I originally wrote the Despammed filter in 1999, and launched the free service shortly after that, after adding a crude Web-based mail client for people who wanted to avoid even supplying a forwarding address. I don't have actual figures (they're probably in some ancient email archive), but over the next few years I learned a lot about how to manage relatively busy mail servers (and far more about how not to.)

Our business plan, which was essentially (1) make a free spam filter, (2) ???, (3) profit, resulted in a conspicuous lack of profit, but I didn't care much, because I enjoyed both the spam analysis and the karma. Eventually, we outgrew the donated Webspace we had available, and built a machine hosted elsewhere, for a pretty good price. That machine served us well for years, and while the spam load continued to grow, I streamlined things more and more, and we kept up with the growth pretty well.

Real Life intervened, as my programming business failed and I built a technical translation business in its stead, and our son was diagnosed with kidney disease. I didn't precisely neglect Despammed, but when the machine crashed and I had no backup, I just didn't have the energy or wherewithal to do anything about it. That was in late 2005.

In early 2006, though, I had things sufficiently together that I decided to revive Despammed when I discovered a backup of the codebase which I had forgotten. I put the site onto donated space again, then soon thereafter moved both and onto a new server hosted at Prices had fallen to the point where that was even thinkable, I'm happy to say.

A few of my old users have trickled in since then, and I handle truly staggering amounts of spam to closed and unknown addresses. It's been quite instructive. I keep telling myself I want to get more proactive about spam filtration, but most of my free time has been going into the modbot for forum spam instead. But Despammed is still there, still filtering spam pretty well, and any day now I'm sure it'll start producing some profit.

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