Jan 1, 2011

Google Goes Evil – Blocks Google Apps Group Emails When Any Member is on Facebook

(jump to the fix)

I’m a GoogleApps user and have generally been happy. 2 days ago I stoped receiving some regular emails.  I quickly realized the missing emails were ones sent to groups in our Google Apps domain.  So – I sent an email to some of the group email addresses and got this response:

Delivery Status Notification (Failure)

550 550 5.7.1 Unauthenticated email is not accepted from this domain. g17si24246438ibb.67 (state 18).
Message-Id: <7a90316df68e3a4c1008a795a0c86fd8@www.facebook.com>

Of particular interest here is @www.facebook.com.  Nothing to do with the sender or receiving group is related to facebook in ANY way!

After reading some forum threads showing that many others have had similar problems, it soon became clear that the problem had to do with any group that I was a part of, because my email is registered with facebook.

Sure enough – if I remove my facebook registered email from the group then emails to the group are delivered.  If I add my facebook registered email back to the group, emails are blocked.  I’ve tried this with several groups.

This is probably related to Google’s ongoing spat with facebook about data ownership, but Google definitely sucks for doing this.  I’m not trying to export my data, and I haven’t made any changes to my setup, but now, all of a sudden, any emails that go to a group that has a facebook user as a member get blocked.  Gmail FAIL!

The Fix

Update your group members to include a ‘+g’ in the username. Eg:

remove geoff@domain.com and add geoff+g@domain.com

Gmail allows you to use a ‘+’ in emails that have no impact on the recipient, so both the emails above go to the same place. However, geoff+g isn’t registered with facebook, so group emails will get delivered.