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SpikeRobinson

Gmail: gotchas, mini-How To, and questions

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Experience registering a Gmail address with SpamCop Mailhosts:

Gotcha #1

Did not receive any of the Mailhost probes in my Gmail account.

( Question: It only sends 5 probes for Gmail. Surely there are more than 5 servers in use by Gmail. Are these 5 supposed to be a random selection, or what? What if I forward spam that did not come through one of these 5 servers? )

Gotcha #2

Could not find a solution in this Forum (searched on Gmail, read all those articles, read all the Pinned articles). Signed up for this Spamcop Mailhost Configuration Forum to ask questions about Gotcha #1. Did not receive the authorisation link in my Gmail account either. Catch 22?

And this is weird because my confirmation email for joining the SpamCop system as a reporter came through OK. What gives?

( In fact, meanwhile I signed up for a cqmail / cesmail / spamcop.net paid account. This account can send email to my Gmail account, no problem. Also the registration comes through ok - but I guess that's really from Paypal or someone like that. )

Lightbulb #1

Trawling through the forums I see something about 'check your spam folder'. A newbie mistake. :blush: And that's exactly why there should be a reminder on the main set up page for Mailhosts. Or at least on the Pinned issues in this forum.

Success, I find my Forum confirmation and my Mailhosts probes in my spam folder in Gmail. I mark them as Not spam, in the hope that might be of benefit to others, and proceed.

Gotcha #3

Replying to the probes does not work. It doesn't send the headers, or not enough of them.

To work around this I do "Expand All" in Gmail and then in each message I use "More Options" - "Show Original". I copy the original, ASCII text and paste it in to my reply so it is the only content of the Reply.

Gotcha #4

This does not work either. Parsing of the headers falls over in the SPF header, reproduced here in context:

Received: from sc-app5.spamcop.net (sc-app5.spamcop.net [204.15.82.24])

by mx.google.com with SMTP id 17si6496193nzo.2006.12.02.07.28.23;

Sat, 02 Dec 2006 07:28:24 -0800 (PST)

Received-SPF: pass (google.com: domain of service[at]admin.spamcop.net designates 204.15.82.24 as permitted sender)

X-SpamCop-Conf: gyGVz2kCD4gw6r0O

Error message is:

Mangled headers

...

In this sample, the problem was found near the line:

designates 204.15.82.24 as permitted sender)

( I'm wondering how realistic it is for SpamCop to be this picky about other people's mail software implementations... any way, moving on. )

I again copy and past the "Show Original" message from Gmail, but this time into the web form link in the email from SpamCop. I paste it all into the top box of the two boxes.

This works! Hooray. :D

What's slightly confusing is I don't get any progress feedback that I have correctly registered 0/5, n/5, or 5/5 of the probes. So the mhedit shows the same help text all the time, until I've registered >1 probes, in which case it shows me all the details of my host but no info on the status of my registration.

I would suggest the following state feedback in mhedit (per host):

1. No registration in progress.

Show existing help text

2. Registration in progress, 0 complete

Show a new explanatory text that says something like - "probes have been sent to you for host YYY, check your inbox at xx[at]yyy.com, and also and spam / Junk mail folders. Follow the instructions. See here for help/faq forums."

Also say something like "7 responses received, 2/5 validated, 5 errors, 3 still to validate".

3. Registration completed 5/5/ validated

Show the current display for host YYY

Also have a message like - "now confirm spam reporting is working correctly so we can turn quick reporting back on, see faq/help here"

Gotcha #5

Now I have a paid spamcop.net account, I have to go through all of this headache again! At least it's much easier to submit spam from the spamcop account. In hindsight I shouldn't have bothered with my reporting-only account.

Gotcha #6?

Am I going to run in to trouble if I use the same address, in the forwarding chain for my spamcop.net account, that I used for my reporting account? I'll let you know.

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( Question: It only sends 5 probes for Gmail. Surely there are more than 5 servers in use by Gmail. Are these 5 supposed to be a random selection, or what? What if I forward spam that did not come through one of these 5 servers? )

There are only 5 servers defined as MXes for gmail.com. There may be multiple servers behind those names, but that is why the domain is included in the mailhost config. Any properly working server will have the fqdn, including the domain.

C:\Documents and Settings\Steven>nslookup

Default Server: resolver2.opendns.com

Address: 208.67.220.220

> set type=mx

> gmail.com

Server: resolver2.opendns.com

Address: 208.67.220.220

Non-authoritative answer:

gmail.com MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = alt1.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com

gmail.com MX preference = 10, mail exchanger = alt2.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com

gmail.com MX preference = 50, mail exchanger = gsmtp163.google.com

gmail.com MX preference = 50, mail exchanger = gsmtp183.google.com

gmail.com MX preference = 5, mail exchanger = gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com

>

On your other problems, I can not remember any issues registering my gmail account, but I believe I has SpamCop webmail POP the GMail account.

The reason it is so strict is to be sure your software can reliably generate full, unmodified headers. This is also necessary for reporting spam. You will need to go through the same procedures to submit your spam to spamcop.

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There are only 5 servers defined as MXes for gmail.com. There may be multiple servers behind those names, but that is why the domain is included in the mailhost config. Any properly working server will have the fqdn, including the domain.

[lists them all]

That makes perfect sense, thanks for the explanation.

So we should hope that a large email service provider doesn't configure, say, 200 MX records. Or our fingers will fall off from all the typing required. ;)

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( Question: It only sends 5 probes for Gmail. Surely there are more than 5 servers in use by Gmail. Are these 5 supposed to be a random selection, or what? What if I forward spam that did not come through one of these 5 servers? )
There are only 5 servers defined as MXes for gmail.com.
...That's so today but what about the future? IMHO (and in my experience with my own provider, my employer's admins), the OP is right to ask this.
There may be multiple servers behind those names, but that is why the domain is included in the mailhost config. Any properly working server will have the fqdn, including the domain.

<snip>

...But don't rely on this! Watch each and every abuse address to which SpamCop's parser offers to report to be sure your provider's abuse address is not there (unless, of course, the source of the spam is your provider!). Especially if you are using "quick reporting" or the SpamCop e-mail system's analogous functionality.

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There are only 5 servers defined as MXes for gmail.com....That's so today but what about the future? IMHO (and in my experience with my own provider, my employer's admins), the OP is right to ask this....But don't rely on this! Watch each and every abuse address to which SpamCop's parser offers to report to be sure your provider's abuse address is not there (unless, of course, the source of the spam is your provider!). Especially if you are using "quick reporting" or the SpamCop e-mail system's analogous functionality.

Thanks for the warning, I will be careful out there. In here. Whatever. :)

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