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False Positives, Gmail Postmaster Tools & The Infinite Feedback Loop

Posted on 7.22.2015

There are no two virtual ways about it: spam remains a major problem - for both consumers and those so desperate to limit its impact.

It's a tricky problem.

Less than 0.1 percent of email in the average Gmail inbox is spam (thanks in great part to major improvements in spam detection over the years courtesy of advancements in machine learning) and the amount of wanted mail landing in the spam folder is even lower (at under 0.05 percent).

The chance of "false-positives" occurring, however, wherein a legitimate email is reported as spam, remains a genuine possibility (and it's driving senders crazy).

Google has long relied on machine learning to make its spam filters better, taking users feedback activity (clicking the report spam button for example) as well as the preferences of individual users into account. In such a dynamic landscape, it's important that senders understand what's working (or not) and why.

Spam detection has never been perfect, but significant strides are being made to eradicate this digital scourge and, once again, Google is taking the lead with the recent release of its Gmail Postmaster Tools offering.


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The solution enables senders to analyze the performance of the email they send to Gmail users. Senders can access data on delivery errors, spam reports and reputation. It's a major step forward for a few reasons.

High volume email marketers will be able to see if users are marking their emails as spam, why emails may not be delivered, and if their emails are being sent securely. If you're like a majority of senders, a significant percentage of your list will be using Gmail addresses. By having access to user (and system) feedback on the email experience, senders can optimize their email initiatives.

More email delivered, means more clicks; and more clicks means, you guessed it, more revenue.

Since most email service providers don't always go into great detail about why emails weren't delivered or if they were marked as spam by the recipient, Google's offering will prove useful in helping brands eliminate barriers to the inbox (and the click) and thus will certainly be well received by the digital community..

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