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Review of GMail for Your Domain 192

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the fingers-in-another-pie dept.
DevanJedi writes "Google recently started offering GMail hosted email service, with 25 free 2 GB email accounts, for universities and beta-testing private domains. Science Addiction has a review of the GMail for Your Domain service and its features including screenshots and speculation on future Google free and paid hosting efforts."
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Review of GMail for Your Domain

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  • Old news but welcome (Score:3, Informative)

    by commanderfoxtrot (115784) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:15PM (#15014287) Homepage
    This was published ages ago; anyone know though how big the beta is?

    One of the main problems with GMail is the "on behalf of" thing when trying to masquerade under a valid alternative email address.

    It's to do with GMail including your gmail address in the headers of the email (the Sender: header?).
    • Outlook, not Gmail (Score:5, Informative)

      by DragonHawk (21256) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:25PM (#15014355) Homepage Journal
      "One of the main problems with GMail is the "on behalf of" thing when trying to masquerade under a valid alternative email address."

      That's really more of an Outlook issue. GMail is adhering to the standards. "From" identifies the nominal author(s) of a message. "Sender" identifies the specific, single agent which originated a message. See RFC-2822, Section 3.6.2.

      It's hardly GMail's fault that Outlook presents that information in such a funny looking way.
      • "GMail is adhering to the standards."


        I wasn't aware of this section of RFC 2822. But I'd still prefer to inhibit the sending of the header.

        • Not my problem (Score:4, Interesting)

          by DragonHawk (21256) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:04AM (#15015615) Homepage Journal
          "But I'd still prefer to inhibit the sending of the header."

          And I'd prefer they didn't. It's useful to know who actually sent a message. (Sure, it can be forged anyway, but I'm talking about for administrative purposes, not security.) All my mail programs don't puke all over the screen when they get the header. If yours does, I suggest you contact the vendor of said program for support.
    • The author dose not state the absolute greatest feature of this service.

      However it's listed right there on the Gmail for your Domain home page.


      "Gmail for your domain is hosted by Google, so there's no hardware or software for you to install or maintain."

      Having maintained Email servers before I can tell you that even the most elegant server software and the most robust Hardware will still give you the occasional headache.

      Not as bad as Exchange on a "SCSI cluster". That's when you use a cluster capab

    • by sprins (717461) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @09:27PM (#15015002)
      One of the main problems with GMail is the "on behalf of" thing when trying to masquerade under a valid alternative email address.

      I'd say one of the mail problems with GMail is the fact that their outbound SMTP relayers are off-and-on listed in the dnsbl.sorbs.net blackhole. This means mail you send out may get blocked by receiving servers that check this blackhole.

      I'm regularly getting these kinds of messages when I send out mail and that really sucks:

      PERM_FAILURE: SMTP Error (state 9): 554 Service unavailable; Client host [64.233.166.180] blocked using dnsbl.sorbs.net; Spam Received See: http://www.sorbs.net/lookup.shtml?64.233.166.180 [sorbs.net]

  • Wow (Score:3, Informative)

    by heatdeath (217147) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:18PM (#15014301)
    This is actually something that microsoft came out with before google. Weird.
    • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

      by radiotyler (819474)
      Not really. It seems more and more Google is taking things that have already been done, and just putting their own branded spin on them, often with much better functionality. I mean, MS already did webmail, yahoo already did finance, maps, etc.

      Just another dingus in the line of GoogleDingus®.
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Reaperducer (871695) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:19PM (#15014660)
        Hotmail was a successful webmail operation years before Microsoft bought it.
        • Hotmail was a successful webmail operation years before Microsoft bought it.
          Yep. I still have my hotmail account from pre-microsoft. It's now so overloaded with spam that I only check it once a month or so to sift through the garbage...
          • Re:Wow (Score:3, Informative)

            by zenwarrior (81710)

            I still have my hotmail account from pre-microsoft. It's now so overloaded with spam that I only check it once a month or so to sift through the garbage...

            Interesting. I also have a Hotmail account that dates back to the internet's Copper Wire Age. However, several months ago it went from being a spam magnet to one of the cleanest free web-mail accounts I have.

            Even better, as one of the ancient and original Hotmail accounts, it has [free] POP3 access -- a Hotmail option now only available by paying fo

        • And as it happens, it went down hill shortly after the takeover. (That whole, if you don't log in for a month you lose all settings and messages was pretty crap. Especially when you go on vacation w/o internet access for a month. ^_^ I moved first to yahoo and then to gmail.)
    • Re:Wow (Score:4, Informative)

      by utlemming (654269) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:35PM (#15014419) Homepage
      Yeah, but there is no comparision between the products. Microsoft's sucks hard. You turn over control of your domain name to them -- so you have to use their stuff. You just can't point your mx records at them.

      Google allows retention of domain control, you just point your mx record at them.

      Microsoft is going for Joe Sixpack who wants to have branded email. Google is going for the bigger guys that really know what there doing and what they want.

      Slashdot accepted my review, just hasn't published it yet. Here it is: http://utlemming.blogstream.com/ [blogstream.com]

      To sum it up, two different services, one sucks hard and the other is pretty good.
      • Re:Wow (Score:5, Informative)

        by heatdeath (217147) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:45PM (#15014476)
        Google allows retention of domain control, you just point your mx record at them.

        Microsoft is going for Joe Sixpack who wants to have branded email. Google is going for the bigger guys that really know what there doing and what they want.


        No, I'm talking about live.com custom domains, not live office. Live office is for joe sixpack; live.com custom domains do exactly what gmail does.

        If slashdot publishes your review, slashdot sucks. =P
    • Re:Wow (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rm69990 (885744)
      Meh, Yahoo! had it first before either of them anyways. Doesn't matter who did it first, what matters is who does it better.
  • I gave it a try (Score:5, Informative)

    by kkamrani (882365) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:18PM (#15014305) Homepage
    I gave it a try for my domain, anthropology.net [anthropology.net], and aside from somewhat of a hurdle getting my registrar to use Google's MX records, I have nothing but praise for the GMail hosting service. It really offers me and my site a professional web mail service.

    Although, I must say I swapped back out because they don't seem to have a catch-all email feature, like *@anthropology.net
    • Re:I gave it a try (Score:5, Informative)

      by outZider (165286) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:34PM (#15014409) Homepage
      That's a Good Thing(tm), really. Catchalls are huge spam traps. If you end up getting a dictionary attack, every address they try is set to 'valid'. ;)
      • Re:I gave it a try (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Pathwalker (103) * <hotgrits@yourpants.net> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:54PM (#15014541) Homepage Journal
        Catchalls are huge spam traps. If you end up getting a dictionary attack, every address they try is set to 'valid'. ;)

        Is this a bad thing? A few friends and I have found that there are uses [ofdoom.com] for having a set of addresses which only get spam...
        • "Is this a bad thing? A few friends and I have found that there are uses for having a set of addresses which only get spam..."

          You sir, have obviously never had several thousand emails arrive on your inbox at once, not ceasing for days... causing your spamassassin daemons to go nuts causing cascading failures all over your system as your computer runs out of memory.

          It's fun!
          • Re:I gave it a try (Score:2, Informative)

            by kwark (512736)
            There is no such problem (at this moment) if you do greylisting BEFORE a spamassassin check. The python greylistd filters thousands of messages in the same time SA does 1.
      • That's a Good Thing(tm), really. Catchalls are huge spam traps.

        My catch-all goes to /dev/null

      • It's also an anti-spam feature, allowing you to track and control sites that spam you. The only negative is the dictionary attack, as far as I can tell. In the 10 years I've had a catchall, the only addresses to which I've received this sort of random test spam are addresses like webmaster@, info@, sales@, etc. For a while I was getting some like jeff@ and joe@, but between Gmail and thunderbird's filters, they never see my inbox.
      • Re:I gave it a try (Score:3, Informative)

        by Tim C (15259)
        Not only that, but spammers tend to fake the From: headers on their emails. A couple of months ago some lowlife scum happened on my domain; the flood has subsided a little, but at its height I was getting a couple of thousand mails a day.

        That may not seem like much to some of you, but:

        1) my domain has no website at it and gives no indication of being in use (other than resolving to a valid IP)
        2) previous to that, I got maybe a couple of dozen crap mails a week

        The pattern was actually reasonably interesting.
    • Re:I gave it a try (Score:3, Insightful)

      by krbvroc1 (725200)
      I have nothing but praise for the GMail hosting service. It really offers me and my site a professional web mail service.

      Yeah, nothing is more professional than handing over your business email to google with their unlimited data retention policy. All my 'business' email with your organization will end up on googles server forever to be part of my demographic profile and who knows what else is done with it. All this and I didn't even sign up for gmail.

      Next thing you know this will be solution for those FBI

      • Re:I gave it a try (Score:5, Insightful)

        by big tex (15917) <torsionality@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:24PM (#15014686)
        Yeah, nothing is more professional than handing over your business email to google with their unlimited data retention policy

        Have the Enron trials taught us nothing?
        No corporate email is truly private. (possible exception for encrypted stuff. how many 'regular' businesses do that anyway?) If the government wants to read your mail, they'll subpoena it and get it anyway. If a competitor (I work in construction, a non-IT business) wants to read your mail, well, they're out of luck either way, unless they get a court order - at which point, it doesn't matter whose servers the mail is on.

        Hell, by passing the buck to Google, it might save you some hassle on the Sarbanes-Oxley data retention stuff.
        • Re:I gave it a try (Score:5, Insightful)

          by krbvroc1 (725200) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:56PM (#15014855)
          No corporate email is truly private.

          I think people are confusing the issues here. If I send an email to a company online, I expect that company to protect my email according to their privacy policy. By 'contracting out' your email hosting to a third-party, in this case google, any privacy policy you adopt with me is meaningless.

          This isn't about the government reading my mail with a subpeona. This is about my communications being disclosed to a third party whose sole business model is extracting the maximum advertising dollar out of that information without my permission.

          As far as Sarbanes-Oxley, that law only applies to public companies registered with the SEC in the US. And even then since you have absolutely no control over what google does with the data, how could you have any assurances about data detention?

          • Re:I gave it a try (Score:4, Insightful)

            by big tex (15917) <torsionality@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @11:00PM (#15015368)
            You are correct, I only addressed one of the privacy issues.
            I see two (largely generalized) issues:
            1) Google's internal use of your information, basically for advertising.
            2) The external use of your information, whether it be third parties, the government, competitors, whoever.
            This is basically defined by the terms of use.

            As to #1 (internal use): Personally, most of my work email is very mundane and has lots of attachments. I'm an engineer, working offsite. Lots of large attachments with drawings and calculation packages. (Yes, we've got an FTP site for the big stuff, but a dozen 2-meg emails a day add up in a hurry.) If Google thinks they can profit from selling ads based on my co-worker's ALL CAPS emails on the finer points on contract management and gear meshing, more power to them.

            As to #2 (external use): the gmail policy specifies that they only sell aggregate data, not personally identifying. Not particularly problematic, at least to me. That is, I don't own a tin foil hat.

            To each their own.
            Oh, data retention does look kind of shaky. However, I kind of like the idea of being able to categorically say 'not my problem'.
      • Re:I gave it a try (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SetupWeasel (54062)
        Maybe I'm wrong, but as far as I've heard, most if not all commercial email services retain your email messages and this information is subject to warrants.

        Google at least has a track record of fighting the government when it feels they have no business to ask for the information. Most of the telcos simply rolled over when the government started tapping phone calls without warrants.

        I'm sure Google wasn't the only search provider approached by the government to provide search data. Why didn't we hear about t
        • > Google at least has a track record of fighting the government when it feels they have no business to ask for the information. Most of the telcos simply rolled over when the government started tapping phone calls without warrants.

          Yeah, they were hardcore with the Chinese government, weren't they?
    • I also applied to Gmail beta for my domain, but NO RESPONSE FROM THEM YET. I'm assuming my domain was rejected for some reason. Does anybody know another company that offers free webmail for Domains? I heard the name Microsoft mentioned, but no details.
  • by DevanJedi (892762) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:18PM (#15014307) Homepage Journal
    Mirror if slashdotted [galaxyfaraway.com], enjoy!
  • by kasek (514492) <ckasek AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:19PM (#15014311)
    the # of accounts is said to be based off of what info you provided when you signed up. we were in the process of setting this up at work, and while i dunno how many accounts we were given, but i know it was more than 25.
  • Site's running a little slowly so here's the NYUD link [nyud.net], just in case ;)
  • by hurfy (735314)
    ok, i am done reading article someone else can go read it now.

    hehe, nearly slashdotted already with 1 comment showing :(

    Actually kinda curious as our web host kinda sucks for email, probably for site too but i got the domain for the mail :) Don't know how MX works, does it go to the web host first to find address. That probably wouldn't help us much.
    • No, you do not need a web host. You only need some place to edit your DNS settings; many domain name registrars allow you to do this.
  • by vslashg (209560) * on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:28PM (#15014372)
    So much for the folks at http://www.google-watch.org/gmail.html [google-watch.org]. They suggest folks never send mail to gmail.com, and provide boilerplate text to reply with in case someone at gmail.com mails them.

    Well, now they might be sending mail directly to Google's servers without even knowing it! I find it highly amusing that these privacy advocates assume there's any privacy at all regarding the plaintext email they might send.

    (I also find it amusing that among their privacy concerns, they also complain that gmail doesn't include the originating IP in the email headers. I guess consistency doesn't matter as long as they're railing against the great beast Google.)
    • Well, now they might be sending mail directly to Google's servers without even knowing it! I find it highly amusing that these privacy advocates assume there's any privacy at all regarding the plaintext email they might send.

      Many people forward emails to their gmail account so this was the case even before this new service was offered
  • Not everyone is getting 25 accounts, I got mine about two weeks ago and it has 10 accounts. It works great, zero real complaints by far.
  • by Not Public (257178) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @07:49PM (#15014506) Homepage
    (feel free to let me know if I'm missing something that mitigates or eliviates these issues)

    a) I'm sorry, but I'd like some better means of archiving and backing up my email than accessing it via pop3 client. especially as admin- I'd need some means of doing this in bulk.

    b) ads. while I know it could be worse.. I've been running my own webmail (iloha/squirrel) via imap. no ads. I just like not seeing them, and don't know how much I'd be willing to pay to not see them against my previous setup.

    c) visuals. I previously had much more flexibility and better integration with other site/app/branding. sorry a little 149x58-ish pic doesn't really work as "branding" an entire web presence.

    d) bulk import. I don't want to leave my mass of imap folders/clutter/organization behind!

    e) hosted domains don't get the same "ever growing" storage as normal gmail accounts. small thing, but it seems kinda silly to go with a domain via gmail, but not to get all the gmail "features".

    f) change scares me. there are several "features" hinted at, that aren't in play now... like multiple levels/account types, additional services, etc... am I going to get dragged into additional "features I don't want?" are some of my current features going to be moved to "non-free" account levels? I wish I could let it handle all my domain's accounts but my three main... keep those safe during the testing period until things stabalize... assuming that this beta period doesn't last the next 5 years.

    in the end, I know- these are paltry things, and for someone who owns nothing but a domain name.. gmail hosting their mail may not be a bad thing.
  • This is cool. Google will really all people to be more free, unless they are trying to take over the world.

    I just applied, and asked them to reconsider my adsense application. I have no idea why my adsense was rejected. I think I'm too nutty. We'll see what they say.

  • Best. Idea. Ever.

    I just hope their session managment system allows you to have multiple accounts open for those of us with multiple domains.

  • Currently, I forward all my email from my domain to my gmail address. And for my family members, to their gmail (and other) respective addresses. When using gmail, I can use my own domain name email address as the sender.

    Actually, for my various aliases, even with multiple gmail accounts, I have them all go to one final account. And when sending back emails, it's easy to switch "identities". So what advantage would the service have for me?

    I can understand the advantages for universities and some compani
    • That's how mine was setup, all mail routed to my gmail, then using the automated settings so my replies would always show the proper "From:" address. Yes, this rocks if you are trying to service a small organization, but if you are just dealing with your own domains, then it is probably easier to just route everything into one Gmail account.
  • Old news (Score:2, Informative)

    I wrote a review more than a month ago [wrongplanet.net] and submitted it to slashdot. The problem I had with Gmail was that I was used to having my mail locally, so I could read it no matter what. Google didn't offer an imap or even pop3 option.
    • Google's GMail (for your domain or otherwise) does offer POP now; I don't know if it did previously.
      • POP3 is useless. For a hosted email solution like GMail IMAP is the only way to go.

        I wish Google would let me pay to have IMAP access. That combined with a custom domain might actually cause me to use GMail, finally. I'd only use the web interface when I'm away from my primary PC.

    • Nice review. You probably submitted your story to the wrong address. This [digg.com] is the correct address to submit a slashdot story.
  • I've also changed to a Hosted acount, and really couldn't be happier right now. It's a great interface that even works with keyboard shortcuts, good spam protection, and one other thing I don't have to maintain.

    Privacy, of course, is the main concern of using this, however. But if they could be the first major interface to incorporate PGP or somesuch, then the messages would be encrypted, I wouldn't worry as much, and they'd be in better legal standing because they'd have nothing to turn over but encrypte
  • I dont really see the benefit of this service. My .forward contains my gmail account and in gmail you can use different senders. This basicly is the same but keeps me in much creater control.
    • Being as I am too lazy to learn how to configure sendmail, and way too lazy to learn how to config it properly, this is a way better solution for me. That, and I despise email clients on the PC, but those are personal issues.
  • screenshots (Score:2, Informative)

    by hyperstation (185147)
    i put up a few screenshots [trustknot.net] on this yesterday.
  • by isnoop (239143) on Tuesday March 28, 2006 @08:22PM (#15014676) Homepage
    My biggest gripe is that they don't yet offer a catch-all account. If a mailbox doesn't exist, don't give you the option to catch it in a specific mailbox instead of bouncing it.

    Catch-alls are how a lot of people who own their own domains provide unique email addresses to every site they visit so they know if someone sold their address and can block it with ease.
    • I havent tested it on my hosted account yet, but you can create unique aliases. If your account is john.doe@gmail.com, you can create john.doe+amazon@gmail.com when you submit to amazon and it will be sent to you, so you know it came from amazon.
      • Flawed for two reasons :
        1) most address validators don't recognize this as a valid address
        2) spammers can extract your real address after you've blocked the catchall alias you provided them.
    • Yeah, it works great. That's how I was able to /dev/null slashdot@mydomain once it started getting spammed years ago. I'm surprised I haven't started getting spam at slashdot2@mydomain. Either the Slash address obfuscation actually works or it is just always caught by my other filters, :)

      On the other hand, bellsouth recently started blocking incoming port 25 traffic so I can't run my own family mail server anymore as I also have for many years on my adsl. I suspect that is one reason why services like

  • ...of trollishness?

    Why is there a front page slashdot story reviewing a mail service that looks like countless others and has some marginal improvements over services going back years? Sometimes I can't help wondering if one (or all?) of the /. editors is using these largely contentless stories to manipulate stock prices by raising the profile of google, yet again, at opportune moments.

  • I wrote a small piece [fosterburgess.com] about some gmail gripes - does the hosted version behave exactly like gmail.com, or is it slightly different?

    Can I search and have it find 'close' words? Google is all about "search", and pretty much forces you in to this as the primary way of finding things, but can't find something you've misspelled.
  • I got into the beta program but my registrar, Directnic, doesn't host DNS MX records for me. The MX records of course need to point to Google's servers, but right now they point to Directnic's servers, because I use a forwarding service they provide. This service allows filter based forwarding that is far more cumbersome for them than allowing users to set MX records themselves, so I don't see why the option isn't there.

    Does anyone know a cheap registrar that will host DNS and let users set their own MX rec
  • So if I'm a paying customer what are the privacy implications of letting them handle my email? Do they keep things even if it's deleted, what about if I use them for say 1 year and then stop, do they still keep all my emails?
  • I have a few complaints, of course it's beta, but still

    1) If you create a mailing list, it won't let you include an external email, only your domain emails
    2) Mailing lists cannot have aliases
    3) There is no way to provide feedback or get help, or make suggestions
    4) There seems to be a problem with gmail, and it is not clear whether it's being handled or not. A number of providers are not receiving emails sent from gmail, they are lost in cyberspace and there is no trace on the providers' server logs. See thi [google.com]
  • The service is as you would expect. The big drawback right now is that there is no way to migrate existing Gmail accounts. I would love to use Gmail for my domain, but not at the cost of starting over with a fresh account.
  • I'm in too. Actually got the invitation on the 23rd, although I didn't set it up until today.

    I only got 15 accounts, but that's more than enough for my small pool of users (family and friends), especially since aliases (Nickname's in gmail parlance) don't count against your total.

    I haven't tried out the mailing list feature. The site customization doesn't quite work yet (attempting to change the login box color gives a blank results page when saving).

  • I set up a Gmail account as a place to receive large attachments, because my regular mail forwarding service doesn't like them, and neither do my normal mail hosts. I use Eudora, which handles POP better than anything else. And -- this is critical -- I have two computers, "home" and "office", fetching the mail. On my other accounts, I use Eudora's "leave mail on server, delete after x days" feature, which gives both computers time to fetch all of the mail, so the inboxes are normally in sync.

    Well, I need
    • one would hope they'd fix this in the beta period - but i wouldn't count on it.

      and for the small orgs that i service, we have enough with these issues as it is - most people STILL don't get the concept of 'you downloaded your mail from here, so it isn't visible there' with plain old POP3.

      and the other growth point is definitely retention. while i don't have to do retention for anyone at the moment, if i do, i'd want IMAP. and for myriad practical reasons, i don't see that happening on gmail.
  • Thoughts and images (Score:2, Informative)

    by se7en11 (833841)
    Our website just got signed up this week and we're loving it so far. There are a few improvements I would like to see though.

    1) There is currently no option to change the colors of the UI. Yes, you can change the colors of the little login box, but nothing else. Our site has a black background with dark orange and burgundy, so the switch is like night and day. (litteraly)

    2) I was not able to find a good way to add a header on top of the GMail hosted site. It would be nice to include some navigational

  • So far, it's been better than my paid email hosting server side spam controls+thunderbird's spam controls at sorting out spam.

    I have very few false positives or negatives, and I think the overall spam level has dropped, in that fewer even get accepted by the server. I was getting over 300 a day on my vanity domain, and it's under 100 now, with only one or two false negatives. This is after less than a week of testing. Of course, some of it may be that there's no catch-all. I actually want the catch-all, ho
  • got one (Score:2, Informative)

    by wwmedia (950346)
    I got it for one of my biger domains yesterday, so far its almost the same as Gmail except the address is username@mydomain.com

    took a few minutes to point the mx records, the admin control panel is cool enough, you can add your companies logo instead of gmails, batch create acounts by uploading a list ;)

    so far im fairly impressed (fairplay to google) pity its only 25emails i have 40000members on one site alone who will be interested

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