Author Topic: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name  (Read 2863 times)

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Offline RoGeorgeTopic starter

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gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« on: October 18, 2019, 12:15:19 pm »
My gmail address has the form
word1.word2@gmail.com

Sometimes I find in my inbox emails destined for another address (without the "." character between word1 and word2)
word1word2@gmail.com

1. Anybody else with a similar problem?
2. Is this ignoring of "." an expected behavior?
3. Does this mean the recipient "word1word2" can read the emails of recipient "word1.word2", and vice-versa?

Offline Black Phoenix

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2019, 12:27:12 pm »
It could happen that your email is on CC or BCC. Is something that typically is seen in Spam Emails, were all variations are on BCC.
 
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Offline sokoloff

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2019, 12:38:16 pm »
This is expected behavior. Gmail ignores dots. Said differently, in gmail, dots are decorative.

If you have word1word2, no one else can register a variant that differs only in dots.

https://support.google.com/mail/answer/7436150?hl=en
 
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Offline soldar

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2019, 04:04:11 pm »
My gmail address has the form
word1.word2@gmail.com

Your real email is word1word2@gmail.com and you can put as many dots as you want anywhere and it won't make a dot of difference.
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Offline Berni

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2019, 05:40:33 pm »
This is the correct behavior for Gmail.

Even tho traditionally e-mail does not do this, but google has decided for some reason to ignore the . character in email addresses.

Basically g-mail does a replace "." with "" before looking at the email address, so if your email is john.smith@gmail.com you will receive any emails sent to johnsmith@gmail.com or j.ohnsmith@gmail.com or j.o.h.n.smith@gmail.com or john......smith@gmail.com ....

Why they have decided to do such a non standard thing i have no idea, but it does have useful applications. For example you can give some people a different email address by adding extra dots, allowing you to easily filter out there emails if they send you garbage. If a website has a limitation of one unique account per email address you can easily register another account by adding in a extra dot as all websites will take that as a new unique email address etc...
 
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Offline IanB

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2019, 05:46:32 pm »
Related to this, you can write an email address as "first.last+filter@domain.com" and it will be delivered to "first.last@domain.com". The receiving email client can use the "+filter" bit to sort the incoming email into different folders.

Unfortunately many web sites try to validate email addresses and complain that the "+" character is illegal. The reality is that you cannot properly validate an email address since almost any combination of characters may be a valid address. If I tell a website that my email address is "X" it must accept it. It is bad programming to do otherwise (although bad programming is sadly too common).
 
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Offline RoGeorgeTopic starter

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2019, 05:58:55 pm »
john......smith@gmail.com

AFAIK for standard emails, recipient names containing consecutive dots are not valid, same for starting or ending a recipient name with a dot.  Don't know what gmail will do with that.

Did you tried consecutive dots with gmail and it worked?

Offline IanB

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2019, 06:14:26 pm »
john......smith@gmail.com

AFAIK for standard emails, recipient names containing consecutive dots are not valid, same for starting or ending a recipient name with a dot.  Don't know what gmail will do with that.

Did you tried consecutive dots with gmail and it worked?

To the best of my knowledge (I could be wrong), you cannot validate an email address other than by sending it to see if it is delivered. It is the mail transport system that decides if it is valid or not. There is no syntax check you can reasonably do locally to determine if an email address is valid or not.
 

Offline sokoloff

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2019, 06:21:01 pm »
Gmail seems to reject consecutive dots, but accepts a leading or trailing dot and delivers the mail. iOS warns on all three cases that the email address “appears invalid”.
 

Offline Berni

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2019, 06:35:10 pm »
Ah yes i tested it on gmail and consecutive dots are indeed already rejected by the outbound mail server.

I didn't know about the + sign tho, tested it and it does work. Do websites accept that as a valid email when registering and treat it as a new unique email?
 

Offline sokoloff

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2019, 06:37:22 pm »
The plus sign thing is implemented in many but not all mail systems. In particular, I think it’s not supported on Exchange.
 

Offline IanB

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2019, 07:00:45 pm »
The plus sign thing is implemented in many but not all mail systems. In particular, I think it’s not supported on Exchange.

Apparently also not supported by Outlook 365.

And that's the thing. It is the receiving mail server that decides whether to accept an email address for delivery or not. The sender cannot know and should not decide.

Some websites accept the "+" in email addresses, some do not.
 

Offline KaneTW

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2019, 07:04:56 pm »
There are RFC5822 parsers. It's fully possible to parse an email (for spec compliance) before sending it, but you cannot validate whether an email is real.
 

Offline RoGeorgeTopic starter

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2019, 07:16:51 pm »
Another thing just found is recipient(comment)@domain should work too.

I've tried to search for a RFC for names, but there are too many.  Wikipedia has a nice overview
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email_address#Local-part

Looks like ".." is accepted only if it is inside quotes, e.g. John..Doe@example.com is not allowed but "John..Doe"@example.com is allowed.   ;D

Offline Berni

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2019, 08:37:07 pm »
Interesting, i didn't think those ware allowed in emails.

I tested them out with gmail, but they mostly fail, but not all in the same way. The SMTP server outright refuses to accept all of them, but gives slightly different errors for some. The Gmail web interface also refuses most of them ( Like the "", "..", (comment) etc...) but again with varying errors. For some it complains upon clicking send and doesn't even try to send it, for some it does attempt to send it but reports back that an error has occurred during sending but does not say what kind of error. The one that did send successfully was "john.smith"@gmail.com but it never arrived in the inbox, nor did i get it returned to sender.

So apparently no gmail does not like any of these weird email formats.
 

Offline Mr. Scram

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2019, 08:54:58 pm »
This is the correct behavior for Gmail.

Even tho traditionally e-mail does not do this, but google has decided for some reason to ignore the . character in email addresses.

Basically g-mail does a replace "." with "" before looking at the email address, so if your email is john.smith@gmail.com you will receive any emails sent to johnsmith@gmail.com or j.ohnsmith@gmail.com or j.o.h.n.smith@gmail.com or john......smith@gmail.com ....

Why they have decided to do such a non standard thing i have no idea, but it does have useful applications. For example you can give some people a different email address by adding extra dots, allowing you to easily filter out there emails if they send you garbage. If a website has a limitation of one unique account per email address you can easily register another account by adding in a extra dot as all websites will take that as a new unique email address etc...
Google does all kinds of non-standard things. It's Microsoft IE all over again and unfortunately Google has the leverage to cause a ruckus.
 

Offline edy

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2019, 08:15:18 pm »
I'll give you a funny story.... It has to do with the fact that GMAIL doesn't care about the dots, and other services like PAYPAL do!!!!

So you can have an address like abcdefg@gmail.com. And to Gmail these would all be considered equivalent and end up in the same mailbox:

a.bcdefg@gmail.com
abc.defg@gmail.com
abcdef.g@gmail.com
ab.cd.efg@gmail.com
a.b.c.d.e.f.g@gmail.com

Not only do I get countless emails meant for other people (but that's nothing to do with the "dot" issue), but since PAYPAL and other sites DO CARE about the dot, you can open up multiple accounts and have verification emails sent to different forms of the Gmail address and they all look different to the other site.

I've got one lady who set up a PayPal account but is using my Gmail address (without any dots). I see all her purchases! PayPal should have NEVER allowed a secondary user to register the same email address for another account. That's the primary USER NAME!!!! But since it cares about the "dot", you can have multiple PayPal accounts all going to the same Gmail address. This may be useful for the individual user (perhaps the reason Google did this) but it is annoying when someone else does it to you.
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Offline I wanted a rude username

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #17 on: November 05, 2019, 02:39:48 am »
Do a password reset on her account and go on a shopping spree.  ;)
 

Offline Jeroen3

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2019, 06:51:29 am »
You can make really interesting addresses.
 

Offline magic

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #19 on: November 05, 2019, 11:08:23 am »
I've got one lady who set up a PayPal account but is using my Gmail address (without any dots). I see all her purchases! PayPal should have NEVER allowed a secondary user to register the same email address for another account.
The problem is that companies that use email signup have no way of really knowing what kind of idiotic address coalescing schemes email providers like Google use. I mean, sure, they could handle the Google dots as a special exception because it is known, but there is no general way of knowing whether two addresses on some 3rd party server alias each other.

And of course people can still create accounts in your name if you don't have your own. The solution is always the same - use email recovery to lock them out if you are an ass or complain to the service which allowed such account without confirmation or try to contact the user if you think it's a mistake.

I know about people receiving confirmation emails to signup to social networks. Apparently spammers try to create accounts using email addresses scrapped from the Internet hoping that somebody will click confirm. Just send it to trash.

edit
And now I remember I also got somebody else's email once. Apparently it was meant to x.yyy@zzz.com but instead someone typed x.yyy@gmail.com. My address was xyyy@gmail.com and it went through. Moral of the story: Google is a bunch of morons with their special snowflake policies, as usual.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2019, 11:13:01 am by magic »
 

Offline Psi

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #20 on: November 05, 2019, 11:24:12 am »
Not only do I get countless emails meant for other people (but that's nothing to do with the "dot" issue), but since PAYPAL and other sites DO CARE about the dot, you can open up multiple accounts and have verification emails sent to different forms of the Gmail address and they all look different to the other site.

I've got one lady who set up a PayPal account but is using my Gmail address (without any dots). I see all her purchases! PayPal should have NEVER allowed a secondary user to register the same email address for another account. That's the primary USER NAME!!!! But since it cares about the "dot", you can have multiple PayPal accounts all going to the same Gmail address. This may be useful for the individual user (perhaps the reason Google did this) but it is annoying when someone else does it to you.

My sister had this exact same issue herself.
Kept getting mail for someone else.
And it's almost impossible to get these 'wrong' accounts removed because none of the business will talk to you since you're not the account holder. 
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Offline westfw

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2019, 11:28:49 am »
I used to have fun defending my “from” address (not so much part of smtp itself as it is the used-to-be separate rfc describing the format of mail messages.).  That worked when you could find THE author of the mail system for a particular os or site and convince the that you were right and they’d grudging fix it (or not.)   When the mail systems got to be run by big corporations and you generally had to go through a less knowledgeable customer service layer, it stopped working well, and wasn’t nearly as much fun. :-(


The questionable from line?  This:
From: William “Chops” Westfield <billw@sri-kl.arpa>
Many parsers didn’t like the quoted sub-phrase...


 

Offline magic

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #22 on: November 05, 2019, 11:33:38 am »
And it's almost impossible to get these 'wrong' accounts removed because none of the business will talk to you since you're not the account holder. 
They most certainly should talk to you, because you can fuck their customer up by taking over the account. That's something you should explain to them if they think it's just your problem.
Ultimately, you can lock the user out and then it definitely is their problem to handle the support calls :P
 

Offline Psi

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #23 on: November 05, 2019, 11:48:14 am »
And it's almost impossible to get these 'wrong' accounts removed because none of the business will talk to you since you're not the account holder. 
They most certainly should talk to you, because you can fuck their customer up by taking over the account. That's something you should explain to them if they think it's just your problem.
Ultimately, you can lock the user out and then it definitely is their problem to handle the support calls :P

They should, but they don't and i think i know why.
I recall my sister tried to explain that to some call center , i think it was amazon, but they said they cannot have ANY conversion related to people having access to other peoples accounts. And they ended the call.

I think to prevent staff being tricked by social engineering they have a blanket call center policy to end the call as soon as any person says stuff about another persons account"
The company doesn't trust their minimum wage call center staff to not be socially engineered into giving away info they shouldn't. So they have a rule to ensure the call is ended before any social engineering can be done.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2019, 11:51:25 am by Psi »
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Offline soldar

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Re: gmail and the dot character in the recipient name
« Reply #24 on: November 05, 2019, 01:10:39 pm »
And it's almost impossible to get these 'wrong' accounts removed because none of the business will talk to you since you're not the account holder. 

While I understand their motives this sometimes makes no sense.  My wife is Chinese and speaks no Spanish. A bank will not talk to me even though I tell them my wife is right next to me. They have to talk to HER. And they have no one who speaks Chinese.

No matter. Five minutes later my sister calls impersonating my wife. No problem.

But, the people with the dotted Gmail addresses, don't they notice they never receive any email, like, at all? And they can't log in to the Gmail account either? So they registered with Paypal or whatever with an email address they had never used? How? Doesn't paypal require a validation of the email?
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