Lies, damn lies and Microsoft spam-filter stats

Spam! (freezelight@Flickr)

Microsoft is crowing about a study that it says shows Hotmail having better spam filtering than Gmail or Yahoo. Really? If that's the case, then there's been a huge turnaround in Hotmail's spam-filtering accuracy. Is there any Devil in the detail? Of course there is, outlined here in The Long View...

By Richi Jennings.

On Monday, Microsoft's Dick Craddock, the group program manager of Hotmail, published a blog post crowing about Hotmail's spam filtering performance. In it, he claims that the typical effectiveness of the filter is better than 97%. Aside from the fact that 97% is hardly a state-of-the-art effectiveness rate, there are many aspects of the study methodology that just don't add up.

Where's the legitimate email?

Spam filters don't just filter out spam, they also filter in legitimate email. It's about correctly categorizing email of both types, not just removing the bad stuff.

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