For all you Gmail users hitting those "Report Spam" and "Not Spam" buttons, thanks a ton! We hear from a lot of users that they love how well Gmail blocks spam, and the only reason it works is because you all report it to us. If you're not in the habit of doing this, I hope I can convince you to start. Here are three reasons you should report spam:

Reason #1: It helps you personally. It gets the spam out of your Inbox and keeps what is truly spam separate from any non-spam messages you just want to delete. We keep statistics on which senders you've flagged as spammers (and which you've marked as non-spammers), and we use this information to provide you a better, personalized Gmail spam filter that overrides the system-wide filter when appropriate.

Reason #2: It helps the Gmail community at large (this includes you!). When you report spam, we compute all kinds of interesting things about the spammy message you reported and combine it with the information that other users are reporting about the same message or sender. When our automated system sees a lot of people marking a particular email as spam, it starts blocking similar emails pretty quickly.

Reason #3: It lets us know when we need to do more development. We surround ourselves with monitors displaying the current spam situation on all kinds of nice charts and tickers. When a spammer figures out how to bypass our system, lots of spam reports start flowing in, and we see that pretty much immediately. We react as quickly as we can to these events, developing and testing new code. Usually we can address these in a few hours, but sometimes this can take a few days or weeks to get right. Please don't give up reporting the spam, though. We love and depend on the reminders: they keep us on our toes!

Sometimes people are afraid to report a message because they aren't sure if it is "really" spam or not. Our opinion is that if you didn't ask for it and you don't want it, it's spam to you, and it should be reported. We'll sort it out on our side. We aren't perfect, but in general it works because you tell us when it doesn't!

So if you see a spam message in your inbox, remember to select it and click the "Report Spam" button at the top of the page. And if we put messages in your spam folder that don't belong there, be sure to hit the "Not Spam" button on those too.

Thanks again for your help!