Beware GMail Goofs Up On Spam Protection

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Wednesday, November 28, 2007

GMail has apparently gone bonkers with its vaunted spam protection feature or maybe spammers have finally managed to successfully corrupt its (naive bayesian?) filters. GMail is generating tons of false positives (valid emails being marked as spam) with no hope in the horizon so far. You need to be very careful with using GMail.

I send emails to my customers with their copy of the product. Unfortunately GMail sometimes decides to mark them as spam! There is no rhyme or reason to it. We have SPF on our domain records and the email is sent from SPF valid IP addresses as also identified by Google. The content of the email is just instructions to use the software and links to few relevant articles and obviously the zip file of the product. Our IP address is not in any RBL. I have checked everything but GMail is definitely going crazy in its over-zealousness to protect users from spam resulting in lots of collateral damage. Even today I got two cases where the product email wasn’t received on GMail account.

I am not the only one complaining about it. There are lots of posts in GMail discussion group about authentic emails, even SPF verified ones, being labeled as spam. Few examples below:

I’ve been a long time Gmail-user and loved the experience all
together, never had any problems with the service, congratulations!
However, yesterday I discovered I didn’t receive any log mails anymore
from a server. Other administrators did receive the mails. When I
investigated the issue further, I found them in my Spam folder.

This is really odd. Gmail is flagging mails as spam by itself. I’m
absolutely sure I didn’t mark them as spam, because the mails get
archived and labeled by a rule.
In the meanwhile I’ve scanned my spamfolder and marked every log-mail
as “not spam” but I’m affraid future log-mails will get sorted in the
spamfolder too. How can I stop this behaviour?

- kbon

It seems that ANY automated or bulk email sent from a web server is

I have even received emails from friends who sent messages to me from
their work computers, and they are filtered into the spam box.

I have ALL my emails forwarded and filtered through gmail - because
their “spam catching technique” USED TO BE AMAZING! I didn’t receive
ANY notice that they were changing their spam catching technique. I
looked and looked and looked under Settings for any Spam-level-setting
or something to that effect, but found nothing.

ANYONE who is having this problem, PLEASE POST TO COMPLAIN! Hopefully
Google hears us, and GOES BACK TO THE WAY IT WAS! Which was as close
to perfect as you could get.

- myfriendmike

I am also having the same trouble. Also just started in the last week.
Many emails are finding there way into the spam folder, not just
emails with many people in the list. All emails coming from my work
domain are flagged as spam, as well as emails coming from the bank.
Even some emails that I send, the replies are ending up in the spam

I don’t mind going through the spam folder to mark them as junk, but I
get upwards of 100 spam per day, and sometimes I am afraid I am
missing things.

This has just started happening in the last few days.

- smilingfrog

This has been happening to me as well for the last week or so. All my
listserve messages are flowing into SPAM, even though the filter has
processed them by adding the requested label!

Please put it back the way it was before, or provide an option for
turning off the new spam functionality!

- Ken

Same here with mail sent from personal website being labeled SPAM.
Added my email address to my Contacts list (even though it was already
listed) and now mark all these emails as Not Spam, but the problem
persists. I’m afraid that I have inadvertently deleted many emails
from the Spam Folder that were not SPAM. This problem needs to be
fixed right away by Google since so many users are experiencing the
same problem.

- cerullistudio

What’s really funny, in a sad way, is that Gmail is even marking
messages from this Google Group as Spam!

I’m really disappointed in all the false positives I’ve been seeing
over the past two months. And this is even for stuff that IS in my
Contacts list, even for stuff that couldn’t possibly look like Spam,
even for stuff from sites with an SPF (Sender Policy Framework) record
that allows Gmail!

- David Q Phillips

Yeah. Didnt anyone consider your own emails being marked as spam in
your friend’s mailbox?
some of my friends complained of it.
Also, if a contact is whitelisted then emails from that address with
or without a dot should not be marked as spam. This annoys me coz I
dont get replies to my emails sometimes. I should inform through phone
to let my friend know that I have send an important email and to check
the spam label.

- Hakeem

Yeah. Didnt anyone consider your own emails being marked as spam in
your friend’s mailbox?
some of my friends complained of it.
Also, if a contact is whitelisted then emails from that address with
or without a dot should not be marked as spam. This annoys me coz I
dont get replies to my emails sometimes. I should inform through phone
to let my friend know that I have send an important email and to check
the spam label.

- eworlder

Ditio, getting the exact same problem. Nothing seems to work, marking
them as not spam, creating a filter etc. What has Google done to thier
great app?

- AuzzieFlyBoy

just chiming in, it’s been in the past week or so that sooo many real
emails are getting marked as spam. this never used to happen, so i’m
guessing someone screwed something up.

please fix it google!

- Jake

Problem with using Contacts as a white list is this:

I get all sorts of emails from ebay. I don’t have time to list each
“sender” as a contact, e.g.

[email address]
[email address]
[email address]

I tried entering a wildcard ala [email address] and of course that didn’t

I may have to drop gmail because I use Outlook, and I don’t have time
to keep on checking the spam folder on the web.

Unbelievably bad “enhancement”. Yes, this just started happening in
the past week or so.

- triple_vee

Adding emails to contact list is not a solution. We receive emails from prospective clients whose email we obviously cannot have in the contact list. The same is true for emails received from our suppliers.

There isn’t any way for genuine email senders to ensure that their email doesn’t get marked as spam. I extensively searched their FAQ.
Users in Google GMail forums cries out in vain looking for a solution, “So, anyone from Google going to help on this?”

Unfortunately Google doesn’t care to respond. Google GMail team also doesn’t provide any way to contact them. I am starting to wonder how safe it is for businesses and even individuals to use GMail at this rate if they continue to miss genuine emails. Think about it for a moment. Most of us receive tons of emails which are marked as junk by GMail. We almost never check the junk folders simply because we either don’t have time or we trust Google’s judgment and don’t want to wade through tons of spam to filter out a valid email. However this could result in you missing out on an important interview, a potential client, an existing client or even worse. Asking people to check junk emails isn’t going to work simply because that mostly defeats the purpose of junk filtering. Imagine waking up in the morning to see tons of emails selling viagra, cialis and organ enhancement procedures, often accompanied by explicit images! I don’t like the prospect and so I don’t use GMail for business. However many of my clients do and so I am still stuck.

I urge Google GMail team to treat this issue with maximum urgency. Otherwise Google GMail will cease to be a viable alternative for businesses and even individuals.


Harish Gadhamsetty
July 16, 2009: 10:03 am

I am sending mails form my mail server through some software. My mails are diverting to the receipients spam folder only.

If anyone knows how ro overcome from this problem, please let me know. My mail id is

December 15, 2008: 3:49 pm

I think this is a common problem with all sparm filter software. They all suck too much. They should not block you totally. The ultimate decision should be left to the blog owner to decide what he wants to do do.

January 24, 2008: 6:24 am

Lacking a good solution, all overzealous spam protection schemes like that of GMail are effectively destroying email as we know it. It appears spammers are winning.

January 23, 2008: 2:12 am

I’m still having the same problem. Every email i send from my mail server goes in the spam folder in gmail acocunts.

The user must mark email as “not spam”, but this is not a good solution.

Pls note that i’m NON blackilisted in RBL lists

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