Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Friday, September 22, 2006

When Google Attacks!

Gordon deals with a Gmail crisis:

Gordon's Tech: Gmail spam filtering: A crisis with Gmail threatens all Google services: I posted this on Google Groups: Problem-solving (Update: 8 hours later, it's yet to appear on the the forum. It's good thing I'm not prone to paranoia ...).

My Google Gmail account is dying from dysfunctional spam filtering. That's bad enough, but the role of Gmail as the centerpiece of Google's identity management strategy means there are surprisingly widespread implications....

On a weekend 80% of my inbox is spam. During the work week 50-70% of my inbox is spam. My spam box has about 2000+ spam in it each month.

On the other hand, messages I send to myself using my visi.com authsmtp account using my faughnan.com return address are ALWAYS treated as spam. Based on my experiments I believe Google has blacklisted my personal domain - faughnan.com (see www.faughnan.com). It's a personal domain that, like many others, has been faked in signatures by spammers for years. Google appears to be using a kind of blacklisting that is lowest form of spam control and hasn't worked for years. No serious ISP uses such a crude approach any longer....

My Gmail account is my Google digital identity. If I abandon it I walk away from Google checkout and a heck of a lot of other Google services....

But the crisis was resolved:

Gordon's Notes: Spam: blacklists are back, and the war may be turning: Thursday, September 21, 2006: I finally accepted that Google is a set of adaptive algorithms rather than a traditional corporation. That meant I could sit back and rethink things. Google was malfunctioning because I had redirected an unfiltered mailstream at Gmail, and Google seems to be effectively doing something I'd asked for years ago: selective filtering based on the managed reputation of an authenticated sending service. In this case Google was treating the 'sending service' as my redirector (which I don't think authenticates), rather than the distal source of the email. That meant faughnan.com acquired a reputation, from Google's perspective, as a really bad place.

Well, I can't be too mad if they're doing what I'd long urged everyone to do. It would have been nice if I'd known about it earlier, but them's the breaks. Don't do redirection to Gmail and expect it to like you for long. So I turned off all the redirects, forwarded from Gmail to my ISP (VISI), flowed faughnan.com and spamcop.net to VISI's Postini service, and finally dropped all my email lists. Lists are very 20th century, this is the age of subscription/notification (Atom/RSS). Good-bye lists. The world calmed down.

With all the lists gone, and postini churning away, it was interesting to see what spam got through. Lots of political solicitations... incredibly annoying newsletters... the domains were real.... Some had unsubscribe links and some of those even worked.... I've blacklisted 9 domains... and with postini and these few filters, my spam is gone...

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