Sendmail and Cloudmark

WSJ writes about a deal between the two companies, in an effort to combat spam:

Sendmail says its e-mail systems handle more than half the world’s messages, but many of those systems are running the free, open-source version of the software rather than the paid version. The company has had difficulty getting revenue from the former group of users, but will now, for the first time, sell antispam filters and other add-ons like virus protection to those users.

The pairing underscores the bitter competition in the antispam market, which has exploded along with junk e-mail. By some estimates, more than half of all messages sent are spam. The deal also is a big win for upstart Cloudmark, and a vote of confidence for its unusual method for spotting spam — using feedback from a network of volunteers who mark messages as spam or nonspam.

Yankee Group analyst Phebe Waterfield estimates the corporate market for antispam products this year is $66 million, with an additional $51 million in sales to consumers.

Sendmail will charge $7.60 per user for a company with 5,000 employees, a spokesman said.

“Antivirus is much bigger in terms of dollars,” said Ralph Pisani, vice president of strategic alliances for Sophos Inc., which sells both antispam and antivirus products and was also being considered by Sendmail. “But right now, antispam is the hot topic.” He said that the market is being driven by top corporate executives whose inboxes are being deluged by spam and “are saying, ‘I’m sick and tired of this crap,’ and throwing money at the problem.”

Cloudmark’s uniqueness come s from its technology:

Most of Cloudmark’s competitors use technological approaches to block junk e-mail, like automatically scanning text for typical words or patterns, or blocking messages originating from addresses known to be used by spammers.

But Cloudmark takes a different tack. The nearly 700,000 users of its SpamNet spam-blocking product, which works as an add-on to Microsoft Corp.’s Outlook e-mail program, mark each message as either spam or not spam. Cloudmark’s software transforms such decisions into blocking rules, so that if many people choose to block one e-mail, messages with similar wording sent to other users of the software will also be blocked. Other technology helps identify “mutations” of known spam messages.


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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.