gmail While I've been a big fan of Gmail for a long time now (especially the spam filtering), earlier this week things really got bad.

Until Monday or Tuesday, I'd normally see 1-2 false positives in my spam folder each month. So I only looked at it once a week or so and did so very quickly. But I wasn't seeing some mail I expected and it finally occurred to me that I ought to check the spam folder. I was shocked to see a non-trivial chunk of my mail ending up there!

If I had to guess, I'd say I was suddenly dealing with a 5% false positive rate compared to what was far less than 0.1% previously. So I've been checking much more frequently during the last few days and marking items as "not spam" when necessary.

Things seem to be improving slowly. But I was a little stunned by the dramatic change. Has anyone else encountered this recently?

Posted by jzawodn at January 12, 2007 12:00 PM

Reader Comments
# COD said:

I skimmed over 1000 spams in Gmail last night (about 3 days worth) - not a single false positive.

on January 12, 2007 12:10 PM
# danielcole said:

I'd say I have just the opposite problem - I see 3-4 spam messages appear in my gmail inbox a week. There's also a few hundred that get shunted straight to the spam folder, so I guess my false negative percentage is fairly good. I just glanced thru ~250 spam messages and didn't see a single false positive.

on January 12, 2007 12:44 PM
# Dan Diephouse said:

Yup - I've had a similar problem although it was in the past.

My issue is that I have a hard time searching through the archives quickly. Like the other commentor, I get a lot of spam. Around 200 already today. :-(

on January 12, 2007 12:45 PM
# said:

I've got some spam that sneaked through the spam filter on gmail. However, I got mail sent by Yahoo! HR going straight to my spam folder with my Yahoo! mail!!!! That's just classic! Y! spam filter classifies mail coming from Yahoo internals as spam?!?!

on January 12, 2007 12:46 PM
# Mike S. said:

I'm getting a ton more SPAM in my Gmail inbox now. I just scanned the first 3 pages of my SPAM folder looking for false positives and didn't see any.

Hopefully they are getting things straightened out. It has gotten better the past 2 days.

on January 12, 2007 12:54 PM
# Jim Bumgardner said:

My experience is more like Daniel's. My impression is that the number of false negatives tends to oscillate over about a 3-6 week period - it will diminish for a few weeks, and then come up again.

It is unclear if this oscillation is due to periodic "improvements" by the senders of the spam, or due to someone riding the controls at Google, or just the natural result of the algorithm used.

on January 12, 2007 12:54 PM
# BillyG said:

Good, I wasn't the only one, but it's still nowhere near as bad as the 90+% SPAM I get in my Y! accounts. Plus, I stopped counting a long time ago how many msgs I sent myself and never got. Definitely not tone to be missed.

Unfortunately, it looks like not even big G can stop this madness.

btw: I used my old Y! address here in case you want proof lol.

on January 12, 2007 01:03 PM
# stephen o'grady said:

Just ran through a couple of hundred, and no false positives here. Like danielcole, however, more spam's making it through the filters each day.

on January 12, 2007 01:12 PM
# Reyhan said:

Ive got no false positives in my Gmail inbox.

on January 12, 2007 01:21 PM
# Reyhan said:

Er, Spam folder even.

on January 12, 2007 01:29 PM
# Kirby Witmer said:

My biggest problem lately is the amount of spam making it into my inbox. Its disgusting.

on January 12, 2007 01:33 PM
# Paul Downey said:

AOL: I've had several false +ve's

on January 12, 2007 02:15 PM
# Nathan Schrenk said:

I just looked through a few hundred messages in my Gmail spam folder, going back about 4 days, and no false positives. During that period I had 1-2 false negatives (spam making it into my inbox) per day.

on January 12, 2007 02:16 PM
# Carlo Zottmann said:

No, it's pretty good actually. But I get 3-5 false negatives in my inbox per day for the last two months by now... kind of annoying, but it's still a good hit/miss ratio. ;)

Greetings from the Munich office, have a nice weekend.

on January 12, 2007 02:51 PM
# brendoman said:

I had the opposite problem with my inbox FULL of spam. Way more than usual. And it was the same 3 or 4 messages over and over again. Things look to be improving though. Now that you've mentioned it, I'm going to take a look at my spam folder!

on January 12, 2007 04:02 PM
# Jeff said:

Something is up. I usually see about 1000 spam messages a week get filtered. Very impressed -- usually. This week, lots of regular mail was marked as spam while lots of spam slipped thru. Something is up...

on January 12, 2007 04:28 PM
# Ethan said:

I use Google Apps for my small business email and saw the same thing. I even had 4 of my emails go into one of my peoples spam boxes. For our own domain through the gmail interface.

on January 12, 2007 04:59 PM
# S said:

I've had no issues with GMail spam filtering till date (I usually get around 200 spams a day) but I do have a lotsa false positives on Y! Mail, specifically mails sent from my GMail a/c to my Y! mail a/c end up in the bulk folder if it contains a link or an attachment!

on January 12, 2007 05:20 PM
# S said:

Quite funny, your comment moderation email ended up in my Spam folder on AIM!

on January 12, 2007 05:23 PM
# Gio said:

My Gmail account had a few positives.
I never really keep a close look at the spam folder.
I will monitor it for the next few days.
Did you get my email? Or was it marked spam?

on January 12, 2007 08:04 PM
# John Herren said:

Zero false positives, but I have seen an increase in eBay phishing lures in the last 10 days.

on January 12, 2007 09:11 PM
# Philip Tellis said:

1 in 1000. Didn't bother checking anymore.

on January 13, 2007 04:37 AM
# Sarah Houghton-Jan (Librarian in Black) said:

I've been getting lots more spam in my inbox lately, like some of the other commenters. My guess is that it comes and goes in waves for all of us, perhaps which-Gmail-server-we're-on-dependent? Who knows...

on January 13, 2007 12:43 PM
# Dan said:

I get the opposite,
Till about a week ago I was getting all my spam in my spam box and now I am getting like 2 or 3 spam messages in my inbox now.

on January 13, 2007 06:36 PM
# Joe Duck said:

Tons of slowness problems over the past 24 hours but my (huge) spam folder seems to still contain only spam.

on January 13, 2007 08:08 PM
# David Allen said:

I've seen exactly the same thing. Before this week, false positives were exceedingly rare, but this week perhaps 5-10%.

on January 14, 2007 08:27 AM
# Michael Trausch said:

I just checked the 2,400+ messages in my spam folder to see if I had any false positives, and there wasnít a single non-spam message in the spam folder. However, there are spam messages that donít get into the spam folder. This is fine, because I just mark them as junk in Evolution. (And in reality, I am more worried about a false positive from Evolution than I am from Gmail.)

on January 14, 2007 10:44 AM
# Darius Peczek said:

I hope all those irregularities will be fixed soon. However Gmail is still doing far better job than Y! Mail.

on January 14, 2007 09:28 PM
# Krish said:

Yes. I have been getting way too many spams on my gmail as well as hosted domains.

on January 14, 2007 10:42 PM
# ray said:

I have been using this really great free anti- spam software
from a german company called eleven.
It is free for privat users; 97% spam recognition and 0.00001% false positives.
find it at

on January 15, 2007 12:17 AM
# said:

Lately my important mail has been going to my spam box and my spam has been going to my inbox! What's happening? Its very annoying. Thinking of switching if the problem isn't rectified.

on March 25, 2007 03:49 AM
# -=rjh=- said:

YES! I have had basically *all* my email marked as spam and moved to the spam folder, instead of being forwarded to my real email account.

It happened to one or two emails a few days ago, then seemed OK, but over the past 2 days has made gmail practically useless. 100% of mail is marked as spam, and this is mail that has already been through a spam filter!

on May 17, 2007 06:22 PM
# said:

HELP... I am getting bombed with spam suddenly... Tried the filter thing.... They're still coming on strong...!!!

on March 30, 2009 07:17 PM
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