Question about dots in e-mail addresses

We know that Gmail ignores dots in users’ e-mail addresses. But does this apply to dots in outgoing e-mail addresses as well as incoming? Does gmail strip dots out or something?

The situation: I sent an e-mail from my gmail account to another person at a non-gmail address. The name has a dot in it. [noparse](e.g.: mail sent to[/noparse]

A week or so later, the intended recipient claims she never got it.

Is the problem that a gmail user cannot send mail to an outside e-mail address, when the recipient’s e-mail name has a dot in it? Anybody know?

My main email address has a dot in it. I just sent it a test email from my gmail account and got it in about 10 seconds.

Dots in outgoing email addresses are not ignored. If Gmail did that it would basically be useless as a service.

Exactly. The address that your email provider presents to the destination server has to be correct. Nobody ignores dots, or refuses to accept them. “” is NOT the same as “” and I have never heard of any email service that accepts one as the other. Otherwise, think of the confusion between “Edward@” and “ed.ward@” to name one quick example off the top of my head.

Gmail does do that for its own addresses. If someone has “”, nobody can sign up for joe.doe because it’s the same gmail address, and mail sent to joe.doe will go to joedoe. But this isn’t true everywhere, obviously, so gmail would be moronic to strip out the dots on outgoing mail.

Gmail does in fact consider these equivalent for their own users. But obviously other services do not, so Gmail can not just remove dots willy-nilly for outgoing mail.

What everyone said. Yes, I certainly would expect thing to work as all of you have described.

As I said, I got wondering because of an out-going e-mail I sent (with a dot in the name) that the intended recipient never got. So now we really still don’t know what happened there.

Thanks, everybody, for confirming the obvious for me, especially to Lord Feldon who says he actually tested it. Scientific experiment! It’s what Dopers do!

Well, the intended recipient claims they never got the email. I’ve made that claim in situations where maybe I accidentally deleted it, it went to a spam file, or I just flat-out lied. (See: “I mailed the check a week ago”.)

I think we DO know - you sent it to the wrong address. Most every mail server on the planet considers to be a different address than, so if you send to joe.doe, then joedoe won’t get your email.

Gmail is the exception to this.

It sounds to me like he sent it to the correct, dotted address, given the OP.

Assuming, of course, that the dotted address is the correct one. Maybe the correct address is actually without the dot, and someone just screwed up in thinking that it did have one.

Dots aside, there are many reasons why an email can fail to get to its destination. There are also reasons that an email does get to its destination and the recipient doesn’t see it. In this case the dots are a red herring.

I’m taking the OP at face when he says “the name has a dot in it.” Of course, if the email address is something other than what the OP says it is, it won’t get there (except apparently in the case of Google, where an address with a dot and without a dot are equal.)

I sent it to my insurance agent, using her published address (dots and all) as shown on her business card. I’ve double-checked (after-the-fact) the address I sent it to, proof-reading it from the message in my own “Sent” folder. I’ve met the agent in person at her office (just yesterday) and she confirmed that she hadn’t gotten it, and that the address on her business card is still accurate. She even looked through her mail folders (including her spam folder) while I watched.

We agreed that I would send her another test-message, but as of this moment I haven’t done so yet.


Yes, perhaps so. My main purpose for this thread was to collect opinions or facts as to whether that is, in fact, the case.

Everything to the left of the @ symbol is a “local part”, meaning it is only allowed to be interpreted by the destination system (the host named to the right of the @ symbol) other than some checks for allowed characters, etc. - for example, you can’t have a local part that contains an @ symbol.*

You’d be amazed at the number of places that get this wrong - incorrectly rejecting + “subaddress” formatting is woefully common.

However, none of this affects gmail - they correctly transmit recipient addresses. They do have some unusual interpretations of . for their own users - but that is specifically allowed, since it is in the local part and gmail has assigned it a meaning.

  • If you want to be pedantic, there are lots of other forms for an email address, like I think “falsehoods programmers believe about email addresses” should be added to the list of falsehoods programmers believe….

I think you’re underestimating the stupidity of the average web developer. I’ve had web forms reject my data because I entered an e-mail address containing a hyphen (or some other character which is not only permitted but relatively common).

Okay, I guess we have a (sort-of) resolution. I sent TWO e-mails to [noparse][/noparse] today, one from my gmail and one from my alternate yahoo address. She received both of them promptly and responded, saying so.

So that proves, as y’all are saying, it’s nothing to do with the dot. The original problem remains a mystery, but it’s all past history now. Thanks for all your posts.

Quite aside from the topic of this thread (or in addition to), this, fersure.

It’s not just in e-mail addresses. It’s in text boxes in general, where, for example, a web site asks me to type in text – for any purpose whatever.

Take f’rinstance my HMO, which encourages communications by e-mail, but then delivers a mostly-well-developed web site but full of little quirks.

If I send an e-mail to my doctor, there’s a 1000-character limit to the length of the message I can send. AFTER I click on “send”, it checks for a variety of punctuation marks it doesn’t like and if any are present, rejects the message with a not-extremely-obvious error message. It’s clearly worded enough and lists all the punctuation marks that ARE allowed, but it’s just not that conspicuous. (And at least you do get to edit your message.)

BUT if I send a message to the pharmacy, it seems to go through a different system with all different rulz. The overall dialog is a little different; and the list of permitted punctuation marks is different. But the message can be 2000 characters long!

AND if I try to order a prescription refill on-line, there’s a separate dialog for that, full of its own quirks. One screen offers me a text-box in which I can write special instructions for the pharmacist – but it only allows 40 characters! :rolleyes: – only a fraction of what Twitter allows! They also had my mailing address wrong, with a rather quirky dialog to update that.

To be sure, it’s nasty to try developing a web site that works across the board with all versions of all browsers. The most nearly-reliable way, it seems, is to confine oneself to using only older HTML features, as were available in HTML Version 0.000001 and avoid all the newer stuff, especially HTML5. And use only older CSS too, if you must use CSS at all. And older JavaScript too, I suppose, if you can figure out what older JS features are most likely to still work on all browsers.

(To be honest, I am running a very old Firefox on a very old Linux system, on a very old platform that probably isn’t capable of running anything much newer.)

As they said about Java, “Write Once! Debug Everywhere!” – True of HTML too!

You’re one of those people for whom Unobtrusive JavaScript is made for: making sure the page still at least has basic functions when JavaScript is missing. But this can still be done in HTML5. I doubt you have a browser so far back that HTML5 support is completely missing, and most of the HTML-only part is barely used.

Which version of Firefox do you actually use? You’ve not said.