Users Gush over MailFrontier's Anti-Spam

By Baselinemag  |  Posted 2005-03-07 Print this article Print

MailFrontier's software is praised as being effective and useful, even by an otherwise disgruntled customer.

Here's a measure of how much people like MailFrontier's antispam software: Even a customer who says the company misrepresented the terms of its deal with him raves about its product.

Saburo Usami, director of networking at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., says he believed that in return for providing favorable recommendations of MailFrontier's software to other universities, the company would extend the length of his contract without charge—a request, he says, MailFrontier "flatly refused." MailFrontier spokeswoman Deanne Phillips denies that Sacred Heart was ever offered such a deal: "We do not provide compensation of any kind to customers in exchange for favorable recommendations." View the PDF -- Turn off pop-up blockers!

Nevertheless, Usami says he's "very pleased with the MailFrontier suite in all its functionality" and that it has required very little maintenance. "In spite of my poor opinion of their management, the product itself has proved to be robust," he says.

Others say MailFrontier's Gateway Server software has been an unqualified hit. "It's one of the few products we put in that I get praise about from people, because it's helping them do their job," says Bill Zondler, senior director of information technology at biotechnology firm Diversa.

Zondler says MailFrontier's software is very accurate, tagging 84% of incoming e-mail as spam, compared with his company's previous spam-filtering software, from SurfControl, which blocked 60% as junk. SurfControl's system also didn't let users see which messages were being tagged as spam. "It wasn't very comforting for folks," Zondler says. By contrast, MailFrontier lets him send each employee a daily summary at 7 a.m. listing spam the system caught—a feature that has nearly eliminated gripes about lost mail, he says.

And MailFrontier's support is better than its 65-person staff might indicate, says Mike Carnesale, manager of network operations at Burton Snowboards in Burlington, Vt. "You'd never know they were a small vendor," he says. "The professionalism of their sales and support group is outstanding. They really know the product."

Larry Plamann, director of technical support at clothing maker OshKosh B'Gosh, also praises MailFrontier's above-average customer relations: "I give them high marks for everything we've asked of them."

Antispam Systems

1841 Page Mill Rd.,
Palo Alto, CA 94304
(650) 461-7500

TICKER: Privately held


Pavni Diwanji
Chairman, Founder
Previously a product manager for broadband network service provider Excite@Home, which in 1998 acquired Kendara, a search engine startup she founded.

Anne Bonaparte
President, CEO
Joined the company in 2004 as head of marketing and business development; promoted to the top job in June. Prior to that, she headed international operations at security software vendor VeriSign, and has held sales roles at Autodesk and Hewlett-Packard.

Gateway Server software uses statistical analysis, authentication standards and a hierarchical spam-identification system based on human and computer input; optional modules also block viruses and fraudulent e-mail. Gateway Appliance provides the same features in a hardware device.

Reference Checks

OshKosh B'Gosh
Larry Plamann
Dir., Technical Support
(920) 231-8800
Project: Clothing maker in Oshkosh, Wis., replaced a rules-based spam filter with Gateway Server in April 2004 to block spam for 600 employees, cutting weekly administration requirements from 40 hours to less than an hour.

Tamalpais Bank
Erwin Martinez
Project: Five-branch community bank based in San Rafael, Calif., blocks spam for about 50 employees with Gateway Server.

HealthEast Care System
Kristi Reese
Systems Administrator
Project: St. Paul, Minn., health-care system with 5,500 workers installed Gateway Server, reducing complaints of lost mail.

Walter P. Moore
Tom Merkle
Mgr., I.T.
Project: Houston-based engineering and consulting firm installed Gateway Server to block spam and fraud-related e-mails sent to its 350 users.

Bill Zondler
Senior Director, I.T.
(858) 526-5000
Project: San Diego biotechnology firm used Gateway Server to filter 4.6 million spam e-mails out of 5.5 million messages in eight months.

Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Rich Zera
VP, I.T.
Project: University in southeastern Pennsylvania with 9,400 students rolled out Gateway Server in mid-2004; since then, it has blocked 8 million of 10.5 million total messages as spam, with a false-positive rate of 0.2%.

Executives listed here are all users of MailFrontier's products. Their willingness to talk has been confirmed by Baseline.

Financials Revenue, 2003 (est.): $13.4M
Funding to date: $23M in three rounds
Enterprise customers claimed: 900
Individual users claimed: 825,000

New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Menlo Ventures

Major Partners
Cyveillance (fraud detection), Kaspersky Labs (antivirus software), McAfee (antivirus software)
Sources: Company reports, OneSource

Other Enterprise Customers
Financial: AG Edwards & Sons
Manufacturing: Anixter International
Media: CNN, Copley Press, NBC Universal
Retail: CDW, Peet's Coffee & Tea, Pier 1 Imports
Entertainment and Hospitality: San Francisco Giants, Wyndham International
Health Care: Kaiser Permanente, Riverside Health System
Government: State of Oregon Dept. of Corrections

Company Milestones
2002 February: Founded by Pavni Diwanji and Brian Wilson
2003 August: Lands $10 million in second-round funding
October: Announces 100th enterprise customer
2004 June: Names Anne Bonaparte president and CEO


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