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Google's Gmail Rejects Regular Email

Andy Beard (↑), who runs a Niche Marketing Blog, wrote yesterday, that Gmail did not deliver a plain text (↑), legitimate email that he had sent.

Technical details of permanent failure:
PERM_FAILURE: SMTP Error (state 16): 554 The message was rejected because it contains prohibited virus or spam content

Probably one should use the Morse Code (↑) again to make sure emails get delivered? What do you think?

What is more important?

  • Less spam in any inbox or
  • Email Deliverability?

Isn't the customer of an Internet Service Provider (ISP) or Email Service Provider (ESP) the person who knows best what email is spam and what email is a legitimate one? It might go wrong whenever providers try to get into that role.

Many ISPs and ESPs drop “good” emails without giving the recipient or the sender notice. In this instance with Andy, at least Google sent a non delivery report back to Andy.

Google is proud, how they fight spam. There statement,
“More SPAM worldwide, but not in your GMail Inbox!”

You can read the full post: More spam, but not in your GMail Inbox! (↑)

Not well done! Is less SPAM more important than email reliability and deliverability? I don't think so. My standpoint of view has not changed over the years:

I had some bad experience in the past with dot NAME emails, when it was a third level domain only. At the time SPF was introduced, the setup at the registry for the second level email addresses was wrong. The emails simply disappeared. dot NAME was not very popular back then. I guess not a lot of people complained, but I was persistent and got the designated registry operator Global Name Registry and - my registrar at this time - talk to each other and sort the problem out within two weeks or so. Still it was very annoying.

From this experience I have the following requirement for a good Email Service Provider:

“An ISP or Email Service Provider must give the recipient or customer the option to bypass all Anti-SPAM filters. At least the provider must respect the users' whitelists.”

I know this might not help the average users much, but at least some professionals.

Imagine your prospects or clients are sending you emails that get stuck, probably without any non-delivery message.

What could you do to prevent “losing” Emails?

You could enable an email autoresponder that send back a delivery notification. On your Web site you could instruct your users that there is some sort of email problem, if they do not get the delivery notification.

This works two ways to detect problems:
The client probably cannot send a message to you or he cannot receive email from you.

I did not implement such autoresponder so far. What about you?

John W. Furst


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i've received a couple of time this "error" from gmail and it is very strange because I've tried to send a blank email to the same address and the mail was delivered. I've tried after a day to send the same mail and it was sent...probably sometime Google has some trouble....

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