Maybe what I’m about to describe already exists, so here’s my idea, starting with some context on what is the problem to solve.
Currently, I’m able to set spam filters as a set of local rules in my e-mail client (Outlook 2002) or at the server level, as you can do at Hotmail or Yahoo. Regarding these two, it took me only a few weeks at both to reach the maximum amount of addresses they’ll store as spammers and block for me. I didn’t reach such a limit yet with Outlook, but these local rules don’t work when I use another machine or e-mail client (such as the browser).
Microsoft still doesn’t get how much new spam you’re forcefed every day when you run your own web server with its public email addresses. To add an address to the block list, you right-click on the guilty email. Well, guess what, that doesn’t work on multi selections! Alternatively, you have a silly dialog box where you can add addresses one by one. Hello? Do you add virus signatures manually to your anti-virus software?
Here’s what I’d like: an Internet server that would store all the addresses I want to block. It should be standard-based (as in XML blah blah blah), so that eventually most email servers and clients would be able to tap into it, and feed it with new addresses as I want to add them. Think of it as your "anti-contact" list. Maybe you could exchange spammer lists with other people or sources you trust (because you don’t want to accidentally filter someone you want e-mail from).
I’d rather avoid having another software to run or to change my habits. I just want a web service to store undesirable addresses at, that I could use across all (major) clients and e-mail accounts. I would pay a few bucks a year for that. Am I missing something? If I look at most products listed as supporting MAPS RBL, they’re server-based and don’t address my home-based multi-account end-user problem. Freedom is client-based but it’s not clear how it integrates with several applications and accounts. Where is the billionaire in waiting to help me fight my own spam war?
12/04/01 update: Vipul’s Razor, "a distributed, collaborative, spam detection and filtering network".
01/04/02 update: How to Make Money From Spam (Legally and Ethically!)
02/09/02 update: Tracking spam to the source.
06/23/02 update: Cloudmark SpamNet.