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Author Topic: AntispamSniper For The Bat!  (Read 24841 times)
Innuendo
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« on: May 27, 2009, 03:31:14 PM »

Basic Info

App NameAntispamSniper For The Bat!
App URLhttp://www.antispamsniper.com
App Version Reviewed3.2.0.6
Test System SpecsWindows 7
Supported OSesWindows NT/2000/XP/Vista x86/x64
Support MethodsForum, Email
Upgrade PolicyFree Lifetime Upgrades
Trial Version Available?Commercial Version: 30-Day Trial
Pricing Scheme$19.95 Per License
Relationship btwn. Reviewer and Product None, other than being a customer


1. Introduction

Once a person starts using the internet sooner or later one will reach out to another person or a company by giving this entity one's email address. There is nothing inherently wrong with this notion. Each of us craves contact with others and having one's email address in the right hands makes our lives easier and more enjoyable. However, invariably, sooner or later disaster is going to strike. Your email address is going to appear in front of someone who does not have your best interests at heart and the spam flood gates are going to be opened targeting your email account with more offers to lower your mortgage payments, correct your erectile dysfunction, and sell you as many fake degrees you need to cover any amount of wall space in your office and home. This, of course, is unacceptable, and if left unchecked will soon render your email account less than useless.

Many on this forum swear by the powerful email program known as The Bat!. It can keep track of literally tens of thousands of emails with nary a slow-down in performance while sorting and displaying your messages in almost any way possible. One may argue, though, that its true glaring weakness in email management is its utter lack of any practical way to deal with spam out of the box. Fortunately, there are many different choices for spam management available both as stand-alone programs and more specialized applications that make use of The Bat!'s plugin system. This review is is an analysis of one tool that can help stem the tide of useless crap into one's inbox.

Today I am going to be reviewing one of those specialized plugins called AntispamSniper for The Bat! by Good Vein Software. The author also offers versions of AntispamSniper for Outlook, Outlook Express, and Windows Mail, but this review will be focused on the version for The Bat! The flavor of AntispamSniper written for The Bat! differs from the versions for the other email clients in that it is the only one to offer both commercial and free versions of the plugin. The other email clients only have commercial versions.

While this review is going to be discussing the commercial version of the plugin most features discussed are available in the free version. I'll outline the differences later.

2. Installation

Installing AntispamSniper For The Bat! is a fairly simple affair. Running the executable downloaded from the author's web site presents the familiar install wizard found with installing most Windows software which allows you to choose the installation directory for the program. Once this is done it's a simple matter to make the plugin visible to The Bat!.



The above image shows The Bat!'s anti-spam configuration screen. Clicking the Add button will bring up a browse dialog so that you can point The Bat to Antispamsniper.tbp which will be in the directory to which you earlier installed AntispamSniper For The Bat!. Once this is done the Configure and Delete buttons on the configuration screen will no longer be greyed out and will allow you to configure and delete the plugin respectively.

3. Configuration

AntispamSniper For The Bat! offers a rich arsenal of weapons to combat spam. All one need do is configure and tweak the preferences to suit your tastes.



The above image shows AntispamSniper For The Bat!'s filtering tab which allow you to view and change the myriad of options at your disposal for fighting spam.

Training:



White list of addresses:



White rules:



White list exceptions:



Black list of addresses:



Black Rules:



Stop Words For Subjects:



DNSBL:



URIBL:



Attachment Rules:



Antiphishing:



SpamNet:



While most of these option screens are fairly straight-forward it is important to point out that both the white and black lists of email addresses allow use of the asterisk as a wildcard and that the white and black rules allow matching against regular expressions.



The accounts tab as shown above allows the user to configure which email accounts will be monitored and whether or not to filter SSL connections.



The options tab as you can see lays out where AntispamSniper For The Bat stores its configuration folder, the language of the interface, program shortcuts, proxy, and a neat synchronization feature which allows you to have all the computers on your network use the same trainable database and whitelist.



The About screen shows the usual programming credits, support options, product web page, and a setting that allows the program to automatically check for updates.

4. Usage

Fortunately, using AntispamSniper For The Bat! is a lot easier than configuring it. Extreme accuracy in detecting spam will not happen till your email habits have been learned and you have trained the system, but even with no training AntispamSniper For The Bat! is using your configured options. Just the black list and DNSBL settings will trap most spam.

Training the plugin is easy. If a spam message misses detection just right-click on it and select "Mark as Junk" from the context menu. Its characteristics will be learned and the message will be moved to the Junk Mail folder. Training for messages that are mistaken for spam but are not is a similar process. Just right-click on the message in the Junk Mail folder and select "Mark as Not Junk" from the context menu. You can then move the misclassified message to the folder you wish to store it.

Users of the commercial version are given the convenience feature of an AntispamSniper toolbar added to The Bat!'s regular toolbar.



Icons on the toolbar from left to right are Mark As Junk, Mark As Not Junk, View Log, Testing Mode, Delete Spam, and Options.

5. Testing and Results

As you can see AntispamSniper For The Bat! has an impressive array of options and settings. One could say there were almost too many settings, but the important question to ask is are this mix of tools and resources effective at performing the job they set out to do?

While I am sure there are probably some synthetic anti-spam tests available somewhere I'm also equally sure that they are probably no substitute for real-world testing. The old adage goes that one picture is worth a thousand words so without further delay I present a screen capture of my AntispamSniper For The Bat! statistics tab.



The first thing I'd like to point out in this image is towards the bottom. These statistics have been ongoing since February 2nd, 2006. That's well over three years of data represented in these stats. As you can see that during that time period there has been a total error rate of roughly one-sixth of one percent. Further breaking that down there has been roughly one-half of one percent in false negatives and less than one-tenth of one percent in false positives.

Granted, over the span of three years the trained database has made these figures as good as they are, but straight out of the box with no training the statistics were not much worse than what they are now. Regardless, with such statistics I think nearly everyone would agree that they are very good & some may even dare say they were impressive.

6. Versions: Commercial vs. Free

The chart below outlines the differences between the commercial (pro) and free versions of AntispamSniper For The Bat!



7. Conclusion

While AntispamSniper For The Bat! is one of the most powerful and effective anti-spam solutions on the market it is not without its drawbacks. Near-infinite options may confuse a non-expert and one is limited in which email clients one can use with this solution. However, if one takes into consideration its numerous advantages such as near-100% accuracy, a one-time entry fee with lifetime upgrades, and being able to tap into the huge anti-spam database known as SpamNet the benefits of becoming a registered user of this product becomes clear. This last statement is especially true once one discovers that SpamNet sells its own anti-spam solution that taps into the SpamNet database which costs $39.95 per year.

If you are a user of The Bat!, but find its anti-spam features lacking and would like a comprehensive, effective toolbox to keep your inbox clean then AntispamSniper For The Bat! is worthy of your attention.


The reviewer has no affiliation with the company who sells this program or the software author other than being a satisfied customer. No exclamation points were harmed during the writing of this review.
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mouser
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2009, 03:46:23 PM »

Wonderful mini-review!

You've actually inspired me to try AnispamSniper again.. I tried it a year ago and was overwhelmed by the options (just as you point out when describing it's drawback).  I just felt lost and it didn't work as well as i hoped out of the box.  But i'm willing to try it again.
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superboyac
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« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2009, 04:50:02 PM »

Great job, Innuendo!  I love AntiSpam Sniper also, I have used it ever since I got the Bat!
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fenixproductions
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« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2009, 05:24:47 PM »

Great job indeed.
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Надо было учиться, а не камни в школу бросать...
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f0dder
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« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2009, 05:58:00 PM »

Suggestion: I would reduce the screenshots a bit, especially the ones that are either obvious (whitelist, blacklist) or don't by themselves tell much to somebody who doesn't already know what the feature is (DNSBL, URIBL), or could be summarized in less space with text (antiphishing).

Pictures are nice, but imho it makes the review a bit long, and some of the screen space would be better used for a short summary of/introduction to the mentioned feature.

Other than that, nice job - and a great program. I've used AntiSpamSniper (free version) for a while myself and have been pretty pleased with it.
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- carpe noctem
Innuendo
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« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2009, 06:17:10 PM »

Mouser, thank you for the kind words. If you (or anyone) has any questions regarding features in AntispamSniper For The Bat! I'd be more than happy to explain away any confusion.

f0dder, I agree. The pictures do make the review a bit long. Just no other way was going to show the full breadth of features and options of this program. And yes, I did skimp on some of the option descriptions for fear of the review becoming a techie alphabet soup.

I'll take the constructive criticism to heart, though. This was my first review. Ever. I'll improve in time, I think. I'm surprised I even managed to get the screenshots in the proper order.  Wink
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Dormouse
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« Reply #6 on: May 27, 2009, 06:45:56 PM »

I think the pictures are good. One way of keeping them, but reducing the space they take is to combine some of the adjacent screenshots into a single image and load that into the review.
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superboyac
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« Reply #7 on: May 27, 2009, 06:52:54 PM »

There's also the thumbnail feature.  i use that a lot in my reviews.
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mouser
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« Reply #8 on: May 27, 2009, 06:54:42 PM »

to clarify what superboyac is saying you can change "attach" to "attachthumb" to use thumbnails -- no need to reupload any of the files, etc.

but i think the review is fine as it is -- i think screenshots help one to follow along.
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Vetaltm
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« Reply #9 on: May 27, 2009, 09:12:41 PM »

Hello, I'm the author of AntispamSniper. This is a nice review, thank you Innuendo!

You've actually inspired me to try AnispamSniper again.. I tried it a year ago and was overwhelmed by the options (just as you point out when describing it's drawback).  I just felt lost and it didn't work as well as i hoped out of the box.  But i'm willing to try it again.
I understand your feelings, because the program looks a bit more complex from the inside smiley But the latest version, with the features added during last year (SpamNet, URIBL, additional rules), provides good filtering quality even without touching the settings. And in most cases it is not necessary to dig all options for reaching 99% quality. It is enough to mark some amount of saved messages as spam and ham. The plug-in will update the content classification database and white/black lists of addresses. Filling the white list at maximum is most important, because this allows to avoid the false positives. After the initial training the plug-in should classify incoming mail with at least 95% quality, and the number of mistakes becomes lower as you mark the misclassified mail as spam and ham and use auto-training. The classification results are displayed in Filtering log, and it is possible to see the spam ratios for each message and the reasons of classifying a message as 100% spam or ham.
The advanced settings, e.g. RegExp based rules, are useful for those who receive hundreds or even thousands of spam messages every day. Using the customized set of rules it is possible to block most of spam on the server, without downloading the message body.

BTW, I'd like to give some number of free licenses for the commercial version of TheBat plug-in to the honored members of this site and a discount coupon for others. Please let me know how to make this properly. Thanks!


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mouser
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« Reply #10 on: May 27, 2009, 09:16:59 PM »

Welcome Vetaltm!  thumbs up thumbs up

Great to have you drop by smiley

I think just by looking at the screenshots you can see this is software made by people who love to program.. and that's always something we appreciate here.

I'll contact you about the discount stuff in private message.

-mouser (jesse)
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Innuendo
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« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2009, 09:18:53 PM »

That was my thinking as well, Mouser. There are just so many options that without screenshots a person not familiar with the program will get lost. I don't think I have ever run across an anti-spam program with so many settings. Bundling some screenshots into collective images was also an idea, but again, I did not want to confuse.

Mouser suggested I email the author of this program and ask for perhaps a discount for DC members and maybe some licenses to give away and his reply was very receptive to the idea so he should be emailing Mouser soon to iron out the details for DC members getting some goodies.

Next review, if there is one, I think I'll tackle a less ambitious product....maybe something with just one setting: on/off. Wink

EDIT: Seems the program author posted while I was writing this. Let's be nice to him, gang. He's truly a talented programmer.

And thank you for the compliment, Vetaltm!
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mouser
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« Reply #12 on: May 27, 2009, 09:46:23 PM »

so far so good -- however one setting i immediately changed is that by default its set to filter spam at the SERVER level while reading pop3 headers.  I'm not sure that should really be the default for a new user who is unsure about false positives..

i set all of my accounts to filter after downloading -- that way i can easily check the junk mail folder and make sure nothing has been marked as spam when it shouldnt be.
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Vetaltm
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« Reply #13 on: May 28, 2009, 12:01:07 AM »

so far so good -- however one setting i immediately changed is that by default its set to filter spam at the SERVER level while reading pop3 headers.  I'm not sure that should really be the default for a new user who is unsure about false positives..

i set all of my accounts to filter after downloading -- that way i can easily check the junk mail folder and make sure nothing has been marked as spam when it shouldnt be.
By default the plug-in uses only DNSBL and black rules for blocking spam on the server. This is a reliable procedure, and the probability of false positives with default rule set and 3 minimum hits for a sender IP is nearly zero. Also it is possible to restore the mistakenly blocked mail from Filtering log. The plug-in keeps the blocked messages on the server for 7 days (adjustable parameter from Filtering log settings). So you wont lose a good message even it is received from blacklisted IP, with unknown sender and a word "viagra" in subject smiley
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mouser
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« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2009, 12:48:58 AM »

makes sense.. the log is really great and there are a lots of nice features and details.
i still think that unless you are undergoing thousands of spam emails all at once under some kind of attack, it might be safer to operate in "download-to-client" mode until you are comfortable with making sure you don't lose mail to false positives.  i guess i'm always paranoid about false positives getting lost forever.

so far it's working great here and i think i'll purchase this when my trial runs out.

well let's say i'm definitely going to purchase it now that i've gotten word from Vetaltm that we will have a 50% discount for DC members coming up in a couple days  Thmbsup Thmbsup Thmbsup yay!

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mouser
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« Reply #15 on: May 28, 2009, 02:02:26 AM »

someone should point out that versions of this tool also exists for Outlook, Outlook Express, and Windows Mail.
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Dormouse
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« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2009, 03:35:04 AM »

someone should point out that versions of this tool also exists for Outlook, Outlook Express, and Windows Mail.

I thought they did.

The author also offers versions of AntispamSniper for Outlook, Outlook Express, and Windows Mail, but this review will be focused on the version for The Bat!

 smiley
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« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2009, 06:05:35 AM »

I have a now-out-of-date license for Mailwasher, giving up on it because it was tiresome and repetitive to train.  Kept checking everything on the server, not just new messages.  I went on to Magic Mail Monitor, which is rules-based but not Bayesian, and that's worked well for me so far.  But I'd take a look at AntispamSniper for TheBat! if it was on DC offer.   Wink

[Edit]
FAST service!  Discount copy ordered!  smiley  Thanks, folks!
[/Edit]

Nicely formatted discount announcement, mouser...
« Last Edit: May 28, 2009, 10:31:10 AM by rjbull » Logged
mwfuss
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« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2009, 09:56:52 AM »

Excellent review. I have used AntispamSniper for TheBat! [pad version] for several years now and I am fully satisfied with the job that it does of keeping my inbox spam free.
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mouser
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« Reply #19 on: May 28, 2009, 11:37:26 AM »

50% discount for donationcoder supporting members available through July, 2009

Discount announcement posted here:
http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=18500.0
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Innuendo
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« Reply #20 on: May 28, 2009, 12:23:59 PM »

Yes, I did mention that AntispamSniper was available for other clients, but what I did forget to mention was make sure you stop by the AntispamSniper forum & read one of the new version announcements. At the bottom of each one is a link to some black list rules you can download to import into AntispamSniper to make it even better.
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Enzomaticus
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« Reply #21 on: May 29, 2009, 08:01:24 AM »

I don't often (maybe ever ohmy) buy software as a result of a forum review or discount but today I did. Good job guys, for making me aware of this one and persuading me to take advantage of the DC discount. I looked at it a while back but just felt it would be too much effort to set up. You convinced me otherwise.
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herneith
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« Reply #22 on: May 29, 2009, 09:58:00 AM »

I purchased AntispamSniper for the bat using the discount coupon.  When I tried to purchase it for Outlook, I got a 'invalid coupon code'.  Does the coupon only work for The Bat! version at this time?
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SKWilliams
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mouser
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« Reply #23 on: May 29, 2009, 10:09:34 AM »

it should work on all -- let me ask vitaly to look into it.

Just checked it myself and discount code seems to work on every version, so i'm not sure why it was giving you that error.

Let's continue this discussion on the discount thread though.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2009, 10:14:23 AM by mouser » Logged
drking
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« Reply #24 on: May 29, 2009, 02:46:36 PM »

to clarify what superboyac is saying you can change "attach" to "attachthumb" to use thumbnails -- no need to reupload any of the files, etc.

but i think the review is fine as it is -- i think screenshots help one to follow along.

I agree 100%. The screenshots I felt were necessary seeing the somewhat complexity of the product.  After reading this review i immediately purchased this for my theBat! (which I happily learned of via this awesome site) and was glad to have the easy-to-read screenshots to take me through setting it up.  I think it defintely helps people like me who are not as technical minded and visual as well.  :-)      Many thanks Innuendo!

drking
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