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Reasons to not use Gmail

  • They quietly discard email deemed to be too offensive for your delicate sensibilities or something, and they don't even tell you (the recipient, not the sender). My mail-server is told that it was accepted, and my smart-phone (which syncs with Google) is told that it arrived, so where the bloody hell is it (and no, it's not in the spam folder)? This is EVIL. How hard would it be to quarantine it instead, and let me decide for myself? It seems to have nothing to do with DKIM (or lack of it).

  • When posting to a mailing list, you generally don't see your own post come back.

  • Many of their servers are listed on various DNSBLs, and they don't care; I'm getting tired of whitelisting random users who use “Reply All” instead of “Reply to List” (another whinge of mine). I'll probably end up removing all those exceptions and let nature have her way…

  • They are a notable source of spam, and they don't care (and I'm not talking about forgeries).

  • They rotate amongst various servers when being rejected, instead of taking the standard SMTP response code “550 5.7.1” as FOAD. The same thing happens with 4xx responses (which I was forced to implement out of self-defence); from this I conclude that they are attempting to avoid IP blocks i.e. spammer behaviour.

  • Mail that fails DKIM tests is quietly discarded; I have no idea how Gmail lusers handle mailing lists (e.g. Mailman) that insert the list name into the Subject: header.

  • They quietly discard email with the same Message-ID, so woe betide you if you forward a message again, because you deleted the original.

  • They appear to be rejecting (out of band) my (in band) rejections, in direct violation of best practices (if not an outright RFC violation).

  • They have no “postmaster@” and “abuse@” addresses in violation of the RFCs, nor indeed any discernible spam-reporting addresses at all.

  • They gratuitously subscribe you to Gmail+, which appears to be some wanky social forum or other.

  • Similarly, they send you unwanted YouTube crap (which I would never use in a fit); given that Google own YouTube, I guess they won't take any action…

  • The "Spam" button is idiotically next to the "Delete" button, and in the same style.

  • They ignore all feedback.

  • They appear to share your personal information, if you were idiotic enough to click upon their “Yes, I agree to sacrifice my first-born upon your altar” i.e. “We Are Too Big To Be Blocked”.

  • Further to the above, I created a new domain and sent mail to it from my Gmail account (the only place that I've ever used it, ever, and it's not the WHOIS contact); that email address started getting spammed shortly afterwards. Coincidence? Draw your own conclusions…

  • It seems that they're into RST-scanning the net; this from a TCPDUMP that I happened to be running at the time:

    10:49:34.744707 IP (tos 0x0, ttl 42, id 7956, offset 0, flags [none], proto TCP (6), length 40) > aneurin.kfu.smtp: Flags [R], cksum 0xe90a (correct), seq 321740890, win 0, length 0

    And now they're into FIN scanning:

    20:53:35.876000 IP > aneurin.kfu.http: Flags [F.], seq 1015465865, ack 1575976386, win 336, options [nop,nop,TS val 494481131 ecr 4240944154], length 0
    20:53:36.535754 IP > aneurin.kfu.http: Flags [F.], seq 0, ack 1, win 336, options [nop,nop,TS val 494481791 ecr 4240944154], length 0
    20:53:37.855915 IP > aneurin.kfu.http: Flags [F.], seq 0, ack 1, win 336, options [nop,nop,TS val 494483111 ecr 4240944154], length 0
    20:53:40.496144 IP > aneurin.kfu.http: Flags [F.], seq 0, ack 1, win 336, options [nop,nop,TS val 494485751 ecr

  • More slimy stuff; this from my firewall summary, now that I'm paying attention:

    18:02:56.371028 IP > aneurin.kfu.http: Flags [R], seq 4021147379, win 0, length 0

    If they want to know whether I'm running a web server, then why not be honest and just connect to it?

  • There appears to be no way to reply inline to messages, thus engendering contempt for existing email etiquette.

    Don't be evil”, huh? You be the judge. (Update: they have quietly dropped the "no evil" mantra; hmmm…)

    Consider using Hotmail instead; they have really cleaned up their act, and actually have a reporting address.

    Comments from Gmail-droids will be cheerfully ignored (but possibly shared and/or posted here), and additions are sought if they can be proven.

    And if you think that I have an attitude towards Gmail lusers and I regard them as second-class citizens, you're probably right; are they too cheap to get a real email address? And if you have a “cute” address then don't expect me to recognise it and whitelist you…

    If you're silly enough to want to email me (and fancy your chances of getting past my spam filters) then try here; if you are a filthy spammer who wants to be added to my oubliette then you can't go past this link.

    If you're morbid enough to want to see my excuse for a home page then it's over here somewhere.

    Dave Horsfall DTM (VK2KFU)
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