Nope. No Gmail feedback loop, sorry.

A friend asked recently why they're not receiving feedback loop complaint data back from Gmail subscribers. After all, she pointed out, Gmail does indeed have a Feedback Loop, does it not? What's up with that?

If you're lucky, your sending platform is already configured to ingest and utilize data from ISP Feedback Loops (and most are). If that's the case, you're likely seeing complaints logged (and complainers unsubscribed) as a result of "this is spam" reports from various MBPs (mailbox providers) and ISPs (internet service providers). Yahoo, Microsoft and Comcast are perhaps the largest providers that offer these complaint feedback loops, and if you head over to Validity's "Feedback Loop Service" website, you can see the whole list of 20+ ISPs and MBPs that participate in a Validity-managed "universal" feedback loop service. 

If you check that list on the Validity website, you'll notice that there are three mailbox providers missing: Microsoft, Yahoo and Gmail.

Microsoft and Yahoo manage their feedback loops directly. Microsoft's is called the Junk Mail Reporting Program (JMRP) and you can find more info here. Yahoo calls theirs a Complaint Feedback Loop (CFL) and here's where you'll find more information on that.

Gmail, on the other hand…has no feedback loop. Yes, they have some other thing called a feedback loop, that helps correlate aggregate complaint stats in Google Postmaster Tools. No, this particular feedback loop does not provide enough information to identify individual complaints, nor does it allow you to unsubscribe those who complain. If you're a high volume sender, there's value in this FBL as you can sort of stack rank your campaigns and segments (or clients) to see which ones generate the most spam complaints. But it's different, and potentially clunky, compared to the mechanisms offered by other mailbox providers.

What this boils down to is this: If your ESP/CRM/newsletter sending platform tracks "this is spam" complaints and unsubscribes those complainers for you, you're going to see complaints tracked from other mailbox providers, but nothing for Gmail subscribers.

Anyway, this whole "sort of similar thing with the same name but it doesn't do the same things" is a common point of confusion and boy I wish Google folks had called this functionality something other than "feedback loop," but hey, it allows me to spend time writing up FAQs like this to share with you fine folks. So, please enjoy.

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