Want to receive email? Stop using Gmail.
Since many Web professionals use Gmail extensively I just wanted to make everyone aware of what I think is a serious problem. Apparently Gmail uses some sort of blacklist that bounces email sent from certain servers. It is likely being done to fight spam, and would be fine if it didn’t affect the innocent.
The problem is that it seems like this blacklisting can be quite random. There is also apparently no way for whoever maintains the blacklisted server to find out if and why it has been blacklisted. That obviously means there is nothing to do but wait and hope that the server eventually gets removed from the blacklist.
I found out about this since for the last several days I have been unable to send email to Gmail accounts from my 456bereastreet.com accounts or any other account on the same server.
I’ve been in contact with my hosting company about this, and they have obviously contacted Google to find out what’s going on. So far there has been no response, which leaves us guessing. Our current theory is that the server has been blacklisted because it bounces mail sent to non-existent addresses (99.9 % of which is spam) back to Gmail.
So just a heads-up if you use Gmail: if you contact someone and don’t get a reply, it could be because their mail server has been blacklisted. Use another email service if you want to make sure people can reply to your messages.
Update (2006-10-09): Ok, it looks like the culprit has been found: SpamAssassin. The mail server uses SpamAssassin to scan incoming and outgoing mail, and while doing so adds SpamAssassin headers. This apparently makes Gmail flag messages as spam and bounce them with a “message text rejected” note. So the assumption that my mail server had been blacklisted was wrong.
Update (2006-10-10): Well, what do you know. I can now send email to Gmail accounts again. Nothing has changed on my server, and there has been no response from Google. Obviously they did something though, so thanks for that :-).
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