Gmail, I Love You – Don’t Let Me Down

I’ve been a Gmail fan long before I actually migrated to it. More than a year ago I wrote up a few tricks on how Gmail Can Boost Your Non-Gmail Productivity – this post still gets a lot of hits, although the my Gmail-usage evolved renders most advice there obsolete.

When I started using Gmail with my own domain, I continued downloading it to Outlook for a while. I no longer needed my paid email service, but frankly, the benefit was not saving $0.99 a month, but the much better spam-filter and to dual access (pop and native Gmail online). Then I realized I was missing out on some of the best productivity enhancements Gmail offers by not using it’s native interface, at the same time grew sick of the ever-growing number of Windows, Outlook, Office problems, so I finally cut the umbilical cord, and moved (almost) entirely online. I’m Outlook-free, using Gmail (at least for now) as my email service and Zoho for everything else. My How to Import All Your Archive Email Into Gmail became a classic, 50 thousand or so people read it here, not counting the numerous re-posts.

So I am in Love with Gmail… but that love may not last forever. It takes two to ….smile_embaressed

Not long after I made the transition, Gmail started to have performance problems. Occasional outages, just for a few minutes, sometimes seconds. When it works, it’s no longer lighting fast. Recently I’m starting to wonder what happened to its legendary strength: the spam filter. Look at my Inbox this morning:

Yes, this is the Inbox, not the Spam filter. There is actually one (!) legitimate mail there, the rest is crap. I looked inside, they are not even using the image-trick to bypass spam filtering: all are the most traditional text emails, most of them the “classic Nigerian type” – Gmail’s filter must be sleeping (perhaps enjoying one of the many Google perks?)

Gmail, my dear, I still love you … I think… but you know, my love is not eternal. I’d like to be loved back – sooner, rather than later.

Update: A (somewhat) related post at Web Worker Daily: 3 Ways to getting email without Spam. I tried and promoted method#1, “plus addressing”; the only problem is that far too many places won’t accept the format as a valid email address. Besides, smart spammers have likely already automated the removal of the +tag portion.

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  1. Anonymous says

    Zoli i noticed this myself. I’ve been receiving a lot of the Nigerian 419 scam emails. I’m clicking “Report as spam” on every one of them.

  2. Anonymous says

    Oh, of course I’m clicking it, too, but that means we’re training the spam filer to recognize something very basic that it used to be able to kill before 🙁

  3. Anonymous says

    I switched from Outlook to Gmail a few months ago. Have you tried any other web based email? (, laszlomail, goowy, etc…). Do you know when zoho will have it’s email on public beta?

  4. Anonymous says

    Before Gmail arrived I did not really like webmail – I POP-ed even my Yahoo account. Conversation threading, labels and search are killer productivity features in Gmail, IMHO, and I don’t really want to experiment.

    I don’t have a date on Zoho Mail, it won’t be very long, but so far it has onlye been a “product”, now they need to create the mail service as well, and they want it rock-solid. Gmail can afford outages, Zoho can’t … so the’d rather take the time upfront to create reliable infrastructure ..etc. But I also expect functional improvements, too 🙂

  5. Anonymous says

    As someone who’s never used Outlook before, coming to GMail from Yahoo mail, I too have been disappointed with the spam filtering of late. Classy 419s get in, even when I’ve spammed the Report Spam button a thousand times.

    When you get back home from a short vacation, check your email eagerly to see what those 49 emails were about (Did I get dugg?) and find that find that only 4 emails are for you and the rest are crap, you need something nearby to throw at someone nearby.

    But, even Akismet has been letting in a bit of spam of late. Maybe, the spammers discovered a new trick or something? Maybe, something to do with text encodings?

    Oh, and thanks for the link to the WWD: I was trying to use a – instead of a +, and was wondering why it wasn’t working…. 🙂

  6. Anonymous says

    Exactly… Google lets them pass through – here’s a recent post of mine which discusses the same problem:

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