I have many “Google Apps” accounts on domains.
Lets say one of these domains is “mydomain.com” for example…
There are regular gmail users under the same “Google Apps” account
For a long time I have used the “Google Groups” feature to have a group email address.
What’s Google Apps Group?
If you don’t know (and let’s face it you probably do if you’re hear reading this) this is a feature which allows people to receive an email sent to a “Group” email address in their own inboxes.
e.g. Any email sent to the Google Apps Group email “firstname.lastname@example.org” would go to the inboxes of three google accounts: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
In this scenario a “Google Group” is essentially just an alias address.
Recently (within the last few months) I have noticed that a few emails that have been sent to the firstname.lastname@example.org group email address successfully arrive in the group members’ inboxes but with a From: header that looks like this:
From: ‘Someones name’ via AppsGroup [mailto:AppsGroup@YourDomain.com]
Reply-to: Real Sender <RealSender@AnotherDomain.com>
In other words, Google Apps/Gmail is making the email look like it’s coming from the appsgroup@mydomain email (i.e. myself!)
In certain versions of outlook you cant actually visually see the senders real email address and on iPhone this may cause the actual name of the sender to show up with your own name, since iPhone Mail pulls the name from it’s address book rather than from the email headers.
Originally I thought that the senders real email address was lost forever but it is actually in the headers.
You should be able to just hit reply and it will reply to the persons email
The problem arose for me because someone forwarded the email to me, thus stripping the original headers and therefore unable to see the original sender’s email address.
Why does this happen?
It turns out that Yahoo and AOL made changes to require mail providers that support the DMARC standard to reject all email from @yahoo.com accounts unless the mail actually originated at AOL and Yahoo’s servers. (Other providers have followed suit.)
If you have a Google Group / Alias address forwarding to a gmail account, it will rewrite the From: header as explained above if the provider sending the email has a strict DMARC policy like AOL and Yahoo. If they didn’t, the email may be rejected, depending on where it’s being delivered. (See the DMARC FAQ, where it looks like Google chose option number 3).
It seems that the only way to fix this (i.e. prevent Google rewriting the header), is to remove your Google Group alias address, and replace it with an actual Google Apps user account you create with the same email address that you had for your Google Group alias. Then login to that new user account and set it up to forward mail to your email address.
Of course this does mean if you pay for Google Apps users that you will need to pay for another user!
I had to explain this all the the friend in question and get them to reveal the original sender’s email address.
To see the email headers in Outlook:
Right-click on the email in question, and choose “Message options”
Scroll through the “Internet heaers” text box at the bottom and you will see the original sent from address:
Reply-To: Persons Name <email@example.com> or
X-Original-From: Persons Name <firstname.lastname@example.org>