Coffeehouse Thread

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I HATE HOTMAIL

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  • User profile image
    Karim

    Ok, so skimming the news a few days ago, you might have noticed that you soon won't be able to use Hotmail from Outlook or Outlook Express:

    http://www.infoworld.com/article/04/09/27/HNhotmailoutlook_1.html

    Of course, I didn't get an email from Hotmail about this.  My Hotmail account in Outlook 2003 just.  stopped.  working.

    The last email I got from Hotmail was yet another piece of self-aggrandizing SPAM about "the great new MSN Toolbar" (for those of you who have been under a rock for the last year, MSN has a toolbar now that blocks popups).

    This was followed by an ad for "Hotmail Plus" which mentioned the "virtually unlimited" space of 2 GB.  (Um, could someone please explain to me how a fixed, finite size of 2 GB is "virtually unlimited?")  The ad also said "Hotmail Plus" had "freedom" from the 30-day Hotmail account expiration policy, as well as 35 "custom filters," which will no doubt allow you to neatly separate your Hotmail spam from your Expedia spam from your MSN spam.

    NO WHERE did this email say, "By the way, we're turning off access to your Hotmail account from Outlook.  Starting tomorrow."

    The only way to "fix" this problem, it seems, is to fork over $20/year for "Hotmail Plus."  That will allow you to read your Hotmail messages in Outlook again.

    This is a quote from the InfoWorld article:

    Microsoft is making the move not to increase the number of paying Hotmail users but because the feature is being abused by senders of spam, said Brooke Richardson, lead product manager for MSN at Microsoft.

    "Essentially what spammers do is create scripts so they can rapid-fire e-mail from Outlook or Outlook Express and pop off a hundred e-mails from each of those Hotmail accounts in rapid succession," Richardson said. "On certain days we have seen tens of thousands of Hotmail accounts set up and spamming in this matter."

    In other words, Hotmail is asking you to fork over $20 per year, NOT because they really want your money, but because those darn spammers are just making life so hard for everyone.

    It obviously never occurred to anyone at Microsoft to FIX the problem with Hotmail such that spammers couldn't abuse it.  Like:

    - Only allowing a handful of messages to be sent per hour from Outlook through Hotmail

    - Requiring some kind of human-readable code to be entered when signing up for Hotmail (as is commonly used all over the Internet)

    - Throttle the number of allowable Hotmail account signups from the same IP, so people can't sign up for "tens of thousands" of Hotmail accounts

    etc. etc.

    Instead of implementing some kind of fix, Microsoft instead is charging people who don't send spam $20/year for the privilege of accessing their Hotmail via Outlook or Outlook Express.

    I don't think I'd mind so much if Microsoft had just "changed their mind" and said, "Guess what folks?  Hotmail is no longer FREE."  Or if they had simply said, "We've decided that accessing Hotmail from Outlook is no longer free.  We want to make money off that."  That would be mean, but I would respect their desire to make money.

    Instead, they are disingenuously pointing the fingers at spammers and stating that the spammers are MAKING them do this.  They can't FIX Hotmail to keep spammers out, so instead they'll just keep EVERYONE out and charge admission.

    Sender ID and now this...  What happened to the Microsoft that used to make cool stuff?  Someone tell me it isn't all overpriced crappy bloatware and giant patent lawsuits from here on out... please...?

  • User profile image
    prog_dotnet

    I dont have any problem accessing my hotmail accounts with outlook 2003..

  • User profile image
    jamie

    for now... mwah ah ah


    ps - i do like the look of hotmail - if it wasnt surrounded by and filled with useless crap

    gmail has taken some getting use to - interface wize i do wish it was more ..hotmail - although i find the grouping of email threads very appealing

  • User profile image
    jamie

    spam has nothing to do with it

    ms marketing and brass are still back in the "portal" era - stickiness, impressions, cross polinization, customer dna, direct response, automated "interaction yadda yadda

    they havent "got" as in Internet tidal wave "got" the Google biz model

    like:

    - dont bolt frankensearch on to msn messenger cause marketing says too

    - charge partners and consumers and for the software " hey - lets charge EVERYWHERE!" nickel and diming

    - They still want a hollywood/riaa lockdown thumbprint credit card enabled vending machine for the next windows


    where as - GOOGLE wants to  Earn the RIGHT to be the layer between you and your purchases - by offering NO flashy ads, no Click here to skip this ad - fast fast fast - do no evil - hey here's the book you may be looking for and the answer within it, the brand brand brand brand brand brand brand brand. Hammering home TRUSTED not EVIL on YOUR SIDE

    i wish MS would get it but they DONT
    They are like bush on iraq ( SORRY! haha)

    i gotta play checkers now for 90 bucks a year - and i need to watch a show on my 200 a year msn tv sheesh

  • User profile image
    Jazzynupe

    Mine worked fine as of yesterday night too. But I have not gotten cut off yet... Or the promised larger email space... I still only have 2 MB...

  • User profile image
    Karim

    The news articles on this suggest that they are making this change gradually and it won't be completely in place for all Hotmail users until next April.  Guess I was just one of the lucky first accounts to get locked out.

    Jamie, you seem to be right about the "hey - let's charge EVERYWHERE!" thing.  Which, actually, I don't mind per se.  This is capitalism after all. Smiley  But there is a good way of charging people and a bad way of charging people.

    The BAD way, in this case, involves taking a service that used to be free, getting people to rely on it, then suddenly -- WITHOUT PRIOR NOTICE -- making it stop working until they started paying for it.

    I don't trust Google any more than Microsoft -- having "don't be evil" as a corporate philosophy seems to be aiming kind of low.  People used to aim for perfection, then they used to strive to be virtuous; now we're reduced to half-hearted attempts at not being evil?  Way to raise the bar, Google.  LOL

    Right now Microsoft's charging for Hotmail via Outlook does seem like it fits into a pattern of nickle-and-diming to death, which is a shame.  They're trying to fit everything into a subscription model (perhaps you recall the ruckus caused by "Software Assurance.")  From here, it looks like the suits in legal and the bean counters are running the show, instead of the engineers.

    I used to be such a Microsoft fanboy.  Sigh.

    When I went to sign up for "Hotmail Plus," I noticed MSN already had my credit card info and mailing address handy, presumably for my MSN Watch (the first watch with an annual subscription).  Yeah, the watch that reboots itself several times a day.

    Sadly, I think we can expect more of your "i gotta play checkers now for 90 bucks a year."

  • User profile image
    jonathanh

    Karim - this caused some controversy internally as well.

    What should be happening is that anyone who's used Outlook/OE to access a free Hotmail account will still have access until next April, but it will be turned off on all other free accounts (and especially on new ones used by spammers). If you can spend 10 minutes confirming that it's not some configuration issue on your end, nothing else has changed, etc, then send me an email and I'll see if I can put you in contact with the right person.

  • User profile image
    jamie

    "I don't trust Google any more than Microsoft -- having "don't be evil" as a corporate philosophy seems to be aiming kind of low. "

    we differ here...  i think it's aiming above and beyond the crowd

    is there risk with the aultruistic approach? heck ya

    does the risk add credability to the approach? hell ya!

  • User profile image
    Karim

    Wow Jonathan, thanks for the reply.  I can't tell you how much of relief it is to hear that "this caused some controversy internally as well."  That makes me feel a lot better.

    It's too late to confirm a configuration issue on my end since I already signed up for "Hotmail Plus" and the problem immediately went away.

    The details:

    For the last two days I have been getting only Hotmail email headers in Outlook.  The Preview Pane said words to the effect that the message must be opened to be read.  When I tried to read new messages, they wouldn't open (no error message).

    At first I thought Outlook was merely not connected to Hotmail, but every time I went to select File -> Connect to Hotmail, it was grayed out (i.e. already connected).  The only other times I've been unable to read Hotmail messages was when Outlook wasn't connected to Hotmail.

    Restarted Outlook several times.  (Same issue.)

    Signed on via the web page just to make sure it wasn't some problem with my account being full.  (It wasn't -- account worked fine via the web.)

    I probably should have turned on logging to see what the WebDAV/HTTPMAIL errors were (if any), but I recalled reading that Hotmail was going to no longer accessible via Outlook, so I assumed that's what the problem was.

    After realizing how much stuff I had pointed to my Hotmail address and fuming for a bit about how long it would take me to stop using that address, I realized I should just cough up the $20 and sign up for Hotmail Plus.

    The signup process was painless (they already had my credit card).

    As soon as I restarted Outlook after signing up for Hotmail Plus, the error went away (I could open messages again in Outlook, and the Preview Pane was actually previewing the message).

    This is not a new account -- I've been using Hotmail for years.

    Nothing changed as far as my Outlook or network connection goes.

    I'm not a spammer.  LOL

    So given that

    a) it was working perfectly
    b) I didn't change anything
    c) I restarted Outlook several times, and
    d) it only started working again after I signed up for "Hotmail Plus" and forked over my money,

    I am tempted to conclude that this was a server-side issue.

    It's kind of an academic issue now, but I'll be happy to work with anyone who is convinced that no existing Hotmail accounts should be locked out of Outlook or Outlook Express at this point...

    Thanks again for your feedback.  It really is a relief to know that, within the company, this change to Hotmail isn't universally regarded as a good move.

  • User profile image
    jonathanh

    They just created a new internal mailing list for us to bitc... uh, I mean discuss it Smiley

    I'll point the list at this thread. It sounds like something definitely went wrong in your case, and they'll probably be keen to work out what happened.

  • User profile image
    HyperionAB

    Want to address some of the points at the begining of this thread:

    1. Hotmail limits the amount of mail users can send. Try and send a bunch and it messages you telling you your limit.
    2. When you sign up for an account, you're required to solve the image. Give it a shot.
    3. Hotmail and Passport limit the amount of signups that can happen per IP.

    Even with all of that, spammers have such an incentive since it's free they throw enough at the system (IPs, Machines, new account signups, etc) to work past all that. Making users pay for it is about giving spammers a disincentive to use us to send spam so we can be a better member of the mail ecosystem.

    Hope that clears some things up.

  • User profile image
    matt0210

    Now I'm not a hotmail user, but I thought they only locked out Webdav. Can't you connect to hotmail with POP 3 like any other freemail service?

  • User profile image
    shreyasonli​ne

    I REALLY REALLY HATE HOTMAIL

    Only thing I receive in my hotmail inbox is spam from msn and some stupid news I didnot subscribe for.

  • User profile image
    manickernel

    jonathanh wrote:
    They just created a new internal mailing list for us to bitc... uh, I mean discuss it Smiley

    I'll point the list at this thread. It sounds like something definitely went wrong in your case, and they'll probably be keen to work out what happened.


    Anyone signing up for the paid HotMail should get MSN Radio Plus free, and vice-versa Wink

    I LOVE Radio Plus

  • User profile image
    Maurits

    matt0210 wrote:
    Now I'm not a hotmail user, but I thought they only locked out Webdav. Can't you connect to hotmail with POP 3 like any other freemail service?

    Exactly the opposite.  You can't connect to hotmail with POP3, just like most other freemail services.  That is to say you can't use POP3 with hotmail, yahoo mail, gmail, hushmail, juno mail, .... - in fact, I'm not aware of any freemail service that DOES support POP3.  Freemail services typically get their revenue from advertising... and POP3 bypasses much of the chance to get advertising in front of the user.

  • User profile image
    Dr. Shim

    "Sender ID and now this...  What happened to the Microsoft that used to make cool stuff?  Someone tell me it isn't all overpriced crappy bloatware and giant patent lawsuits from here on out... please...?"

    Isn't it MSN that makes these decisions, and not Microsoft as a whole?

    Anyway, I really don't like MSN (Hotmail, MSN Search, MSN.com, etc), just because I feel it's nothing special at all. MSN.com is full of cheap television-like news/gossip, ads about how to loose weight, dating services, and all sorts of other crud that somebody like me finds thoroughly useless.

    All I use my Hotmail address for is subscribing to services who might/will sell my address for other companies to spam.

    I don't mean to be off-topic about Karim's issue, however, I'm pondering what MSN good for anyway? If I want to find something, I use Google...

    (Just to stay somewhat on the topic:)
    I couldn't check my Hotmail in Outlook for ages already. I thought they disabled that a long time ago!

  • User profile image
    matt0210

    Maurits wrote:
    matt0210 wrote:Now I'm not a hotmail user, but I thought they only locked out Webdav. Can't you connect to hotmail with POP 3 like any other freemail service?

    Exactly the opposite.  You can't connect to hotmail with POP3, just like most other freemail services.  That is to say you can't use POP3 with hotmail, yahoo mail, gmail, hushmail, juno mail, .... - in fact, I'm not aware of any freemail service that DOES support POP3.  Freemail services typically get their revenue from advertising... and POP3 bypasses much of the chance to get advertising in front of the user.


    Over here in Germany I'm having a hard time thinking of a freemailer who DOESN'T let you use POP3. By far the most popular ones are GMX and web.de. No wonder I never signed up for hotmail...

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    Unfortunately you can't sign up for GMX anymore without a valid home address in Germany. And I live in the Netherlands. Fortunately, my GMX account that I opened earlier still works. Not that I use it often.

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