Sendio Has New Take On An Old Approach To Conquering Spam

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The arrest of alleged "spam king" Robert Alan Soloway last week again put spam in the spotlight. With global spam volumes reaching up to 80 billion messages sent per day, many would argue it never left.

That's where Irvine, Calif.-based Sendio comes in, said vice president of marketing Tim Lee-Thorp.

Sendio's I.C.E. Box appliance uses a simple Sender Address Verification (SAV) protocol, Lee-Thorp said. When the I.C.E. Box receives an e-mail from an address it doesn't know, it sends the message back and asks the mailer to confirm that he or she is a human being. The bot-nets that allegedly generate spam for the Soloways of the world don't respond and, therefore, are turned away.

"We block 100 percent of spam, with zero false positives," Lee-Thorp said, adding that vendors of traditional spam filters can't say the same.

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VARs can deploy the I.C.E. Box on a subscription plan at $3 per mailbox, per month, and depending on volumne that cost can drop to less than $1, Lee-Thorp said. Alternatively, they can buy the appliance for $1,995.

Sendio's three-tier partner program offers 25 points for referrals, 30 for authorized resellers and 35 for VARs moving more than $50,000 in product a year.

Yet Tom MacArthur, president of Storbase, a Waltham, Mass.-based e-mail and Web security solution provider, isn't sold on Sendio's challenge-response approach to reining in spam.

"I've sold anti-spam solutions to over 800 companies. Never once has one considered a challenge-response solution," MacArthur said.

Other solution providers, though, have found a demand for the I.C.E. Box.

"We had worked with the filter-type products in the past. So moving to an SAV appliance was a challenge. But once we saw it working in action, it was a revelation," said John Olson, owner of OSK, a King-of-Prussia, Pa.-based VAR.

"We've got 10 boxes out there that we've sold or deployed. That represents maybe 20 percent to 25 percent of our overall customer base," Olson said.

Wayne Candy, owner of Toronto-based mobile solution provider Mobilizz, said spam filters' problems with false positives make Sendio's product a viable alternative.

"Spam isn't projected to get any better or less in volume. The whole issue has created a great lack of confidence in the e-mail system. But the problem with filters is the number of false positives that get caught in filters," Candy said.

"[The I.C.E. Box] is a great product, purely based on its simplicity and the complete elimination of the false positive issue. Once we can move the IT sector off the spam-filtering idea and over to the challenge-response and they understand the simple effectiveness of it, they will become believers very rapidly," he said.