Do I need to check gmail's spam box?
June 24, 2006 1:18 PM   Subscribe

How reliable do you find Gmail's spam filtering? Do i need to check the spam folder before I (or Gmail) empty it? It seems quite good to me - I've been using it since february, and it's been months since any real mail got filtered as spam, and relatively few spam get through. But checking is getting tiresome. what is your experience? Judy
posted by judybxxx to Computers & Internet (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
GMail has missed both ways for me in the past.
posted by onalark at 1:21 PM on June 24, 2006

I find that gmail misses a fair bit of spam - I get a lot of spam on one particular address that is double filtered by gmail, the first address catches about 150 spam per day, but forwards about 50 of them to my other gmail address, which catches about 45 of the 50, and thus 5 or so a day end up in my regular email.

On the other hand, except for a very occasional sign-up note, which I know to look for because I just signed up for something, gmail filters to spam basically none of my actual mail which means that I don't need to look at the spam I get. (This is not just an assumption, I often do look at the spam I get, and I basically never find any real mail in there.)
posted by jacquilynne at 1:22 PM on June 24, 2006

Pretty good, probably had one or two false positives since I started using it, and those where newsletters and really looked like spam. Get spam in the inbox maybe once or twice a month.
posted by signal at 1:22 PM on June 24, 2006

In my experience, everything in the spam folder is indeed spam. Never had a false positive. But there are plenty of false negatives -- not all spam makes it into the spam folder.
posted by frogan at 1:25 PM on June 24, 2006

I get some false negatives. Most particularly, when I get notification that my CC statement is updated, it always goes to the spam filter, no matter how many times I tell GMail it's not spam.

Other than that, though, it's pretty good.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 1:27 PM on June 24, 2006

Dipsomaniac: You should try adding the email address for the CC notification to your contacts list. That might keep it out of the spam filter.

The only false positive I've ever had is when I accidentally marked a weekly notification email like SmarterTravel as spam. Other than that I've found it quite reliable.
posted by BackwardsCity at 1:40 PM on June 24, 2006

After a little initial training, Gmail's spam box has always contained nothing but spam for me. (Hitting 'Not spam' initially is useful, as is adding email addresses to your address book).

Gmail's spam-checking isn't infallible, by any stretch, though. Because I don't use my address - my email gets forwarded to my Gmail account and all replies are stamped by Gmail with my 'real' address - I am able to place additional spam checking in place. I run SpamAssassin on all my incoming mail before it gets forwarded to Gmail, and mark spam as [5pam] in the headers (so that Gmail can search for it); keeping SpamAssassin on the default settings on my mail server, I'm catching even more spam.

So far today, for example (it's 10.20pm) Gmail has caught 350 pieces of spam; SpamAssassin has also caught a further 26. My inbox has 7 unspotted spams today: so Gmail has let 1.8% of the spam get through. I think that's pretty good.

Spam automatically gets deleted; so do as I do, and don't bother reading the spam inbox.

As an aside: Gmail's spam spotting seemed to me, after a month, as just as good as the paid-for service by SpamCop. So I junked SpamCop, and Gmail now hosts all my mail.
posted by jamescridland at 2:28 PM on June 24, 2006

Best answer: False negatives = "spam in inbox"
False positive = "Real mail in Spam box"

I've had one False Positive, from a... grown-up store sending me a "Thanks, here's a 10% coupon" email... I marked as "not spam", and since then all other emails from them have come through...

I still go through my spam folder, out of habit, but I don't get more than 20 a day, and I've had the email since early beta.
posted by hatsix at 2:30 PM on June 24, 2006

Best answer: Related: CustomizeGoogle can hide the spam counter. Helped me with compulsive (and pointless) checking & cleaning of the spam box.
posted by muckster at 3:00 PM on June 24, 2006

Most of the stuff in my spam box is, indeed spam. I have had more than a few False Positives, though.

I always check before I delete it.
posted by 6:1 at 3:22 PM on June 24, 2006

I've had lots of trouble with GMail's spam filter. It frequently has false-positive issues, even in the middle of conversations between me and one other person. I've also had emails flat out disappear from gmail.

Very few false negatives, though.
posted by heresiarch at 3:30 PM on June 24, 2006

I am a Realtor, and often I find legitimate email in that folder, probably due to the nature of the messages.
posted by thilmony at 4:15 PM on June 24, 2006

The only time real mail has shown up in the spam folder for me was when I forward stuff from work to my gmail account and some of my automated alerts showed up there.
posted by furtive at 5:15 PM on June 24, 2006

The only false positives I've gotten were when I was looking to buy a house and the emails had links to real estate and mortgage sites.
posted by bored at 5:29 PM on June 24, 2006

I haven't looked at my spam folder in months (586 items in there). I just checked the first 200 and not a single false positive in there. I'll continue to ignore it.
posted by exhilaration at 6:08 PM on June 24, 2006

Good to go all around. Only one or two got through in the past 8 months. I must add that I am very particular about to whom I give my gmail address to. But, even my junk one gets it right most fo the time.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:11 PM on June 24, 2006

Horrible. I have 15445 messages in my spam folder, and I had to move *thousands* of messages there manaually because their filter doesn't work. I have 1500 messages in my inbox, almost all are spam. I could mark a ton more as spam, but gmail's search function sucks, and can't match a comma. Anyone know how to search for the string "Ra," without matching "Ra" as well?
posted by rajbot at 7:49 PM on June 24, 2006

It's been good for me. My email is hosted by gmail.

So I junked SpamCop, and Gmail now hosts all my mail.

Jesus, that was an awful ariticle. I would hope that info would be apparent for anyone over 10.
posted by justgary at 10:07 PM on June 24, 2006

I get more false negatives (maybe 10-20+ a day) than I did using Spambayes in Outlook before. But the only false positives I've noticed have been mailing lists or other spammy looking things. I almost never check my spam folder anymore.
posted by frenetic at 9:51 AM on June 25, 2006

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