Gmail sender header makes custom From: address useless for mailinglists

If you’re a user, you probably know by now you can set a custom “from” address instead of just the “reply-to” (see under Settings… Accounts). It makes it possible to use Gmail with your existing mail address both for incoming and outgoing mail, without other people even noticing. Still, there are some issues:

Custom from: address under settings... accounts

For outgoing mail, Gmail adds an extra Sender: header, I assume as an anti-spam measure. Mailing list software like ezmlm also take this sender header into account when checking membership (any useful mailinglist requires subscription beforehand, again an anti-spam measure), so mail sent via Gmail gets rejected, even with an access-entitled From: (and Reply-to:).

Another problem, as reported by Christopher Schulte, is that outlook 2003 treats the Sender: as the real sender “on behalf of” the From:, and he suggests

I hope they modify the system to replace Sender: with something far less intrusive like X-Googlemail-Userid: which would both preserve the identifiable gmail account information (making abuse complaints far easier to manage) and put the customized domain back up front and center.

Still, Gmail remains a fantastic mail client and archive… I still use it side by side with Outlook mail folders, where I store items that unambiguously belong under some project. All the rest “disappears” (labeled according to some filter rules) in Gmail’s archive, ready to be retrieved by some well-formulated full-text search. I can imagine people relying on it entirely even for professional purposes (and even companies – when will google start to offer hosted corporate mail?)…

13 Responses to “Gmail sender header makes custom From: address useless for mailinglists”

  1. mads Says:

    Please enthuse others to let the folks at Gmail know that we dont like this “on behalf of” functionality:

  2. Chinarut Says:

    hey – it’s good to get this reference off Google Groups.

    Anyone have a suggestion as for a workaround for ezmlm issue outside of hopping to Yahoo! Mail to get the task done?

  3. anon Says:

    still eager to find a solution to this. any ideas?

  4. "From Outlook, to Gmail, to The Bat!" by Adam Caudill’s Blog Says:

    […] Setup any custom From address, personally, I had 5. Now, here’s a word of warning: pay close attention to the note on that page, I didn’t, and it bit me quite hard, here’s why. […]

  5. torm3nt Says:

    re: mads

    That from what I can tell is an outlook issue, not gmail.

  6. shahlan Says:

    Do some thing
    Close my gmail account it’s continue send virus to every one every day. so much
    I am closed it but still send e-mail
    Please do some thing my address (

  7. WHat Says:

    The worst thing is :
    “For outgoing mail, Gmail adds an extra Sender: header, I assume as an…”

    What the fuuck they gmail team design?

    Why not completely change the “sender address”?

  8. twocents Says:

    I agree with WHat…

    It’s really obnoxious for Gmail to allow you to use a different From: address and then screw you over by announcing to everyone that you’re faking your email address and actually use a gmail account instead…

    They should either just don’t allow a different From: or just replace your freakin’ email address…

  9. Jozz Says:

    It is ridiculous,

    As it can easily confuse recipients. Great product otherwise.

  10. Kevin Says:

    There’s a discussion of this problem (and a similar one that afflicts MobileMe users) at that you might find useful.

  11. Bsdlfjo Says:

    Guys, for $10 a month you can get your own web site with something like 500 POP email accounts included at Network Solutions. That’s like the equivalent of 3 cups of starbucks coffee each month.

  12. Moshe Says:

    Yes, I know it has been a long time since this was posted but…

    This is by design. It helps for spam filtering purposes.

    For example, if your company has a strict SPF record, you would otherwise be unable to send from gmail as your work address.

    This is now fixed. You can use your work’s SMTP server from Gmail.

  13. Upgrading to Gmail | HubLog Says:

    […] a Gmail address, which is configured to reply using the address the email was sent to (shame about the Outlook problem with Sender fields, but it’ll have to […]