Sending email to a mailing list or yourself through Google Apps

This past summer, all HMC students email accounts were migrated from Zimbra (mailbox-02) and onto Google Apps.  You may also know that we are currently migrating faculty email accounts from Zimbra (mailbox-01) to Google Apps as well.

Early on in the migration, we received reports from students that when they send emails to their own address (which forwards directly to their Google Apps accounts), or when they send to a mailing list that contains their own address, they did not get the email back in their Inbox.

Here are some common statements that describe the situation:
– I sent an email through Google Apps with my email address in the To, CC, or BCC, field, but I never received that email back in my Inbox.
– My email address is a member of a mailing list.  However, when I emailed that mailing list, I never got my own email back in my Inbox.

We immediately began testing this thoroughly and found that it seemed like Google was dropping a message if it detected the message had made a forwarding loop back to the sender.  We thought it might be a spam detection issue initially.  We contacted our Google Apps support rep with a thorough description of the issue and offered to demonstrate it.  However, the rep had not heard of the issue and could not help us.

We did some research ourselves and found the answer, on Google’s support page:

The page above is a troubleshooting guide for when you don’t receive an email that you expect.  Near the middle of the page, they say:

“Finally, if you’re sending mail to a mailing list that you subscribe to, those messages will only appear in ‘Sent Mail.’ This behavior also occurs when sending to an email address that automatically forwards mail back to your Gmail address.”

So essentially, Google is saying that if you send an email that makes a roundtrip (through forwarding or mailing lists) back to your own Google Apps account, you won’t get it in your Inbox!  This behavior is definitely not what most people expect!  We understand that most people want to get a copy of their own email back in their Inbox as a confirmation that the email went out to a list successfully.  We will soon contact our rep to give our feedback and desire to have this behavior changed.  Thanks for all that have reported this issue to us!

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