Once, many years ago, I did a foolish thing. I wrote a quick little spam filtration forwarder and opened it up to the public. As far as I can tell, I was the first person to have done so.
The year was 1999, and the Boom was in full swing. My plan was simple: (1) write a free online service, (2) ???, and (3) profit!!! As you no doubt can surmise, #2 never really happened, let alone #3. But from 1999 to sometime in 2005, I kept that thing running, through three servers, four household moves, and a growth in userbase from two to a few thousand (if I recall correctly).
Then: the server died. I mean, it died suddenly and irretrievably, and I (never much of a stickler for formalities) had not backed it up. Ever. I'd simply moved it from place to place while intending fully to back it up, and all the old machines were broken into their constituent materials by that time. As I was going through some serious financial woes, and as my wife and I had found that our son has a kidney disorder, my priorities were clear. Despammed.com was superfluous.
But it nagged at me. Despammed.com lived on in my heart, even though its DNS entries pointed to an IP now occupied by some calendar service thing. (Which was weird.) And then I found a not-too-dusty copy of the HTML. And last month I found relatively good copies of the filtration software. I still don't have the user database or the administration/registration code or the statistics or the filter databases or, really, anything. But what the heck. I put it back online anyway. I'm nearly positive I'm going to live to regret it.
But I still feel a warm holiday glow. I'm giving back to the community again. Merry Christmas to all of you! And if Despammed.com breaks into your house wanting to eat your brains, remember: a headshot is mandatory.
I finally took the plunge, after 8 years. All vivtek.com mail is now going through the Despammed filters. I just couldn't take the sheer mass of spam any more. (I get more than 1000 email spam messages a day and yes, for 8 years I've sorted through them by hand. Did I mention I read quickly? But lately I've been letting the spam slush pile get too big. Time for a change.)
There are some issues I still want to address -- like setting up a whitelist for customers to be on the very safe side -- but I have to say that the drop in spam in my actual Inbox has been (1) incredible and (2) so worth it.