How Gmail and Other Services Can Reduce False Spam Positives

Ever had important mail dropped in the spam folder?

Its annoying, isn’t it.

My mail has normally recieved 70-80 spams/day.  In the last 2 weeks its increased to 500-1000/day.   I used to be able to filter these by hand, I no longer can do it.  This means if a mail accidently goes into my spam folder I will no longer catch it.

So I found a simple technique for dramatically reducing false spam positives.  I’d love to see this automated in gmail.

Gmail has the ability to search folders using the command label:<folder name>.  This also works for the spam folder.. label:spam

So, when you select it to search on the spam folder, you can put in critical keywords for you, such as your name, your business name, or any other keyword which will almost always identify you.  This will return a search showing the spam emails containing those keywords.  It will immediately identify false positives.

If you choose keywords which are not commonly used in spam AND are always represented in your important emails, you immediately will save critical emails from being lost.  In my case, spammers often know my first name, sometimes know my last name, but rarely use the two together.  Having both in the body of an email is definitely worth going into my inbox.  They do not know my company name, nor do they know my business name.

Right now I can run this query by hand.  What I’d love to see would be a google-news style alert based around keywords to automatically move mail from the spam folder into my inbox.

For extra points:  I’d love to have google do a contextual analysis (adsense-style) on my email to identify uncommon keywords for me from my email and automatically whitelist those messages too.

I know spam assassin and other services allow keyword whitelisting – but thats hard to do.  I also hear outlook can do it, I’m not sure how.  But I’ve never heard of it built into a mainstream web client like hotmail/yahoo/gmail.

Even if you’re not getting 1000 spams/day into your junkmail, you eventually will, trust me.  🙂 Given the rate of spam growth, this method will probably become the only way to keep good mail out of the spam folder in time.