place.

Number of UsersAnnual Cost
4-to-10$19.95 per user
11-25$18.95 per user
26-50 $17.95 per person
51-100 $16.95 per person
101-250 $13.95 per person
251-500 $12.95 per person
501-750$11.50 per person
751-1000 $10.95 per person
Over 1000 Contact EGramPlus

For SMBs that have their own server, the EGramPlus program sits behind the company firewall but in front of the SMTP server. Each employee downloads the EGramPlus address manager to individual desktops.

As e-mail arrives, EGramPlus evaluates it checking to see whether the sender is on the white list or from a valid public address. If the mail isn't from either of those two sources, EGramPlus rejects the e-mail and keeps it from accessing the server altogether — saving both bandwidth and storage space.

Setting It Up
The software download and installation process is refreshingly simple. If you can follow a software set-up wizard, then you can handle this task. It's understandable if you're skeptical; so many software companies promise a simple set up that never materializes. But we went through the process easily enough.

In addition to the wizard, EGramPlus' extensive, pain-free tutorial walks you through the entire process. It includes screenshots of each step — everything from setting up your account manager to creating public addresses, to building a white list in Outlook and Outlook Express to managing your public e-mail addresses.

An individual account costs $29.95 per year. For SMBs, pricing for one-to-three people is $69.95. The cost decreases as you add more seats.

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor at SmallBusinessComputing.com

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This article was originally published on Wednesday Jul 21st 2004
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