Gmail servers as a cure for overzealous anti-spam systems

Ever have the feeling your emails are falling into a black hole? I’ve been getting that since last Friday, when people – in particular editors – have stopped answering my messages. Some, it turned out, were just very busy or away at 3GSM. Others, I’m not so sure about.

My root paranoia stems from my ISP, Be, which has taken the slightly unusual step of blocking all outgoing email traffic unless it goes through its own server. I’ve had to set all my email accounts to send via smtp1.bethere.co.uk and set up various doohickeys to automatically change my mail settings on my laptop whenever I’m out and about.

This wouldn’t be too bad if it weren’t for the fact that Be’s server is slow and it keeps getting blacklisted for sending spam. Of course, it’s always some zombie or other that’s done it, not someone running a spam business, but that doesn’t stop the blacklisting.

Be always does its best (it claims) to get itself unlisted, but with companies using various anti-spam systems and updating them at ‘interesting’ intervals on occasion, that still means that Be’s being blacklisted by random organisations at random times.

So after a week of silence and chasing, I decided enough was enough and reconfigured my Google Mail account to accept emails sent from work and home accounts. Google Mail uses a different port for its SMTP servers, one that Be doesn’t block. It’s also unlikely to end up in anyone’s blacklist and it uses all the lovely domain authentication systems you’d expect of a giant like Google. You still need to authenticate using your Google Mail details and if you don’t let the system know about your other email accounts, it’ll change the “From” header so it uses your Google Mail account’s address. But once you’ve done that, you’re ready to use it as if it were your own server.

Tried resending a few messages that I’d had no reply to. Got answers within two minutes.

Bloody Be. And more precisely, blood spam mailers, ruining it for the rest of us.