Gmail False Positives Are On The Rise

Like so many other folks I’ve been routing my email through Gmail. For me this was mostly about dealing with spam. On an average day I get 300+, so off to Gmail it goes. It’s never been perfect, usually letting through less than 10 a day, but that was manageable. Now I’ve got a whole new problem.

Sometime after the new year (as far as I can tell) Gmail started marking legit emails as spam. After trolling through my spam folder I found several emails that weren’t spam, so they never made it to my inbox. Hard to make out exactly what the trend is, so far it’s about 10 a week.

I would much rather have some spam hit my inbox than to have legit email get marked as spam. I’m now left with the reality that I’ll have to dig through the spam folder at the end of every day to make sure I didn’t miss anything, not a pleasant thought. My confidence and happiness with Gmail has gone done several notches because of this.

Just in case this is a system wide issue you may want to take a peek at your Gmail spam folder and see if you are having the same problem.

13 Comments

  1. I’ve noticed the exact same thing, about the same time period. They must have tweaked something around the new year.

  2. I just went through 8,000 spam messages and recovered a dozen or so legitimate emails and almost 1,500 monit reports!

  3. @Jesse, @Donncha -

    Sounds like this is a Gmail wide issue then. Bummer part is even if they fixed this today, it will be awhile before I can trust it to that level again. Sigh.

  4. Well I wouldn’t blame all of it on Google. The craftiness of the spamming community if its really a community changes every day. My GMAIL stays pretty clean compared to hotmail which I have had for 11 years. I think the root of the problem is when WE publish our email address everywhere, so expect the spam crafters to hit us. Frankly google has less false positives that other services I use hotmail, yahoo, aim.com etc. Even fighting my own spam can be a full time gig!

  5. I think this is likely a strategy everyone needs to use, no matter the platform. I’ve been very careful where I put my GMail address, and use Yahoo! instead as the lowest-common-denominator garbage collector. I’ve been zero-inboxing Yahoo! for years now, and that includes checking my “Bulk Mail” box daily. I pull a stray false-positive out roughly once a month or so.

  6. After reading your post I went and check my Google junk mail. Sure enough, about half dozen hams in there. :(

  7. @Jeff -

    For as long as I can remember Hotmail has had problems with spam. That was one reason why I never used it much. Having Gmail be better is good, but having false positives is very bad.

    @Daniel -

    I tried Yahoo’s email service for awhile and really didn’t care for it at all.

    @Jim -

    I’m trying to incorporate checking my Gmail spam folder once a day into my routine. Hasn’t worked yet, need to leave myself a note some where.

  8. I’ve noticed a similar thing as well lately.

    But I do see a trend — at least in my case. The legit emails getting flagged are all from forwarded accounts, not emails addressed to the gmail address.

  9. @Raanan -

    That isn’t the case for mine, both direct and forwarded emails are getting caught in the spam folder.

  10. I am wondering if there is a way to say that something is NOT spam. I am getting messages with this in front: “SPAM:: message”

    In most cases these messages are NOT spam.

    They show up in my inbox, but the subject line has SPAM:: at its onset. If I respond to emails I need to manually change the subject line. I forget sometimes…

    Any ideas?

  11. Last 2 weeks I’ve got a dozen of false positives
    (good messages in spam box). Some of them were from respectful
    domains.
    But I was killed by spam filter today – when me friend (he also uses
    gmail and we email each other frequently) has received invitation from
    my googlegroup and it was marked as SPAM !!!!.
    Impossible.
    Something should be done – such false positives is a real shame on
    gmail spam filter.

  12. I agree. I have found several false positives recently and there appears to be no way to stop or “lower” the SPAM protection, very disappointing.

  13. It seems to be happening again now. I have had about 30 legit emails (from sources that were never marked as spam for the past 3 years) sent to the spam box in the last 2 weeks…

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