Barracuda Spam Filter Outlook Plug-in: Who Coded This Thing?

Poorly-written software ticks me off. Big time. There’s nothing worse than using a piece of software that performs poorly, or worse, bring instability to your whole computer system. Barracuda Networks has a server-side spam-blocking solution that works quite well and has been implemented by my hosted Exchange provider – but only once it’s been trained with 200 good (ham) and bad (spam) email messages. That’s 400 messages in total. How do you train it the fastest? By installing an Outlook plugin that gives you a little green check-mark icon and a red “x” icon. You select the messages you want to train, click the button…and watch Outlook 2003 completely lock up for several minutes. When an email comes in, Outlook 2003 and my entire PC also lock up for 10-30 seconds. Every. Single. Time. It drives me nuts. The other day I decided to try and get in touch with someone from Barracuda Networks to find out if they had a new plug-in coming out, perhaps one that would work with Outlook 2007 and suck less. Here’s the transcript from the online chat tool they offer for communication with customers.

Jason Dunn: When will there be an updated Outlook plugin released?

You are now speaking with Ann of sales.

Ann: Hi, Is this for your Spam Firewall?

Jason Dunn: No, for the Outlook client that the customer (me) uses

Jason Dunn: To tag messages as spam/not spam

Jason Dunn: It’s really a horrible piece of software under Outlook 2003, and I’m afraid to even install it on Outlook 007

Ann: Let me transfer you to our Helpdesk and they will further assist you. Pls. hold

Please hold while being transferred to kamaal of Support.

Jason Dunn: Very well.

Your party has left this session.

Jason Dunn: Hello?

Jason Dunn: Wow. This is sure some impressive customer service.


I kid you not, that was the “conversation”. A bump to another department, then the customer service agent dumps the chat. It might have been a technical glitch, but that doesn’t say much for the chat software they’re using. Maybe their Outlook plug-in team designed the chat software…