Local Company Attacks Spam

March 21, 2006

By: James Melton
WWJ 950 News Radio

Spam, spam, spam... That unscrupulous form of e-mail advertising got its name from a Monty Python skit. But it's no joke.

Ted Green, CEO of Greenview Data Inc. in Ann Arbor says his SpamStopsHere product can help small- and mid-sized businesses keep the junk out of their mailboxes, without blocking legitimate messages.

"There are some really primitive anti-spam systems out there and they give anti-spam a bad name," Green says. But he said his system, which has been on the market since 2002, has been able to hang on to about 95 percent of its customers.

Green said many spam filters, which search messages for key words, just don't work. And that approach can be especially hard for law firms, medical practices and other businesses whose legitimate e-mail is likely to contain words that would trigger such filters.

Labor-Intensive Approach

SpamStopsHere takes a different approach. The system uses six primary and several additional levels of filtering, but the heart of it is Greenview's constantly updated database of "action items" - all of the "click me" hyperlinks and "call me" phone numbers found in recent spam messages.

It's a labor-intensive process that requires the company's staff to work around the clock. But Green said the process eliminates 99 percent of all spam messages, while allowing virtually all legitimate e-mail to pass through.

Companies with 200 to 2,000 employees are the target market.

Green said SpamStopsHere now represents about 70 percent of Greenview's roughly $1.2 million per year in revenue. Other products include Greenview's VEDIT universal file editor and file-conversion system that allows PCs to talk to mainframe computers.

Next Steps

Green said his current focus is attracting outside investors so that Greenview can ramp up advertising and marketing of Spam Stops Here, which was separately incorporated in 2003. Sales, he said, have roughly doubled every year, but with more capital, growth could go much faster. Some money from "angel" investors - individuals with money to invest in early-stage companies - has already been raised, he said.

Maintain the Personal Touch

Ted Green, CEO of Greenview Data Inc. in Ann Arbor said lots of businesses claim to put the customer first, but implementing that idea is easier said than done. Here are some things he says have worked for him:

  • Have a person answer the phone. Greenview, he said, has never had an automated phone system.
  • Be reachable. Green said he makes sure customers can reach anybody at the company, "especially me."
  • Solve problems for small customers. Chances are, larger customers have the same problem, but won't tell you. Larger customers will simply move to another vendor.
  • Remember that employees "give you the best 40 hours a week of their lives." Treat them well and they will represent the company well. March 21, 2006