Earlier this week Gmail announced they were providing reasons for why they delivered a particular mail to the bulk folder. I’m sure a lot of senders are rejoicing over the clear feedback. After all this is exactly what they’ve been asking for “tell us why you’re filtering our mail and we’ll fix it.”
I am not sure, however, that this is going to help the majority of senders seeing mail going to the bulk folder. On the Gmail support pages, they list a number of the explanations they’re be providing.
- Phishing scams
- Messages from an unconfirmed sender
- Messages you sent to Spam
- Similarity to suspicious messages
- Administrator-set policies
Similarity to suspicious messages is a polite way of saying “this mail looks like spam.” Gmail does provide a few more details for this classification.
Gmail uses automated spam detection systems to analyze patterns and predict what types of messages are fraudulent or potentially harmful. Here are just a few of the things our system considers when marking a message as spam:
- Content that’s usually associated with spam such as mature content and “get rich quick” schemes
- Messages that falsely appear to be a “bounced message” response (a system-generated email that you might automatically get after sending a message that can’t be delivered such as a message sent to an invalid email address)
- Messages sent from accounts or IP addresses that have sent other spam messages
- Behavior of other Gmail users, such as many people reporting spam from a particular sender
- Similarity to other spam or phishing messages based on a combination of things like subject matter, elements like spelling and formatting, and suspicious attachments
- A difference between your Gmail language preference and the language used in the message
Hopefully this will help senders diagnose the reasons for bulk foldering at Gmail. Given how tight their filters have gotten over the last 6 months, it’s certainly something more and more of us have to deal with.