Sunday, February 24, 2008

Rant on G-mail's Supposed "Send Mail As" Feature



Gmail: In development for over
4.109578 years (and counting)

Despite my having sworn off third-party e-mail providers, I broke down and moved my e-mail account to Gmail recently. I was under the impression I could make the transition without anyone noticing that I was even using Gmail. I set up my personal address to forward to my Gmail account, and then set up the Gmail "Send Mail As" feature to send mail from my personal address.

As many users have found out, this is not as seamless as Google makes it out to be. This has been bothering me as well. Gmail doesn't change the sender address, only the reply-to address. Apparently this is because mail coming from a Gmail server (and thus being different from the sender domain) has a tendency to trip spam filters.

I did find this note at the bottom of the Gmail instructions:
" Note: when you're sending with a different 'From:' address, your Gmail address will still be included in your email header's sender field, to help prevent your mail from being marked as spam. Most email clients don't display the sender field, though some versions of Microsoft Outlook may display "From yourusername@gmail.com on behalf of customaddress@mydomain.com."
In practice, contrary to the above note's claim, all of the e-mail clients I have experience with just show the message to be from yourusername@gmail.com . A reply is sent to your custom From: address, but this doesn't really help you much. In fact it's really just more confusing to the end user, as they deal with 2 different e-mail addresses when replying to you. Not to mention it's your Gmail address that gets auto-added to their address

What should Gmail do? They should do as the feature name suggests, change the From: address and let me worry about the spam ramifications of that. I am the true owner of the domain I am trying to send from, and I can create an SPF record which will show Gmail as a valid mail host for messages coming from my address.


Hm... what should I expect from a "Beta" service? Gee, when(ever) Gmail is done it's going to be a good product.
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