"We don't have to save the world. The world is big enough to look after itself. What we have to be concerned about is whether or not the world we live in will be capable of sustaining us in it." -Douglas Adams
This has been something that has really been irritating me for the last couple of months. I use hotmail pretty much exclusively, and have for three or four years now. But now, my account has pretty much gotten spammed out of existence. I get literally 50ish spam messages a day (if not more) and my security settings are on high (and 3-4 a day are from hotmail about how I should UPGRADE NOW or informing me ACCOUNT CRITICAL (which is also in red bold letters at the top of every page now)). If I have 100 e-mails (or around there) in my account, I can't send or recieve anything (except, oddly enough, spam). 6 months ago, I had 8 pages of stuff, it was great. Now, I get maybe one message a day that is actually for me that I care to read. 95% of my time checking my e-mail is housekeeping crap.
I've had the account for so fucking long though that I'm scared to switch to another one. I don't use the address book thingie, so the only people whose e-mail address I have are those in my inbox (which, mind you, has now been been completely ransacked as I'm trying to keep my account at their 15k limit), and I still get messages from people I don't even know that I want to read (from a bunch of places, like accounts on other forums that I haven't posted at in awhile but somebody read back or whatever). That, and if I close it down, I get the feeling I'll be roaming around for awhile and being one of those people who constantly e-mails everybody they know saying "My addy has changed" (hi Joey! ).
Bleh. Sorry, I'm venting. This has been my recent internet-related complaint.
So, anybody know any good (and hopefully looks to be as permanent as hotmail was) free web-based e-mail providers?
yahoo.com mail is good for the web-based interface. My complaint about them was that you used to be able to check your mail there witha POP client like Outlook Express but you can't anymore. But as far as just web-based goes, its cool. My few accounts there haven't been spam infested yet. I was a hotmail user before they got bought by MSN.
Picture yourself at Microsoft Corp. You're sitting in comfort at the company's ``Red West'' campus in Redmond at the moment the manager in charge of Hotmail finally figures out what my last column was about.
Imagine the ashen look of horror that must have hit the person's face. I wish I'd been there -- so I could see if the look said ``We goofed'' or ``We got caught.''
On Tuesday, I reported that Hotmail, the free e-mail service owned and used by Microsoft's MSN Internet service, has changed users' ``personal profile'' settings by adding and pre-checking a new set of option boxes.
The boxes make it appear people have given permission for Hotmail to share their e-mail address, date of birth, occupation and other information with Web sites run by Microsoft's partners.
They did not. So far, 14 Hotmail users have confirmed that the Microsoft made the switch at some point without getting their permission or giving them any notice. The change allows other companies to send unwanted commercial e-mail (or spam) to such people as Bob Brent, who had set his Hotmail ``junk filter'' on its highest setting -- ``exclusive'' -- to screen out any e-mail from unknown addresses.
``It's outrageous,'' said Brent, marketing chief at Rogers Communications, a cable operator in Toronto.
Others say it's comic -- Microsoft has pulled a Yahoo. In March, the press nailed Yahoo for the same thing after the Web portal changed its members' preferences.
The flak led Yahoo to send out a notice on the changes. Hotmail users say Microsoft should do the same.
The last part is absolutely true. As of press time yesterday, the MSN Statement of Privacy (http://privacy.msn.com/default.asp#MSNMAIL) still asserts that ``Hotmail will not share your e-mail address with (Microsoft's) business partners'' and ``none of your personally identifiable information is shared with the third party Web sites.''
So much for Microsoft and its smarts. Either the policy is wrong or Microsoft was wrong to pre-check the boxes to share information -- both cannot be right.
``You wonder if the left hand knows what the right hand is doing,'' Brent wrote.
Not responding makes matters worse. It gives rise to an assumption on the part of some Hotmail users that Microsoft has deliberately opened the floodgates on spam not only for its partners, but for its own sales purposes.
At the same time Microsoft is giving its partners the green light to send spam, the company is pitching Hotmail users to pay $19.95 a year for 10 megabytes of extra e-mail storage.
It's no secret that Microsoft wants to make money from its Internet properties -- particularly Hotmail, a free service used by a whopping 118 million people worldwide.
Whenever an e-mail account comes close to Hotmail's regular two-megabyte limit, Microsoft sends users a notice reminding them that their account will be frozen once it hits that mark.
After that, Microsoft warns, incoming or outgoing messages will stop, and e-mail that has already been received will get deleted.
``Don't let your account freeze up!'' one notice sent in March began. ``Sign up for MSN Extra Storage today, and for just $1.67 a month, be sure that all e-mail sent to you gets to you.''
It's one of those Microsoft conspiracy theories I've declined to write about before. Suddenly, it makes a whole lot of sense. Starting late last year, Brent even claims Microsoft stopped emptying spam out of his ``junk folder'' -- a spot for unapproved mail that Microsoft used to delete every seven days.
Since no one at Microsoft would respond, I couldn't ask anyone about this. But on Tuesday, I did explain the Hotmail changes to Microsoft's top policy strategist, Craig Mundie, who was giving reporters a talk on Microsoft's ``Trustworthy Computing'' campaign.
Mundie said he didn't know what had happened with Hotmail. But he did hazard a guess.
``These are the things that, as a company, we're trying to get a handle on -- how do you communicate these things?'' Mundie asked.
And how can computers automatically flag people if and when a setting changes at a Web site? That, Mundie said, is the goal -- something that a new privacy protocol called P3P, which is supported in Microsoft's latest version of its Internet Explorer Web browser, is starting to help with.
In the meantime, Mundie said, Microsoft is trying to make its policies as clear as possible.
``I'm just guessing,'' but, if new preference boxes were added in Hotmail, Mundie said, ``(they're) probably checked because it's a reflection of the policy that (users) actually agreed to when they signed on.''
Bob Brent says no.
``Microsoft consistently stubs it toe on all matters concerning professional business ethics in the pursuit of ever higher profitability,'' Brent wrote.
``Perhaps Microsoft's staff,'' he added, ``needs ethics counseling or an ombudsman to temper their sharp business practices.''
For those who don't want to fish around in Hotmail, goto Options>Personal Profile and there are three boxes there about sharing info. Uncheck them to be spammed at the normal rate.
This sure appears to be a ploy to get more spam into hotmail to force people to upgrade to a paid version. Not emptying the SpamTrash and using that towards your quota of mail which then shuts down your ability to receive mail (except spam, good point PC)... it adds up.
M$ hates the fact that their most popular product is free. I don't really blame them for that, even though its a pain in the ass for us end users. If I had paid for the hotmail account and they did this though, it might be grounds for class action.
In my dogb@hotmail account I get up to 200 spam messages a day.
It all depends how often you give out your address.
I have that one set to Exclusive now.
My other hotmail account gets about 20 spams per day.