Marvin RE: Best Way Blocking Spams

Adam Maloney adamm at
Mon Apr 28 20:18:17 PDT 2003

> Yikes, my jaw hit the floor when I saw the prices for Marvin.

Call us, or e-mail me privately, and we can work on the price if it's such
an issue.  The pricing is very much in-line with the other commercial
products available, and it is cheaper than home-brewing such a complete
solution yourself.

> What makes it so much better than SpamAssassin that it's worth that
> price?

SA is one tool - if you look at our stats, it doesn't even account for
half of the spam that gets stopped.  We've added 3 new modules in less
than a year, as the existing ones become less effective.  What if SA stops
being maintained? Who guarantees that it will still be effective in 6
months?  What if you have customers that don't want content-based
filtering?  Who are you to decide at what score mail is blocked?  What
about the customer that wants the Viagra e-mails - how does he exclude
just the Viagra SA rules from his score?

> Personally, I don't see how a host could afford that and why they would
> want to pay a monthly fee with the availability of databases like
> spamcop, GPL programs like SpamAssassin, Razor, MailScanner, Bogofilter
> etc.

There are many who have justified the cost, after trying the tools in the
public domain.

So implement the DNS-based blacklists, SA, and Razor across the board for
your mailboxes, and see what kind of response you get from your customers.  
You'd be surprised how many people don't agree with how these tools decide
to block mail.  MAPS, SA and Razor are great examples.

Take it even further - tell your customers to buy the OE plugins for these
tools, or run their own mailservers.  The price per domain goes up quite a
bit.  What about NT-based shops, where most of the popular unix-centric
anti-spam tools aren't available to them?

There are enough Marvin users around for me to say that the cost certainly
justifies the value.

> That costs more than all of my other overhead combined, per domain that
> I host.

Are you going to offer per-mailbox and per-domain configuration?  How are
your users going to retrieve blocked messages, and how long will you keep
them?  How much will you spend on a RAID to house spam for 60 days for all
of your customers?

Double check your numbers before you calculate overhead.  

Another ISP here in town implemented SA for it's entire customer base, and
they eventually moved to Postini because their mail cluster couldn't
handle the load.

Yet another ISP put RBL in place across the board, and had hundreds of
calls from customers complaining about legitimate e-mail being blocked
because the sender's ISP was listed, and MAPS wouldn't remove them from
the list.  Explaining Spamcop, ORBS, or MAPS' view of collateral damage is
not a fun conversation with a customer that is losing business because of
your anti-spam tools.

Food for thought.  Seriously, if you don't think the price is justified,
I'd like to hear more.

Adam Maloney
Systems Administrator
Sihope Communications

> ------------------------------
> Message: 10
> Date: Sat, 26 Apr 2003 10:59:09 -0500 (CDT)
> From: Adam Maloney <adamm at>
> Subject: RE: Best Way Blocking Spams
> To: freebsd-isp at
> Message-ID:
> 	<Pine.BSI.4.05L.10304261054090.28662-100000 at>
> Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
> This is somewhat of a shameless plug, but since it's on topic I think
> it's appropriate.
> We are a Minneapolis based ISP.  We didn't like any of the current
> solutions available, so we developed our own.  It's similar to Postini,
> but we've put a lot of thought into it which makes it very ISP-centric,
> so I like it better.  And it runs on FreeBSD.
> We have a specific pricing structure for service providers who want to
> provide it to their customers.
> It is a commercial solution, but if anyone is looking for another "hands
> off" approach like Troy mentioned, check
> Adam Maloney
> Systems Administrator
> Sihope Communications
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> freebsd-isp at mailing list
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