The New Gmail Spam Filter

The Gmail new spam filter is really Google Friend Connect, disguised as a friends list the levels of permission now available in Gmail is a very effective spam filter.

This is an excerpt from my social marketing members only site. This is the kind of thinking and leading edge use of GFC you will find there.

This one should really blow your socks off. Google Friend Connect and the Google friends list in Gmail is not a friends list. It is a spam filter. Stay with me here this is really good stuff…

There are four levels of spam filtering in Gmail.

  • Sites we have joined thru the Google Friend Connect widget.

  • Sites you have not joined.
  • Gmail users not listed in your contacts.
  • Gmail users who are listed in contacts and friends lists in Gmail.
  • Those that are listed in Chat.
  • Those listed in Google Latitude.

Thinking about Google the other day and the fact that I get so little spam that this just rolled right in. Many of you have followed me for a while now and you remember back to when a mistaken Trend Micro false positive destroyed my business.

What I never explained is that my Google friends list as well as my social contacts in Facebook are what saved me. The only reason I continued to deliver email to anyone was thru my Gmail friends list. Because I was a very early adopter of Google Friend Connect and was out to build a list in Gmail early on, I had many mutual friends in the eyes of Google.

When you become mutual friends in any of the Google applications: GFC widgets, Gchat, Google Lattitude, you are automatically added, your Gmail address that is, to each other’s Gmail contacts list.

Now as a social marketer, I think that is cool, however from an email standpoint, getting your email to the Inbox is how you make money. What easier way is there than getting you visitors to friend you thru a GFC widget?

Then Google does you work for you! There is also no whitelisting process for email delivery in Gmail and no public FBL (feed back loop) for receiving spam button click complaints. These are the basic necessities we use as emailers to keep getting our email delivered.

Google has replaced this process by using levels of trust. I am just theorizing here so I cannot say this is fact and we will never know if it is.

Google levels of trust

Level of trust #1.Let’s say you have joined my site thru the GFC widget on your right. Then Google would definitely deliver email from that site to your Gmail inbox. Since it was YOU who established the relationship.

Level of trust #2. Let’s say that you and I are mutual friends made through GFC and now have each others address in our Gmail contacts. I would say our emails to each other would definitely get delivered.

Level of trust #3. Let’s say that I have sent you a chat invitation and you have accepted and we now both show in each others chat widget. I would say this is an even higher indicator that our emails to each other should go directly to the Inbox.

Level of trust #4. Let’s say you have sent me a Google Latitude request and you and I now share our locations at what ever level in Google Latitude. I would hazard to say that our emails are DEFINITELY going to land in each others Inbox at this point.

Can you see how Google is using what normally is a social site to better deliver what we want all want? I don’t know about you but I want NO SPAM and I want my EMAIL NOW, not after searching the spam folder for an hour.

This only happens when you use a Gmail address. You only get the advantage of these social features when you use a Gmail address to log into Google applications like Google Lattitude. So go get one. If you do not understand how to set up Google Friend Connect properly you can get my FREE Google Friend Connect Tutorial here and watch my Google Friend Connect YouTube Channel here.

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  1. That’s a brilliant observation, Chris.

    N.B.: I’ll be adding Google Friends on every page within the next month to make the site interactive once my transition to Joomla CMS goes online.

    And after that, I hope to join your membership site. Keep up the great work.

  2. Glad you liked it, yeah it was a real wake up for me too. I was in bed sleeping when this came to me, kind of a dream.

    Everything Google is doing has so many different backdoors to it, it is really the most brilliant thinking I have ever seen, really.

    Google has been sitting back watching everything for a long time, now they are making their move. They are going to crush the rest. Microsoft, everybody, gone.

    They are just not going to be able to compete. When you see what I see, they way everything is intertwined and all works together, it is mind boggling.

  3. BTW, I gave you a brief mention over at my blog the other day, after a brief post on the proposed MSN / Yahoo merger:

  4. Hey there Chris,

    I like what you’re saying yet for the life of me, none of the friends I add through GFC (and they add me back)are added to my gmail account, ever.

    Anyone else have the same issue with their contacts list?

    • Chris Lang
    • April 14, 2009

    Clint, we all go thru this, are they (your new friends) using Gmail? I get this report all the time.

    If they are not using Gmail you may net get them added as contacts.

    Also there was a period where Google was getting ready to roll out Latitude, no one got any contacts added. Not even me for like 30 days.

    As soon as Google let loose with Latitude the contacts started being added again.

    I have no problems with this feature. There may be some sharing settings you or the friends you are adding have a feature shut down.

    Also I have all settings set to full on, I have NO sharing settings set to off.

    You may want to check Google Reader and see if your sharing there is set to on, that may effect it as well.

    Google offers no documentation on this and sometimes it takes a while to update. Sometimes it never does.

    If you know the person already, just add them to Gchat or Latitude, that does it every time.

    You have to realize, this is very leading edge stuff. Google just in the last few weeks started encouraging others to start creating Google profiles from Gmail.

    Also, there is a setting in your Google profile as to whether or not to allow others to message you from your Google profile. You may want to set that to on as well.

    If you have all this on and still do not get your contacts added, let me know, I will get to the bottom of this eventually.

    Also please feel free to ask any questions you have right in comments on any of my 3 sites. I will be glad to answer them immediately or direct your question to a Google engineer and report a bug or get an answer.

    – Chris Lang

  5. Thanks for the lengthy reply Chris. It beats the hell out of me, got all settings in Gmail and Google Reader set to ‘on’ and share with over a hundred people in Google Reader and it still doesn’t play ball. And you’re right, Google has bugger all documentation about this.

    I’ll keep looking for the answer man and let you know when I track it down.

  6. Chris I am so tech challenged but I read and keep all you write and maybe I will figure it out someday:)
    You always have such good information.

  7. I’s love to be able to follow up with the implications of GFC friends in my contact list.

    Trouble is, even though I’ve sent and had accepted many gfc friend requests, NONE show up in my gmail contacts (yes I’me signed in with the right account at the time).

    Is it because I’m using my gmail account as a pop3 server and collect my email using Outlook?


    • Chris Lang
    • May 11, 2009

    Mark, I think you already answered your own question.

    The social features are in Gmail, not in Outlook. Second does Outlook access Gmail contacts and update them to you Outlook contacts list.

    If not, then if you go to your Gmail account, then you will probably see a fair number of email addresses you don’t really recognize.

    Third, why the heck would you use Outlook, when Gmail is faster to use. Offline access? Who cares, I never get an email that I do not need the internet to deal with.

    I am until today, a heavy Outlook user, now I am moving totally to Gmail, online.

    I am moving out of Windows, I just added an Ubuntu partition to my Windows machine and am learning how and how much I can use Ubuntu immediately and easily.

    I am only tied to Windows thru Camtasia studio that I use to produce my YouTube videos.

    Unless you have many different emails and you need them all in one place, I would not use Outlook.

    What I do is use my chris at keywebdata email address strictly businesss communications.

    I use Gmail strictly for all social contacts, it divides the two and my social media assistant can do a lot of work there for me, freeing me up to do things like this.

    @Clint, you have 100 friends sharing in Google Reader? That is the end goal here, lots of friends sharing your blog posts and shared items. Why be unhappy or question this?

    The reason you are not getting friend email addresses is they are not using Gmail themselves. I have said this many times, it is a two way conversation, and Google is never going to send Friend requests to Gmail like Facebook does, it is a waste of time to deal with that crap.

    They don’t want us friending every person we can in every GFC widget to get friends. We tried it, that don’t work.

    What you want is real friends, (G wants this too) and we want them in Gchat, then we have a real connection and we can get real time responses.

    I can produce more action that makes me money from my Gchat contacts than I can from my 6,0000 social friends.

    Because like me, my social friends are very powerful, I target highly influential users. In chat you know me, you don’t get that from Outlook. Mostly, Outlook just brings me spam. LOL

    Gmail is now so slick and fast there is no reason not to use it. I used to want to brand, now I brand Chris Lang and I am always number one for a search. Real people being real people, that is what Google wants, why not give it to them?

  8. @Clint, obviously the answer man you are looking for is someone who has the answer you want to hear. I have told everyone ten times over, your friends are obviously NOT using Gmail.

    @Clint, @Mark, I just checked my own Gmail contacts, Clint you are in my friends list, so I HAVE to be in yours, Mark, no where to be seen.

    Google is swapping tons of code around, until about 2 months ago, when G launched Latitide, no one was getting friends in Gmail for like a month straight. Now it works flawlessly.

    It still depends on the other end, both must be using Gmail. So, go use Gmail.

    Lastly, GFC ain’t Digg, you can’t just make a ton of friends and then shout them to death with “Digg this” spam and get Google rankings and it ain’t never going to happen.

    Lastly where are you adding friends, just adding every person in one of my widgets to get my subscribers?

    That don’t work either, just look at the history on Googling Social, you can see who is just sitting there trying to plunder my friends list but it don’t work because they do not understand GFC like I do.

    This ain’t Digg and Google ain’t Dodge City, just because you know how to use Facebook don’t mean you know anything about Google.

  9. Pingback: The New Gmail Spam Filter – Avoid Spam Filters | Google Friend Connect Blog

  10. Hey Chris,

    Thank You For the post. Would you please elaborate on your last comment.

    I am not sure what you are trying to say.
    ” This ain’t Digg and Google ain’t Dodge City, just because you know how to use Facebook don’t mean you know anything about Google. ”

    Are you referring to Google as a social platform? Or are you trying to tell Mark that the GFC does not work on a reciprocating friends platform because his friends aren’t showing up in his GFC? Or something else? Would please elaborate.


      • Chris Lang
      • July 24, 2010

      @Arron – Have you ever seen Quigley Down Under, the movie? Remember the last line, This ain’t Dodge City and you ain’t Bill Hickok?

      Well, Clint below is from Australia. He and a few others were part of another marketers group of affiliates. The OTHER MARKETER and I got in a little tiff about who was the man when it came to Google. For weeks his little band kept poking at me that new GFC and Reader friends were not showing up in Google contacts as I said they would going back to August 2008.

      So my Quigley reference to the Aussie below is meant in the same way now. BTW the OTHER marketer’s info product platform failed and now me, Clint and Mark Highton Ridley are buddies again. But I got sick of being poked at… and poked back, hence the remark you read above.

      To answer your question, this was over a year ago, last May. I have always contended that when Google social apps seem to break, it is because Google is updating the social networking apps or wiring new ones in. In this case it was the release of Google Wave to dev testers just weeks later.

      Now Google once again works just as I described it does when I broke all this news over 2 years ago.

      That is what most don’t seem to get when it comes to Google. They think it is an app built on an address book. When in fact, when you add new friends on Google, they are ADDED to your address book. Google builds your address book for you, just like adding friends on Facebook adds friends to your friend list. So yes, Google, all of Google is one big social network. Like 60 different sites or so. And it is all based and stored in Google / Gmail contacts.

      In fact just after this I wrote a blog post about why, for a time Google did not add new friends on GFC to Gmail contacts, now Google Contacts.

      So to paraphrase, I was just being the outspoken, loud mouth, jackass that I am sometimes. But then, sooner or later everyone gets tired of being poked with a stick.

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