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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