Like I mentioned in the post below, I’ve got a new email address using Google’s new Gmail service. Since the service is only in beta testing right now, the only way to join is to receive an invitation (I don’t know who gets these invitations or why, so don’t bother asking me to invite you). Since a competing free email service can potentially cut into Yahoo’s business, they’ve set up filters to make it more difficult for Gmail invitations to get to their users (or at least, that’s the way it appears). As far as Yahoo is concerned, Gmail invites are spam.
Since the Gmail invitations come from an email address that ends in @gmail.com, I figured I would send a few emails to myself and see if I can nail down what kind of filtering they’ve got in place. I figured they were just blocking all emails for gmail.com or scanning the subject lines, but it turns out that they’re actually searching for the message body itself.
The amusing thing about this is that any email that contains this in the body of the message will get thrown into the “bulk mail” folder :
[blank] has invited you to open a free Google Gmail account. The invitation will expire in three weeks and can only be used to set up one account.
To accept this invitation and register for your account, visit http://gmail.google.com/gmail/
Once you create your account, [blank] will be notified with your new @gmail.com address so you can stay in touch with Gmail!
If you haven’t already heard about Gmail, it’s a new search-based webmail service that offers:
- 1,000 megabytes (one gigabyte) of free storage
- Built-in Google search that instantly finds any message you want
- Automatic arrangement of messages and related replies into “conversations”
- Text ads and related pages that are relevant to the content of your messages
Gmail is still in an early stage of development. If you set up an account, you’ll be able to keep it even after we make Gmail more widely available and as one of the system’s early testers, you will be helping us improve the service through your feedback. We might ask for your comments and suggestions periodically and we appreciate your help in making Gmail even better.
The Gmail Team
To learn more about Gmail before registering, visit: http://gmail.google.com/gmail/help/benefits.html
(If clicking the URLs in this message does not work, copy and paste them into the address bar of your browser).
If you’ve got a Yahoo mail account you can try it for yourself. Copy the text above and email it to yourself using any email address and any subject line (I suggest “Stop censoring my goddamn email!”). Within a few minutes, you’ll see the email you sent has been thrown in with the rest of the spam.
Have there been so many invitations that Yahoo’s anti-spam filters genuinely flag this is spam? Could be, but Yahoo’s recent upgrade of all their mailbox sizes from 6MB to 100MB make it clear that they’re threatened by Google’s new service (whose main attraction is a 1GB mailbox). All I know is that when it comes to free email services, sometimes you get what you pay for.