Thanks Spammers

I’ve just been through more than 3,000 emails! I decided to have a look at my spam folder on The mail server itself is hosted by Google’s Gmail and I use their filters.

The filters do a mostly good job – with notable exceptions.

There were four emails from my Cousin Melissa. They were sent over the last two weeks. Google thinks she’s spammy. She was the only human stopped by their machine.

Interestingly enough, other emails from her made it through without a problem.

The filter also improperly trapped warnings automatically sent from my website, telling me there about spam comments needing attention. I found most of them, not all, on my own.

This is one real weakness with Gmail’s filtering. You cannot flag specific words or IP addresses to bypass the filtering. The spam filters go into action before anything else.

Nor can you search entries that are spam filtered. So, I couldn’t go through the 3,000+ messages, looking for email that originated on my own site!

On October 10-11, a spammer began to carpet bomb the world with messges using my domain,, as his return address. In that 48 hour period, I received hundreds upon hundreds of bouncebacks from closed mailboxes and spam filters. I can only imagine how many messages from the faux Fox got through!

These messages I checked today were only for the domain. Gmail covers me on a bunch of other addresses too. Sometime this weekend, I have another few thousand to pour through.

The false positive rate was slightly under 1% and supposedly Gmail’s filters learn by my re-marking the spam. That means the number should be lower in the future.

Still, even one false positive is too many. Right Cousin Melissa?

2 thoughts on “Thanks Spammers”

  1. Geoff,

    I use GoogleApps for my e-mail as well, but I put all of my e-mail through’s filters first before it even reaches Google. They’re much more aggressive than Google’s and they have the ability for me to whitelist people.

    Though, I’m considering moving just to Google’s filters when my service is up with pobox for the year.


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