Why is Gmail telling me to use their SMTP server?
March 5, 2006 9:43 PM   Subscribe

Why is Gmail telling me to use their SMTP server?

Why do Google's instructions on how to use Gmail as a POP mail server also encourage me, or rather just plain tell me, to use their SMTP server instead of my ISP's?

What would be the benefit for me, or for them?

And if they're offering an SMTP server which anyone can use from anywhere, aren't they offering an open relay which spammers could use?
posted by AmbroseChapel to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Best answer: If you use their servers.. you have to authenticate with your Google username and password. So that should, in theory, cut down on spam.

Also, if you use their server.. they know to stuff a copy of all outgoing email sent via their servers into your 'sent' folder on your gmail account.
posted by cowmix at 9:52 PM on March 5, 2006

Best answer: Answering your questions in reverse order:

You need to authenticate with your Gmail account to use their SMTP, so it's not any more open for abuse than the webmail service, which the invitation system keeps minimal.

Mail sent through Gmail's SMTP ends up in your Gmail account's Sent Mail.

I don't know that there's any direct benefit to them beyond satisfying customers.
posted by S.C. at 9:55 PM on March 5, 2006

Good gods, I need to start typing faster.
posted by S.C. at 9:56 PM on March 5, 2006

Webmail can be seen as relatively temporary and easy to switch away from, as you have to remember to keep going to the page. Using it from a desktop client makes it more 'permanent' and locks you in to using them a lot more. As they're trying to build up a massive user base on GMail, they want you to be locked in as hard as possible. Remember that there's nothing to say they won't be putting ads in your mails in the future..
posted by wackybrit at 3:52 AM on March 6, 2006

I think your question has pretty much been answered, but another reason is this: Some ISPs do not let you send mail through their SMTP servers using an email address other than the one you have with them. Having said that, also, some ISPs block connecting to ANY SMTP servers on the default port except for their own. (a lame attempt at blocking spam, because spammers will easily just connect to a different port)
posted by antifuse at 4:25 AM on March 6, 2006

Best answer: The gmail.com domain has an SPF record. Email you send with a @gmail.com email address through your ISP's SMTP server will fail the SPF check, making it highly likely your email will be blocked by spam filters. Using Google's SMTP servers will ensure an SPF pass.
posted by zsazsa at 9:34 AM on March 6, 2006

Best answer: Sending through Gmail's SMTP servers also ensures that the path your "from: AmbroseC@gmail.com" mail takes matches the valid SPF record for gmail.com, which receipients can use to help determine the likelyhood that a given message is or isn't spam.
posted by Good Brain at 10:04 AM on March 6, 2006

Response by poster: Wow, four best answers out of seven!

But as they're the same two answers, given in short succession by two different people each time...

Thanks, all.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:09 PM on March 7, 2006

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