My favorite tech company has fallen off their pedestal and their new-found ego is going to give them a big ugly black eye. The tech community is quickly becoming disenchanted with the ways of Google, thanks in a big way to the ultimate FAIL of the Google Spam Filter. It turns out that Google decided the previously intelligent spam filter was not intelligent enough. Obviously they decided that it needed to think more like a human. And by more human-like we mean MAKING MISTAKES. And big ones at that.
We started to realize about 3 weeks back (Last week of April, 2011) that some client emails were not showing up. We assumed it was just an errant send from the other end. You know, HUMAN ERROR. Well it turns out that we had become so accustomed to Google’s spam filter being nearly flawless that we never thought to even check our spam folder.
Well we should have. There was not only the missing client emails in the spam folder, but dozens… literally dozens… of other legitimate emails in there. Sales leads. Customers trying to contact us, and a LOT of customers complaining about not getting their product license. Hmmm… that’s odd. We normally get one complaint/month about a license not going out. A robot sends those out for us automatically when someone purchases a product. But for some reason a half-dozen clients in less than a week did not get their license.
Then a client complained we never gave them a project update. We did. We sent MANY updates. They were PISSED. I resent the message. The didn’t get them. Then the lightbulb went off… “did you check your spam folder?”. Turns out the client is using gmail and YES, ALL of our message are in their spam folder. That was odd. We are on their contact list & they are on ours. Yet Google spammed us.
Then we went and looked at all the complaints about not getting a license. Guess what? ALL gmail people. Every one. Then we noticed that any of our employees, customers, or clients that use gmail were not only getting legitimate messages put in the spam folder but that blatant spam was getting into their inbox much more frequently than before.
We are pretty damn certain that Google changed the spam filter across the board. Luckily we have a paid Google mail account so we have support. Or so we thought. It turns out our contact refuses to admit they changed anything. He has not said that they did NOT change anything, but after more than a week of back-and-forth he has pointed the finger at us EVERY TIME. We have literally had to change or explain over a half-dozen settings, like why our MX records are on our server, the fact that the spam filter is turned off on our server, the fact that our gmail account allows for relay and incoming email from our email server IP. Every time we tell him “GOOGLE CHANGED THE SPAM FORMULA” we get another “did you check <blah> answer.
Obviously Google didn’t do anything wrong. There is no way they changed the formula, right?
Well HUNDREDS of posts on the Internet are creating a buzz that says otherwise. Maybe we are wrong, but something smells of Google having just opened a can of rotten spam and they are going to have a bitch of a time getting that one back in the can.