Keeping the spam out of your inbox: SpamBlocker from 2011 TED Fellow Yale Fox


Like many of you, I’ve been getting increasingly frustrated by spam emails in my inbox. So I was quite interested to hear from Yale Fox, a 2011 TED Fellow, about a new project of his: a Google Chrome extension called SpamBlocker. It basically does what it says on the tin – allowing you to block any email address you want at the click of a button. The project took 5 weeks to develop. In user-testing, Yale and his team found that domain blocking, which they had as a feature early on, resulted in some glitches but those are are currently being worked on – I can see this being useful; after all spammers are an unscrupulous lot with multiple email addresses at their disposal. Another feature in the pipeline is allowing  users to vote on the features they want developed next.



While Gmail does a good job at making your inbox more manageable (especially with Tabbed Inbox), it doesn’t remove the problem of spam altogether. That’s what this Gmail hack hopes to do. I’ve tried it for the last couple of days and it works great.

Currently compatible with Gmail and Chrome on OS X, Windows and Linux, Yale plans to add Firefox support early next week. Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail and other browsers will hopefully all be tackled in due course.

Pricing is, and will be, completely free, with the option for users to donate. When donations do come in, they will be split with Animal Haven, a charity in New York. I particularly like Yale’s philosophy: ‘everything should have a cause attached to it’.

In addition to his TED pedigree, Yale is also a professional DJ but he’s changing tacks to software development as a route to making people’s live better. He says it’s ‘all part of a bigger picture’.

I’ll be watching him in his endeavours and wish him all the best.

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