Cloudmark Desktop review: Cloudmark Desktop

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The Good Excellent accuracy with minimal false positives; works directly inside Outlook and Outlook Express; easy way to report fraudulent mail.

The Bad Average technical support; inconsistent filtering and server performance.

The Bottom Line Cloudmark Desktop is good at stopping spam, but it offers fewer features than either Qurb or MailFrontier.

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6.7 Overall
  • Setup 8
  • Features 7
  • Support 5

Review Sections

Cloudmark Desktop

Like Qurb and MailFrontier, Cloudmark Desktop (formerly known as Cloudmark Safetybar) installs directly inside Outlook and Outlook Express, sifts your mail as it downloads, and shuttles suspected junk into a folder where you can review it later. But while Cloudmark Desktop stops a ton of spam, it's not as flexible, functional, or inexpensive as either of its rivals, and Cloudmark's support leaves much to be desired. Cloudmark Desktop for Outlook has a few unique toolbar features, including a way to report fraudulent e-mail with a single click and a meter that tells you how much time and money using Desktop has saved you, which is just silly. In the antispam horse race, Cloudmark Desktop manages a only respectable third.

Overall, Cloudmark Desktop stopped an impressive 96 percent of spam e-mail in our tests, while trapping less than 4 percent of legitimate messages by mistake. Head-to-head, filtering the same e-mail messages, Qurb 3.0 stopped slightly more spam, though with a higher rate of false positives. However, Cloudmark Desktop's performance was marred by technical glitches. On several occasions Cloudmark's servers were inaccessible, rendering the product useless. (At press time the company issued a new release that appears to have fixed the problem.)

Cloudmark Desktop relies on a community of rabid e-mail users to identify and block spam.

Unfortunately, Cloudmark Desktop provides far less information about its quarantined mail. Qurb displays both the sender's name and actual e-mail address so that you can see if they match, as well as the first few lines of each message. That means Cloudmark Desktop users will spend more time previewing or opening blocked messages to determine whether they're really spam. Cloudmark Desktop also lacks Qurb's built-in search capabilities and its unique Sender Domain Verification feature, which helps guard against phishing e-mail. And MailFrontier offers more blocking customization tools than Cloudmark Desktop.

Support options for Cloudmark Desktop are limited to FAQs, user forums, and Web-based e-mail. When we tried to send an e-mail for support, however, we got stuck in an endless loop, unable to reach the Web-mail form. It turns out our browser's cookie settings were too strict--a fact Cloudmark's site should have warned us about but didn't. After we contacted Cloudmark, the company changed the site so that it would work even when session cookies were blocked, but the site still requires users to enter their personal information twice. When we finally did send e-mail, we got a response in less than a day. Neither Qurb nor MailFrontier offer superb support, but they're still ahead of Cloudmark.

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