SpamButcher is a next generation anti-spam tool that can filter out most unwanted email.
Free Anti-Spam Download - Click Here!
The End of Spam - Will it Happen?
I recently put forth a few documents detailing how the spam problem might really get solved:
The Ultimate Anti-Spam System Non-Technical Specification
Paying for Email with Computational Time
Paying for Email with Computational Time (Part 2)
I'm not quite so arrogant as to suggest my solution is the only valid one. However, I haven't seen any other anti-spam email schemes that would really address the issue and have at least a reasonable shot at getting deployed.
The system would effectively be "opt-in." If the servers and client involved with an email transaction have "paid" for their messages using computing time, those messages would bypass any existing spam filters. The odds of those messages getting falsely filtered would be zero.
If any of the players don't have the system installed, the email gets processed by the standard spam busters. These filters chew up an unknown amount of legitimate email on a daily basis.
So will it happen?
A large portion of email servers run open source software. If someone decides to code this kind of system up, and throw it in the latest sendmail build - it will start getting deployed.
Email clients are another story. Most people either run Outlook or Outlook Express. A few people use Thunderbird (open source) for email, but it's a minor player. It's possible to deploy the system using only email servers, but the system would work best if end-user systems are forced to pay the "computational postage".
So for this system to get implemented, both Microsoft and open source spam fighters will need to get behind it.
Microsoft has proposed a system to stop spam mail very similar to what I've described. On the other hand, they have a long track record of wanting to shove their proprietary standards down everyone's throats.
I give it a 50% chance of happening in the next five years.