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Where Is The Gmail Whitelist?
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Where is the Gmail Whitelist?

If you've ever subscribed to one of those newsletters or bought something online, you'll often notice the provider of the service giving you a warning to 'check your spam folder' or to 'ensure you add this domain to your email whitelist'.

(I'm assuming most of you know what a whitelist is - it's a list of email addresses that your spam filter takes note of so it doesn't accidentally label legitimate email as spam).

When I first shifted across to Gmail , I wasn't quite sure where the whitelist was (I'm almost embarrassed to say that), so instead, I just checked my Spam folder once every few days to shifted back into my Inbox those emails that were being incorrectly labelled.

Well - I soon discovered that there are two ways of doing Gmail whitelists

  1. On the backend admin area for the 'domain' if you are using the full Google Apps option (which is beyond the scope of this article), or
  2. Using a 'feature' of Gmail filters (I wasn't expecting this, as it isn't called a whitelist - but this is what we can explore - and something you can all do).

How to stop emails going into Gmail Spam

Now, just for the record, I think Gmail spam technology is world class - so I don't have any complaints with that side of things - but if you are finding certain emails regularly ending up in the Gmail Spam bucket, here's what to do:

  1. Identify the sender of the email that end's up incorrectly labelled (I just took a look at my spam folder of 300 emails labelled as such over the last 5 days and found a new entry - a legitimate email from Freshbooks had ended up in the Gmail Spam bucket.)
  2. Do a search using the 'advanced' search feature on the standard Gmail interface, you know, that little drop-down arrow on the right-hand side of the search box. (I ended up with a 'search' that said something like 'from: @freshbooks')
  3. Click on the 'Create filter from search' link at the bottom of the advanced search dialogue. (Yes, you read that right - Gmail implements its whitelist as Gmail filters).
  4. Select the option that says 'Never send it to Spam', and then click on the 'Create Filter' button.

From this point onwards, anything that meets the criteria you set for your filter will not end up in the Gmail Spam bucket!

Oh, by the way, while you are at it, you might want to do a couple of other house-cleaning functions with that same Gmail filter. For example, you might want to (what I do):

  • Check the option of skipping the Inbox (if it isn't that important an email)
  • Check the option for not marking it as important (most of my regular subscription email is NOT important)
  • Anything else you think is useful for you.

So, when the ability to filter Gmail spam for items that shouldn't be labelled as such will soon have your Gmail spam filters fine-tuned to the point where you'll only need to check you Spam folder once a week or perhaps every two weeks for the odd stray email that you need to add to your whitelist.

Happy Gmail filtering!


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