Images Events Jobs Premium Services Media Kit Network Map E-mail Offers Vendor Solutions Webcasts
IT Management Webcasts:
The Role of Security in IT Service Management

Preparing for an IT Audit

More Webcasts

Search EarthWeb Network

Be a Commerce Partner
Computer Deals
KVM Switch over IP
Shop Online
Web Hosting Directory
Holiday Gift Ideas
Imprinted Gifts
Imprinted Promotions
Dental Insurance
Desktop Computers
Logo Design
Car Donations
Disney World Tickets
Online Education

Linked Data Planet Conference & Expo

IT Management : Columns : Executive Tech: Whitelists Battle for Market Share

Heroes Happen Here Launch Events
Attend the upcoming launch of three powerful new products, take a test drive, meet the teams, and leave with promotional copies of Windows Server 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2008, and Microsoft Visual Studio 2008. Register here. »

Install What You Need with Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 is Microsoft's most full-featured server operating system yet, so it's ironic that one of its most exciting new features is an install option that cuts out most of the other features. Paul Rubens explores why a Server Core installation makes a great deal of sense in many instances. »

Simplify Big Business IT for Small and Midsize Companies
Windows Small Business Server 2008 and Windows Essential Business Server 2008 deliver all-in-one solutions to help fuel growth for customers and partners. »

Q&A with Bob Muglia: Senior VP, Server and Tools Division
Bob Muglia, senior vice president, Server and Tools Division, discusses Microsoft's new interoperability principles and the steps the company is taking to increase the openness of its products. »

Q&A with Lutz Ziob, GM of Microsoft Learning
Lutz Ziob, the general manager of Microsoft Learning, talks about how IT professionals can become certified heroes within their enterprises by getting trained and certified in Windows Server 2008. »

Related Articles
Make Wireless Easier and More Secure
Record Broken: 82% of U.S. Email is Spam
Proposals Offer Small Steps to Stop Spam
Never Install an Application to a PC Again
Password Protection? Surely You're Joking!
- ITSMWatch Newsletter -
Tech Focus: Security

Cybersecurity: Laws Only Go So Far

Mozilla Firefox vs. Internet Explorer: Which is Safer?

Is Your Blog Leaking Trade Secrets?

The Las Vegas Counterfeiting Story: Is Your Privacy Worth More Than a Poker Chip?

Stopping Spammers at The Point of Sale

Product Watch
IOGEAR KVM - Includes Audio/Peripheral Sharing
Coverity Prevent / Coverity Thread Analyzer - Analyze Source Code For Defects, Security Vulnerabilities
USSD Series - SDRAM-Based Solid State Drives to 256 GB
UltraSMS - Send SMS From Your PC
Sentinel Sensors - Wi-Fi Based Temperature Monitoring Especially For Cold Storage

more products >>

Datamation Definitions
data mining
grid computing
network appliance
FREE Tech Newsletters

SWaP (Space, Watts and Performance). SWaP is the new standard for calculating server efficiency. It's an innovative metric that allows you to calculate the impact of a server in your data center.

Whitelists Battle for Market Share
May 24, 2004
By Brian Livingston

Brian Livingston Everyone always talks about whether their e-mail will get through, but no one ever does anything about it — until recently.

At least two companies are selling access to "whitelists" that promise to get corporate e-mail delivered, bypassing the spam filters now used by Internet service providers (ISPs). Suddenly, this idea is making a breakthrough.

Habeas and Bonder Sender Duke It Out

The two most prominent whitelists are known as Habeas and Bonded Sender. These efforts have been in the works for years, but the market for these offerings got a kick start when Microsoft announced on May 5 that its MSN Hotmail e-mail service will implement Bonded Sender to help it distinguish legitimate e-mail from spam.

Hotmail is a giant win because it's one of the three largest e-mail services in the world. About 45 million subscribers have signed up for Hotmail in the U.S. alone, compared with 52 million Yahoo users and 40 million AOL users, according to a comScore Media Metrix study. So its selection of Bonded Sender is shaking things up in a big way.

With an average of 19 percent of legitimate, opt-in, business-to-consumer e-mail newsletters now being mistakenly filtered out as "junk" by ISPs, corporations are looking for ways to guarantee that their messages will be received. I examined both of the leading solutions to see which of them is the better bet.

Habeas Tries To Shepherd Your Mail

The Habeas system relies on a short string of words — a haiku — that's embedded into each e-mail by senders of "opt-in" mailings. This string is invisible to recipients, but it can clearly by seen by e-mail servers in the "headers" that are used to route all messages across the Internet.

Habeas chose the haiku method because, as a short, copyrighted work, it allows the company to sue bulk e-mailers who use it without permission. A few errant souls actually have, in fact, been successfully sued by Habeas.

Relying on copyright and due process, however, has its limits. Because some hard-to-locate spammers are falsely using the haiku to sneak through filters, Habeas is putting more emphasis on a real-time whitelist of IP addresses that it maintains. The addresses of approved senders, who must agree to send only requested mail, are listed in this online roster of "good guys."

In an interview in his Palo Alto, Calif., offices, Habeas CEO Des Cahill said the new 3.0 version of SpamAssassin — a popular antispam filter that's due to be updated by late spring — will automatically test any message that claims to be Habeas-compliant.

If the IP address of the sender is found on the online whitelist, 8 points will be deducted from its spam score, helping it to pass through the filter. If, however, the address is on the "bad guy" IP list that Habeas also maintains, the message will get a whopping 16 points added to its score. Since a score of 5 is usually enough for SpamAssassin to banish a message as "junk," that's a kiss of death.

Cahill says 30 different antispam software filters currently recognize Habeas' approach and that the whitelist is consulted by such major regional ISPs as RoadRunner. Habeas claims that as many as 40% of the consumer inboxes that businesses usually mail to are affected by its system in some way.

But none of the Big Three e-mail providers — Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL — have officially signed up. That leaves Habeas as something of a hit-or-miss proposition for corporations that rely on e-mail communications.

Bonded Sender Makes the Most of Its Hotmail Roots

Bonded Sender is operated by IronPort Systems, a maker of industrial-strength mail server appliances. A major competitor of Habeas, Bonded Sender requires bulk mail senders to post a cash bond worth several hundred to several thousand dollars, based on volume. Each sender is then required to keep complaints that reach Bonded Sender down to one per month per 1 million e-mails sent. Above that, and a $20 penalty is charged against the bond for each complainant.

One protest per million sounds microscopic. More than one person in a million, after all, probably complains about hearing voices in his head.

But Bonded Sender product manager Richard Dandliker says unfiltered e-mail, including spam, generates only 14 complaints per million (using the company's particular methodology). Corporations that send e-mail only to people who want it can stay well below that number, he said. Only "15 to 20 penalties have been issued this year," Dandliker says.

Before the Hotmail announcement, Bonded Sender's IP address whitelist of reputable senders influenced only 6% to 8% of e-mail inboxes, IronPort Senior Vice President Tom Gillis said in an interview at his San Bruno, Calif., headquarters. But with the addition of Microsoft's giant e-mail service, that number has suddenly shot up to 30%, he says.

Hotmail's participation may not be so surprising, considering that its founders started IronPort after selling Hotmail to Microsoft in 1998. But now that Hotmail is officially on board, Bonded Sender plans to use the giant e-mail service's stamp of approval as a wedge to sell Yahoo, AOL, and other ISPs on the idea, too, Gillis said.

That may not be easy. Unlike Hotmail, Yahoo and AOL have their own well-developed whitelist systems that have been sorting IP addresses into "good guys" and "bad guys" for several years.

But for now, Bonded Sender has enough momentum and market penetration that it just may be able to convince a big swath of the Internet e-mail establishment to join in.


In an ideal world, Internet standards bodies long ago would have worked out how to separate legitimate e-mail senders from the tsunami of spammers.

But lacking an official solution, private companies have taken on the task of building today's "trusted party" lists — and charging to get on them. Until there's a better way, Habeas and Bonded Sender will continue to expand wherever they can, and whichever company covers the most inboxes will win.

Brian Livingston is the editor of and the co-author of Windows Vista Secrets and 10 other books. Send story ideas to him via his contact page. To subscribe free and receive Executive Tech via e-mail, visit our signup page.

Add to your favorites
Add to your browser search box
IE 7 | Firefox 2.0 | Firefox 1.5.x
Receive news via our XML/RSS feed

Executive Tech Archives

Get FREE Intel Resources on Clients!
Microsoft System Center and PCs with Intel Centrino Pro and Intel vPro Processor Technology

Take Business PCs to the Next Level

IT Community Resources



Jupitermedia Corporation has two divisions: Jupiterimages and JupiterOnlineMedia

Jupitermedia Corporate Info

Legal Notices, Licensing, Reprints, & Permissions, Privacy Policy.

Advertise | Newsletters | Tech Jobs | Shopping | E-mail Offers

Whitepapers and eBooks
Microsoft Article: Will Hyper-V Make VMware This Decade's Netscape?
Microsoft Article: 7.0, Microsoft's Lucky Version?
Microsoft Article: Hyper-V--The Killer Feature in Windows Server 2008
Avaya Article: How to Feed Data into the Avaya Event Processor
Microsoft Article: Install What You Need with Windows Server 2008
HP eBook: Putting the Green into IT
Whitepaper: HP Integrated Citrix XenServer for HP ProLiant Servers
Intel Go Parallel Portal: Interview with C++ Guru Herb Sutter, Part 1
Intel Go Parallel Portal: Interview with C++ Guru Herb Sutter, Part 2--The Future of Concurrency
Avaya Article: Setting Up a SIP A/S Development Environment
IBM Article: How Cool Is Your Data Center?
Microsoft Article: Managing Virtual Machines with Microsoft System Center
HP eBook: Storage Networking , Part 1
Microsoft Article: Solving Data Center Complexity with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2007
Intel Video: Are Multi-core Processors Here to Stay?
On-Demand Webcast: Five Virtualization Trends to Watch
HP Video: Page Cost Calculator
Intel Video: APIs for Parallel Programming
HP Webcast: Storage Is Changing Fast - Be Ready or Be Left Behind
Microsoft Silverlight Video: Creating Fading Controls with Expression Design and Expression Blend 2
Downloads and eKits
Sun Download: Solaris 8 Migration Assistant
Sybase Download: SQL Anywhere Developer Edition
Red Gate Download: SQL Backup Pro and free DBA Best Practices eBook
Red Gate Download: SQL Compare Pro 6
Iron Speed Designer Application Generator
Tutorials and Demos
How-to-Article: Preparing for Hyper-Threading Technology and Dual Core Technology
eTouch PDF: Conquering the Tyranny of E-Mail and Word Processors
IBM Article: Collaborating in the High-Performance Workplace
HP Demo: StorageWorks EVA4400
Intel Featured Algorhythm: Intel Threading Building Blocks--The Pipeline Class
Microsoft How-to Article: Get Going with Silverlight and Windows Live