Earlier this summer a friend told me about a way to keep emails out of the Gmail spam filter, which unlike that of Yahoo! Mail can not be disabled. By setting up a filter rule (say, the email contains certain words) and specifying the “Never send it to spam” action for messages that match the rule, these emails will never get caught in the spam folder.
I collect a lot of spam for building my spam blacklists and would have liked to use my Gmail accounts for that, so this sounded useful. By using a filter rule I could ensure that the spam emails I wanted to analyze would either end up in the Inbox, from where my spamfilter can extract them via POP, or would be forwarded to another email address for retrieval.
However when I tried it, the new option wasn’t there. I found many blogs talking about the feature, but none of the Gmails accounts I tried gave me that option. What was I missing?
The mystery seems to be related to the browser I use: When I use Internet Explorer 7 on a Vista machine, the new option was indeed available. However, with Internet Explorer 6.0 on two XP machines it wasn’t there. When I installed and ran FireFox 3 in parallel on one of those XP machines, the option appeared too.
Therefore, if like me you use IE 6 and don’t want to switch browsers just yet, set up the Gmail filter from another machine running IE 7 or install FireFox as an additional browser (not the default) on your IE 6 machine. Unlike IE 7, FireFox will coexist happily with IE 6 and upgrading to it is not a one way street as it is with IE 7.