How is MXRate different from other DNS blacklists?

First, MXRate is not a blacklist in the traditional sense. Rather, it is better defined as a Sender Reputation Database. There are dozens anti-spam databases, blacklists, and DNS tests available. Many are typically built and maintained from reports from individual users who receive unwanted email. Others are built from more automated procedures such as maintaining "spam traps" which are email accounts specifically set up to "attract" spam. We feel that there is a basic problem with these in that they are either too subjective, or do not accurately reflect a valid sample of real world spam activity. We have used some of these databases ourselves in the past, and while they were effective to a point, there were lots of inaccuracies and stale records.

Our approach is to obtain statistically relevant samplings from a large assortment of "real-life" email addresses receiving a wide variety of messages. By applying the same objective standards to each message, and analyzing the results centrally, we believe we can achieve results with more relevancy. We have designed our database to be completely dynamic and it will change constantly from one hour to the next. Because of this we have achieved a highly accurate database that contains up to the minute data on current, active spammers. By downgrading or discarding data on inactive spammers, data on current spammers becomes more accurate and trustworthy.

How effective is MXRate?

MXRate is as effective as you tell it to be. Because you can set the the probability levels, you can be as aggressive or safe as you like. Depending on the probability threshold you select for rejection, and the amount of spam you receive, you can expect to receive bandwidth savings of up to 95%. The false positive rate generally runs at less than .03% which equates to less than 3 false positives in 10,000 messages. Also, because you can reject messages by country of origin, you can completely eliminate all spam originating from countries from which you never expect to receive legitimate email.

How does MXRate work?

MXRate is a complete but very compact, locally installed application suite for MS Windows. It will run on any Windows platform that supports NT services. It includes a proprietary, specially designed DNS server, an automated database updater service, and a user GUI for quick and easy configuration. Every 60 minutes, the database updater service automatically connects to our servers and downloads the latest MXRate database. The MXRate database is a very efficient, high speed proprietary system that is specially designed to be used by the MXRate DNS server. Any mail server or anti-spam add in that supports DNS "blacklists" can query the MXRate database. Because it is installed locally on your network, lookups are lightning fast, and you never have to worry about connectivity issues to remote DNS systems.

NO DNS CHANGES NEEDED. We have even taken the hassles out of setting up MXRate as a DNS server on your network. If you are familiar with DNS servers, you know that setting up a DNS server is not an easy task, and it can take 24 hours or longer to update DNS records so that your server can be used. We have set up a special DNS server for the exclusive use of MXRate subscribers. We can set up a DNS query domain record for you and you can be up in running in just a few minutes.

Note: We also offer high speed/high bandwidth redundant commercial DNS servers at our location that work exactly the same as public DNS services for subscribers who do not wish to run the MXRate services locally.

How reliable is MXRate?

MXRate is extremely reliable. Since it runs locally on your own server, it is not subject to slow down because of high traffic, spammer attacks, denial of service attacks, etc. In the past year, several public DNS blacklist servers decided to cease operations because of distributed, organized DOS attacks that crippled their servers. This can never happen with MXRate, because it runs locally and you can use Windows native security options to determine the visibility of your installation. Additionally, we have located our database download locations in off-site clusters directly on redundant backbones for extremely high availability.

What are other major features of MXRate?

In addition to determining the senders reputation through historical data, MXRate also lets you define countries of origin that you will accept mail from, or countries you want to deny mail from. Additionally, you can specify address exclusions by address or range to immediately override our database entries if this is ever needed. No other DNS system in the world can provide these extremely valuable functions. We also have utilities available for creating "roll-your-own" DNS zone files from out database for subscribers that run their own DNS black list servers. Please contact us for more information.

Will MXRate work with my mail server?

Probably, yes. Most current mail server products and anti-spam add-ins include support for DNS blacklists. They may refer to these as "Black Hole Lists", IP4R tests, or DNSBL. These products include Communigate Pro, Courier, Declude, Eudora Server, Exim, Groupwise, IMail, iPlanet, Lotus Notes/Domino, Merak Mail, Microsoft Exchange 2003, MailSite, Postfix, QMail, Sendmail, SmarterMail, and SpamAssassin. There are also various plug-in products for earlier versions of MS Exchange that provide this capability as well.

Alligate and MXRate are trademarks of Solid Oak Software, Inc.
Copyrightę Solid Oak Software, Inc. 2005