False Positives for Gmail’s Spam Filters

A word to the wise.

There’s some anecdotal evidence that Google has recently modified the Spam filtering algorithm for Gmail. This afternoon, I checked the Spam folder for my primary e-mail account and discovered that over the past two days, six legitimate messages had been flagged as Spam. All but one of those were “bulk mail” messages, sent to mailing lists, but none of them were unsolicited. I’ve received similar messages (from the same senders) before without them getting flagged as Spam.

If you’re like me, you’ve come to rely so heavily on Gmail’s excellent Spam filtering that you just “set it and forget it”. For the time being, however, you might want to keep an eye on what’s ending up in your Spam folder—at least until the problem is corrected.

Posted March 15th, 2008 in Miscellaneous.

One comment:

  1. Andrew Oakley:

    Totally agree – I’m getting five or more false positives on Gmail every week, notably on legitimate mailing lists such as the local Linux user group (uses Mailman) and a group of university alumni (uses Yahoo Groups).

    The FAQ states to add the From address to the Contacts list, but with a mailing list, the From address can be anyone – only the Sender or Reply-To address stays the same. I’ve tried adding the Sender address to my Contacts, and we’ll see how that pans out over the next couple of weeks.

    It is particularly annoying that automatic forwarding cannot be set to forward spam, too. I forward all my mail to my home SMTP account, but sometimes my home machine is off or not reachable for long periods, so I prefer mail to go via Gmail first.