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Hotmail Delivers Far Fewer Emails with Attachments

CowboyNeal posted about 7 years ago | from the dead-letter-office dept.

Microsoft 315

biednyFacet writes "It has long been suspected that there is a silent policy that makes Hotmail automatically delete the majority of attachments to save on bandwidth and internal disk space. Therefore it really doesn't matter if every client has access to 2GB of storage since they don't deliver the attachments to fill that space up anyway. If that truly is the case, then Microsoft may be liable for several hundred million cases of conspiracy and mail fraud."

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315 comments

Exaggeration? Naaah. (4, Insightful)

bluephone (200451) | about 7 years ago | (#19923311)

Oh dear lord. Email is not ruled by the same laws governing the USPS. There is no mail fraud here people! And conspiracy? Give me a break. At worst it's false advertising. It's like the name "Microsoft" just turns of the "rational thinking" switch.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (4, Funny)

Architect_sasyr (938685) | about 7 years ago | (#19923327)

Email is not ruled by the same laws governing the USPS.
Assuming the statistics are correct (81%? I've never lost a single email) I would assume that the laws are EXACTLY the same as the USPS (or the AusPOST for that matter). ;)

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (1)

kennygraham (894697) | about 7 years ago | (#19923339)

I would assume that the laws are EXACTLY the same as the USPS (or the AusPOST for that matter). ;)

What was that thing they used to say when I was a kid about assuming?

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (1, Informative)

x_MeRLiN_x (935994) | about 7 years ago | (#19923349)

To ASSUME makes an ASS out of U and ME?

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (4, Funny)

kennygraham (894697) | about 7 years ago | (#19923633)

Oh, I remember. To ASSUME makes you think things are mail fraud when they're not, because you really have no knowledge of the relevant laws, but you think you do! How could I have forgotten. I like your version too tho. :)

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (3, Funny)

scbysnx (837275) | about 7 years ago | (#19923783)

NO .. to make assumptions makes an ass out of you.. and mumptions

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (2, Funny)

SnowZero (92219) | about 7 years ago | (#19923365)

What was that thing they used to say when I was a kid about assuming?
State all your assumptions or we will crush you!

(well at least if you grew up in SOVIET RUSSIA)

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (0, Offtopic)

DrMrLordX (559371) | about 7 years ago | (#19923681)

IN SOVIET RUSSIA, all your assumptions state YOU!

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923395)

well, lets break it down for some of the less brighter folk. Assume (v). To make an ass of you and me. To presume knowledge of one thing based upon another.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (4, Insightful)

ameyer17 (935373) | about 7 years ago | (#19923375)

Yeah, because Hotmail is a pseudo-governmental entity with special rules governing it. Now, they might be liable if discarding the attachment caused some sort of damages. I suspect this may be partly because of an attempt at spam filtering since many spammy emails have attachments.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923415)

Because hotmail is usually sooooooo good at stopping actual spam emails...

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (2, Funny)

ameyer17 (935373) | about 7 years ago | (#19923513)

Yeah, I hear their spam filter sucks. I never said their attempt was particularly successful.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (1)

robgig1088 (1043362) | about 7 years ago | (#19923581)

It's not a bug! It's a feature!

It's the Komie Koreuns (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923671)


The Komies are behind it,

it Kuld be TRUE I saw it in the internet tbues

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (5, Insightful)

SnowZero (92219) | about 7 years ago | (#19923345)

No kidding, "conspiracy and mail fraud" is way over the top. There's probably a loophole in the ToS anyway to cover this.

What you will probably see is angry users and complaints; That's the right way to solve this sort of thing. I wish the populate would try complaints or a boycott instead of jumping immediately to calls of corruption and a class action lawsuit.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (4, Funny)

zCyl (14362) | about 7 years ago | (#19923391)

There's probably a loophole in the ToS anyway to cover this.

Like giving people a full refund? :)

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 7 years ago | (#19923669)

Like giving people a full refund? :)
MS could probably afford it.

Hotmail has been running for many years with what, millions of users, that's got to be a LOT of ad impressions that users have paid with to use the service. Let's say 10 impressions per session, at an average of 3 sessions per week for 2 million users for 10 years.

That's 10 * 3 * 52 * 2,000,000 * 10 = 31,200,000,000 ad impressions.

Assuming Hotmail has been dredging the users' email to provide targeted impressions, that's got to be at least 0.1 cents per impression, so 31B * $0.001 = $31M.

So $31M as a bare minimum to give people a full refund. That's certainly within MS's reach.

Oh wait, you thought because the users only indirectly pay MS through the fees MS charges advertisers for the user's attention that really the user's weren't paying anything at all? Like MS ever gives away something for nothing.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (0)

arivanov (12034) | about 7 years ago | (#19923677)

There's probably a loophole in the ToS anyway to cover this.

Three bits are too few to have a place for a loophole in them as well.

On the other hand, people have started relying on email to the point where commercial email service providers should be held to the same standard as the snail mail providers.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (1)

Amiga Lover (708890) | about 7 years ago | (#19923811)

The bit I hate about hotmail is how they still sell addresses to spammers, year after year, and nobody calls them on it. Every few years I do a test, by creating an email address somewhere and letting it sit for a while. After a few weeks or months checking that it gets no spam, I send one email from a hotmail account to that email address. Within hours or days it's then receiving spam emails, and almost always the stock scam or mortgage type.

Hotmail may claim they'll never sell your email address to spammers, when you sign up, but they do distribute the email addresses of people you send email TO. This happens not with any other email provider I try yet.
 

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (4, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | about 7 years ago | (#19923915)

"The bit I hate about hotmail is how they still sell addresses to spammers, year after year, and nobody calls them on it. Every few years I do a test, by creating an email address somewhere and letting it sit for a while. After a few weeks or months checking that it gets no spam, I send one email from a hotmail account to that email address. Within hours or days it's then receiving spam emails, and almost always the stock scam or mortgage type. "

That's hardly positive proof. When an email comes out of hotmail, it will go through intermediaries before reaching your test address. Any of these intermediaries (not just Microsoft) could be responsible for leaking your information (and notice, I used the word 'leaking', not 'selling'. Demonstrating a leak is one thing. Proving that Microsoft is purposely selling your information behind your back is another).

What about this "It's bullcrap"? (5, Insightful)

spoco2 (322835) | about 7 years ago | (#19923851)

I mean, I have had a Hotmail account since... um... 1998 or 1997 or something, a very long time anyway, and NOTHING that I've sent to or from it with attachments has EVER gone 'missing' in the wild.

Is it possible that this guy, who has questionable scientific methods, maybe created his emails (which he doesn't show us their contents so we can't check) in such a way that they looked liked SPAM? Attachments are awfully popular in spam, and if he was creating these random emails with random attachments then they probably looked a fair bit like spam to the Bayesian filters.

If he had created REAL emails with, oh, I dunno, a PURPOSE, then they probably wouldn't have been filtered.

It's just a guess... I have no proof, other than I've never, ever come across this 'phenomenon' of his, and he just doesn't even address Spam filters until late in the comments on his article, and even then he doesn't seem to 'get' how they work.

I might just do some tests and see what happens... I'll report back with what I find.

Re:What about this "It's bullcrap"? (3, Informative)

spoco2 (322835) | about 7 years ago | (#19923903)

Well, I've just sent an email with a excel attachment from one account to my hotmail... delivered
Then I forwarded that to another isp account... delivered
Then I created an email in hotmail with 2 jpegs and sent it to my first account... delivered
Then I forwarded that back to hotmail... delivered

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (4, Funny)

eclectro (227083) | about 7 years ago | (#19923361)

the name "Microsoft" just turns of the "rational thinking" switch.
No, it just turns the screen blue.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923367)

This is almost exactly what I was going to say.

Mod parent up. Meta-mod down the moderator who rated the parent as Troll. If anyone needs a Troll mod, mod CowyboyNeal a Troll for posting this article to the front page.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923373)

I quit using hotmail right after Microsoft took them over. I guess it's turned into yet another shoddy product/service. Can Microsoft do anything right? Serves people right for using their stuff.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (2, Informative)

smilindog2000 (907665) | about 7 years ago | (#19923381)

False advertising is probably more accurate. However, Microsoft is not the only culprit. Yahoo regularly drops my e-mails if I attach a multi-megabyte file, without any bounce or warning. Also, I pay for this mail service, so it's not just the free accounts. When e-mails with large attachments do get through, they are often quite delayed, like an hour or more. Yahoo also forwards hundreds of spam e-mails to me every day, and SFAIK, there's not much I can do about it. The right place to stop spam is when an unknown server contacts you, and Yahoo just passes it right through, expecting a spam filter to fix the problem on the back-end.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (4, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | about 7 years ago | (#19923399)

Yahoo regularly drops my e-mails if I attach a multi-megabyte file, without any bounce or warning. Also, I pay for this mail service, so it's not just the free accounts.
[snip]
Yahoo also forwards hundreds of spam e-mails to me every day, and SFAIK, there's not much I can do about it.


Sure you can!! You can stop paying Yahoo for shoddy service.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | about 7 years ago | (#19923553)

Sure you can!! You can stop paying Yahoo for shoddy service.

I wish :-) It's a company account, and only my e-mail address seems to be widely known to spammers. Everyone else seems fairly happy with the service, especially since you can check your mail on-line (which I almost never do).

Not only mail fraud and conspiracy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923465)

Not only mail fraud and conspiracy - don't forget kidnapping (if the attachments were ever sentient) and probably murder (same)

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (3, Interesting)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 7 years ago | (#19923733)

Oh dear lord. Email is not ruled by the same laws governing the USPS. There is no mail fraud here people!


If Microsoft, like many other online service providers, advertises or solicits business via the mail (certainly, they've done that for MSN, though I don't know if they have for Hotmail per se), it is governed by the same law that governs anyone else making such solicitations (not the USPS, but other postal service users).

OTOH, any online fraudulent solicitations by Microsoft would be more likely to be wire fraud, but Microsoft may be insulated from such charges from "free" users since Microsoft, while it uses them to get money from advertisers who hope to target them, does not get money or property from the users directly.

On the third hand, depending on how they market to advertisers, they may be guilty of fraud (regular, wire, mail, or all three) if they've misrepresented to them the kind of service their advertising will be associated with, since that is quite arguably a material misrepresentation directly to induce the advertiser to give money or property to Microsoft.

Re:Exaggeration? Naaah. (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 years ago | (#19923753)

It may be more then false advertising. How about wire fraud. I know it might be a stretch but then again, the more Email is being used and accepted in court cases as evidence for or against others, something might be covering it.

mail fraud? maybe wire fraud (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | about 7 years ago | (#19923923)

it's a stretch but it could be considered wire fraud, if we can think that microsoft saved money by doing this intentionally. but it's a really far stretch. maybe if you all paid for those hotmail accounts there might be something to the argument. The service agreement that all users agree to when they create an account is likely iron clad anyways.

"Gone like Bill Gates' sex appeal..." (0)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 7 years ago | (#19923963)

He never had any. Ballmer, on the other hand.... hmmm, I like the smell of hot sexy monkey sweat!

Startling discovery (5, Insightful)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | about 7 years ago | (#19923347)

It's amazing that Hotmail drops "up to" 81% of all attachments! My gosh, one would certainly begin to wonder why nobody else has noticed this and why there hasn't been a massive uproar! This lone, rational crusader has found a massive conspiracy hiding in plain sight!

Haha. I've pooped more meaningful articles.

Re:Startling discovery (2, Insightful)

Brandybuck (704397) | about 7 years ago | (#19923393)

Since when do conspiracy mongers need facts? Make shit up and publish it, that's their motto.

Re:Startling discovery (3, Interesting)

Cassius Corodes (1084513) | about 7 years ago | (#19923421)

I think it would have carried more weight if it included other free email providers not just ISPs to compare to.

Re:Startling discovery (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 7 years ago | (#19923443)

Or more than 4 email accounts. With something as easily tested as this, any actual research would be laughed out of the journal for using so few test subjects.

Re:Startling discovery (1)

sumdumass (711423) | about 7 years ago | (#19923795)

I didn't RTFA but what files were weeded out or droped? Most of the mail servers that I admin drop all executables without regard to the file extension into a special folder. A link is then added if one of the administrator account sees or knows the file is expected. And then of course, there is the antivirus that strips most all of the virus's from the email.

I would say that about better then 80% of the legit files get through without any issues. But that 80% of legit files is probably less then 50% of all files. I am even thinking about using a sender verification system for attachments. It seems to work well with SPAM. But my sites are all private and we have the authority of the business owner which isn't the same as a public Email system, free or not.

Re:Startling discovery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923463)

I am intrigued by your ideas and wish to sign up for your septic service. (Sorry, can't remember the exact meme.)

Re:Startling discovery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923635)

Haha. I've pooped more meaningful articles.

So try chewing thoroughly.

Hard time believing the story (4, Interesting)

jomagam (512625) | about 7 years ago | (#19923355)

I've been using Hotmail infrequently for years and never lost an attachment.

Spam filter? (3, Insightful)

Corbets (169101) | about 7 years ago | (#19923357)

I know we all love to bash MS, but they are *good* at making money and unlikely to put themselves in quite such a position where it'd be easy to sue them (well, successfully).

I think the "over-zealous" spam filter explanation is much more likely...

Re:Spam filter? (5, Interesting)

gujo-odori (473191) | about 7 years ago | (#19923489)

There's nothing anyone could sue for; like most everything else, Hotmail comes with no warranty, express or implied. And because they don't charge for it and have no SLA, the biggest shyster lawyer in the world couldn't throw anything at that wall that would stick.

The spam filter idea is indeed the most likely cause, though. I've been in the email security business for four years and was a postmaster at an ISP before that, and this phenomenon has "spam filter" written all over it.

Well, OK, second most likely. I read TFA and what it really has written all over it is "bullshit." Description of the test mails is pretty sketchy, doesn't mention if the attachments were fake, real, or some mix of the two, if they contained spam or viruses or not, etc. (if they did, it would certainly produce numbers like TFA puts up), no samples of the mails used, etc. In short, it bears little resemblance to what one might call a "real" study. I'm sure I'm not the only mail admin who read it and called BS.

The whole thing reads like nothing but a smear job on MS, and a million miles from unbiased. I dislike MS as much as anyone, but TFA is just whack. I mean, there's so many bad things about so many MS products that we *know* are true, why does somebody need to make up stuff like this?

Re:Spam filter? (2, Interesting)

DrSkwid (118965) | about 7 years ago | (#19923893)

Not all hotmail is free :

http://get.live.com/1586062162?workarea=1 [live.com]
The Windows Live Hotmail Plus yearly subscription of £14.99 (inc VAT) includes 4 Gigabytes of total Windows Live Hotmail account space, the ability to send larger attachments up to 20 MB, no graphical ads, and exemption from the account expiration policy. Refund only available if cancelled within one month from purchase and automatically renews yearly unless cancelled. You will receive a renewal letter 30 days prior to the renewal date.

However the regular free service doesn't even mention restricted attachments

http://get.live.com/mail/features [live.com]

Re:Spam filter? (2)

gujo-odori (473191) | about 7 years ago | (#19923941)

Interesting, thanks for that info.

We can certainly infer, based on that, that there is a maximum message size of some value less than 20 meg for free accounts. That could certainly explain some undelivered mail, both inbound and outbound; however, it would be very bad behavior indeed on Hotmail's part if the response to an over-sized mail were to drop it on the floor rather than give it a 5xx bounce.

Especially since he was actually spamming himself. (2, Interesting)

Quadraginta (902985) | about 7 years ago | (#19923803)

Indeed. From TFA, it sounds like what he was sending back and forth was megabytes of meaningless garbage. Entirely possible that an aggressive spam filter would dump it. It should, if it's doing a good job.

And, er, good luck on trying to convince millions of Joe 'n' Jane Sixpacks (who are not, typically, sending 1.9 Mb PowerPoint slides to each other) that a hyperaggressive spam filter is a bad thing.

(I leave entirely aside the digg.com(TM) style teenage hysteria about mail fraud and conspiracy. Geez, the same guy who wants the gummint to intrusively monitor and regulate a private company's e-mail business probably shrieks like a little girl at the notion that the NSA might wiretap recent immigrants of Saudi extraction who make an unusual number of satellite phone calls to the lawless uplands of Pakistan. Talk about mental inconsistency -- it's a wonder some people's brains don't segfault twice a day.)

Look at it like this. (1)

jd (1658) | about 7 years ago | (#19923825)

Microsoft has just allocated one billion US dollars on fixing problems with the XBox -- and still posted a sizable profit. So, one must ask: (a) how likely is it that they wouldn't pay a few hundred extra dollars for extra disk drives, and (b) how likely is it that they'd give a damn if anyone sued them anyway?

My guess is that Microsoft will have bought the drives in bulk (it's cheaper and easier) and are very unlikely to be coming even remotely close to being in a position where Hotmail couldn't be allocated an extra gig or ten for every user on the system. That's not to say the space actually has been made available, or that it'd be efficiently used if they did, only that I cannot imagine Microsoft not being in a position to do whatever they wanted. They're stupid and naive in many ways, but under-resourced they are not.

My other guess is that if they can afford to lose a billion dollars a quarter and still post a profit, I do not believe there are sufficient users on the Internet (never mind on Hotmail) to give them any significant cause for concern, so even if a lawsuit was attempted and succeeded (most unlikely), the most significance it'd have for them is that their turnover rate of chairs would go up. I'm surprised the EU court case is giving them so much grief. If a billion dollars is chump change, can't they just buy the EU and turn it into part of their corporate empire?

This is cool (4, Interesting)

kingdon (220100) | about 7 years ago | (#19923363)

No, stop the microsoft-bashing long enough to look at what is going on here.

The left hand invents a bloated file format that makes a 2000-byte document take up a megabyte (or whatever the exact anti-compression ratio is). (For current purposes, we'll say Microsoft Office. Not the only offender, but the most amusing in this context).

Now, the right hand figures out that they don't feel like sending all those bloated bits over the wire. Users will eventually figure out they should be sending plain text, perhaps.

Just sit back and watch the show. If we had *tried* to promote open standards in email, we couldn't have done this well.

makes no sense (1)

scolbert (1122737) | about 7 years ago | (#19923369)

This makes no sense whatsoever. Conspiracy theory is the sophistication of the ignorant.

Sammy at Personafile [personafile.com]

Re:makes no sense (1)

noz (253073) | about 7 years ago | (#19923485)

Conspiracy theory is the sophistication of the ignorant.
And Britney Spears once said, "I'm like the ocean because I'm deep." What's your point?

Re:makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923587)

Posting your profile on a social networking site is is the sophistication of the ignorant. Attention whore.

Re:makes no sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923785)

Well you just keep on chilling in ignorantville then. Might as well have a fucking gin!

Conspiracy and mail fraud? (5, Insightful)

ChromeAeonium (1026952) | about 7 years ago | (#19923401)

That seems a bit extreme to call it conspiracy and fraud. Lots of MS related things don't work half the time. Is it a conspiracy when IE doesn't load an image?
It may be worth noting that the first three paragraphs of the article were ranting about how much Microsoft sucks, so at least we know there was no bias.

Thanks for wasting my time (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923403)

WORST

ARTICLE

EVER.

How about that. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923411)

It has long been suspected that there is a silent policy that makes network routers automatically drop packets to save on bandwidth. Therefore it really doesn't matter if every client has access to 1 GB/s of Ethernet, since the routers don't deliver the packets to fill up that bandwidth anyway. If that's truly the case, then router manufacturers may be liable for several hundred billion cases of conspiracy and wire fraud.

Re:How about that. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923483)

From TFA:

If Intent Can Be Proven, Cisco Could Face Millions Of Packets Fraud Charges

Cisco's market capitalization is approximately $133 billion dollars. Let's put that into a bit of perspective. That's enough money to feed and provide medical care for every single AIDS orphan in Africa for 101 years. To put it another way, it's a pile of stacked $100 bills 10 feet wide, 24 feet deep and 16.8 stories high.

You would think that someone in San Jose, California could take time out from counting all that money to actually do something to earn it? Like maybe fix the ridiculously obvious and painful bugs that have been haunting Cisco users not since the launch of CRS-1, not since the launch of Cisco 12000, not since the launch of Cisco 10000, not since the launch of Cisco 7000, but since before the launch of Cisco SB107?

Haha, you say! What bug could possibly have survived Microsoft's insecticide for so long? Since Microsoft took over Cerent Corp in 1999, almost a full decade ago, Cisco users have decried the loss of data packets. For the uninitiated, here's how it works...

Step 1: Drop packets
Step 2: ???
Step 3: Profit!

I'm skeptical (4, Interesting)

WoTG (610710) | about 7 years ago | (#19923427)

Someone would have noticed if 80% of emails with attachments were not delivered! Really, there are millions of hotmail.com users. At least a few of them get email attachments once in a while.

I'm guessing this "test" used emails that looked like spam. It would help to know which ISPs were used and how the messages were sent.

Or maybe there wasn't really a test and this is all just Slashdot spam.

Anyway, I expect that a hundred people are sending each other hotmail attachments right now, so we'll have better data in a few hours...

Opened an account just to test this... (1)

huckamania (533052) | about 7 years ago | (#19923451)

I'll let you know, but it aint looking good for the study. Unless things start failing quick, I don't think this is going to stand up to scrutiny. The interface is a PoS and very slow.

Re:Opened an account just to test this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923487)

Beautiful denial of service attack, though. Who needs a bot net when you've got so many Slashdotters eager to be the first on their block to conclusively prove MS is the blackest of all evils.

Re:Opened an account just to test this... (1)

fbartho (840012) | about 7 years ago | (#19923781)

hotmail has at least 100x the number of users slashdot has, in fact I went and looked at the current numbers on wikipedia and its on the order of 260 million hotmail to just under a million accounts registered on slashdot (and that's without removing dead users on both sides)

Re:I'm skeptical (2, Insightful)

tokul (682258) | about 7 years ago | (#19923499)

Someone would have noticed if 80% of emails with attachments were not delivered!

And some people noticed [gmane.org] that something is wrong with hotmail.

Email servers should not drop messages. Messages must land in some mailbox or they must bounce back to sender.

Re:I'm skeptical (2, Interesting)

WoTG (610710) | about 7 years ago | (#19923557)

Well, I can't comment on the gmane thread re: squirrelmail.

But about bounces, I don't expect them anymore. The huge volumes of SPAM have made me disable bounces for at least one domain that I manage - the NDR bounces were piling up in the queue by the thousand.

Even if I do get bounce backs from messages that I send, I wouldn't normally notice them since all of the NDRs get filtered straight to junk box at my end. Again, this is because of all the joe-job spam runs with spammers using my domains in the from line.

The real moral of the story is that spammers suck and they have ruined any concept of reliable email delivery. And the hotmail guys face the same issues as me, except 1 million times worse - literally.

Re:I'm skeptical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923667)

Someone would have noticed if 80% of emails with attachments were not delivered!

On Hotmail?

apples and oranges (2, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 7 years ago | (#19923431)

Comparing and ISP's mail service to Hotmail is like comparing apples to oranges; they're both email suppliers, but ISP's charge you lots of money a month and have significantly lower amounts of email.

Also, the article takes a lot of pains to say how perfect the experiment is. A perfect experiment would have included at least a handful of other free email services.

Re:apples and oranges (1)

belmolis (702863) | about 7 years ago | (#19923459)

This was only a test of whether Hotmail drops email with attachments, not a comparison of Hotmail with other services. There was therefore no need to include other free services. Moreover, the article explicitly states that the test was done using PAID accounts, not the free service.

Re:apples and oranges (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | about 7 years ago | (#19923549)

It was a test of whether or not it drops more emails than other email services. So it was a comparison. Second, while he used a paid account, hotmail is still primarily a free service and more similar to other online services than to an ISP. An ISP services a relatively small geographic location, the free email providers service multiple countries. The sheer numbers of subscribers, volume of use and types of use are also going to be more similar between the free services. Therefore, they would have been a much better comparison.

Re:apples and oranges (1)

belmolis (702863) | about 7 years ago | (#19923687)

It was a test of whether or not it drops more emails than other email services.

The article does not say this. You're reading into it something it doesn't say.

Re:apples and oranges (1)

Verte (1053342) | about 7 years ago | (#19923829)

If the server has enough bandwidth to let me sit there uploading my file and tell me it's done, and enough bandwidth for the receiver to view their fat javascripty Hotmail page, they should probably have enough bandwidth to let receivers download the attachment, or at least notify users that it's on the way or has failed.

This is *paid* Hotmail service (4, Informative)

billstewart (78916) | about 7 years ago | (#19923703)

If you RTFM, you'd see that this was paid Hotmail service, not just the free service. So they ought to be providing professional quality service, and apparently they're not.


And as far as other ISPs charging you lots of money per month, that's not normally the case for *email* service. My DSL service does cost me about $50/month (but I've got static IP addresses), but my mail-forwarder is $15/year, my ISP where I've got a shell account and run procmail is $7/month, and my wife uses Fastmail as an email provider for $19/year (they've also got free mail and $15-onetime options.)

Slashdot sucks to hype BS stories like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923433)

It's stories like this that cause slashdot's reputation to be a joke. Where's the story about Google missing its earnings? Instead we get BS stories like this.

Bullshit (3, Interesting)

dedazo (737510) | about 7 years ago | (#19923447)

What the fuck? I regularly send myself emails with all sorts of attachments from work to my Hotmail account. Other than the occasional spam false positive, I've *never* once failed to receive them. This is an infantile "investigation" at best, another AdSense dollar troll "let's bash Microsoft because it's cool" FUD blog whore with a chip in his shoulder and some really painful grade school grammar.

Oh, and he never does mention if he checked his fucking spam folder. I wonder what's in there.

Seriously, this is just too fucking much. Made worse of course by the fact that Slashdot is now partaking on the page impression revenue. Next comes Digg and every other "news" website. Spreading FUD on teh interwebs sure is profitable!

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923563)

chip in his shoulder

chip on his shoulder.

fucking spam folder

Fucking spam folder? Sweet! What does it fuck: people's computers? Not mine, I use GNU+Linux!

I would have read the rest of your post, but am too busy spreading FUD on teh interwebs. :)

Re:Bullshit (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923589)

Other than the occasional spam false positive, I've *never* once failed to receive them.

In other words: "It never happened, except when it did happen."

Re:Bullshit (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | about 7 years ago | (#19923627)

Oh, and he never does mention if he checked his fucking spam folder. I wonder what's in there.
That's a valid point, he didn't check his spam folder. However, let's say that Hotmail flagged 80% of the emails in this test as 'spam', despite the emails not being spam - that's not very good either.

Overall TFA did attempt to control for various factors, but the spam issue is indeed an oversight. Another problem is the lack of control for not having attachments - no emails were tested that lacked attachments. This might show if having an attachment raises the chance to 'vanish' (/be flagged as spam).

Re:Bullshit (1)

rafaMEX (1111415) | about 7 years ago | (#19923649)

I call bullshit too. I also send myself stuff with no problems.

Outgoing mail got lost too (1)

billstewart (78916) | about 7 years ago | (#19923743)

No, he doesn't say if he checked the spam folders, but his outgoing mail from Hotmail to them got lost too. If he checked and didn't find them, that's interesting. If 81% ended up in spam buckets, then of course that's just probably-overactive spam filters.


It's possible that it ended up in the spam folders on his other ISPs - certainly *I'd* expect email from Hotmail containing a random attachment to be spam :-)

Re:Outgoing mail got lost too (1)

Mr. Roadkill (731328) | about 7 years ago | (#19923917)

If 81% ended up in spam buckets, then of course that's just probably-overactive spam filters.
So long as the bucket's in his mailbox, like a spam folder, that's okay as far as I'm concerned. I'd only be worried if messages were silently discarded by the ISP. Once it's accepted, NOTHING should ever be dropped... I'd be lynched if I tried something like that.


The type (translates to "anything") and size (translates to "anything") of the attachments are mentioned in the vaguest terms, and nothing else is said about the messages. If all that was sent was a .jpg of under a couple of hundred kilobytes, for example, with no message body, from hotmail ffs, then it's no bloody wonder if it ended up in a spam folder at the receiving end. Same goes for that kind of crap message going into hotmail.

Or maybe he was cutting and pasting message bodies from representative items in his inbox, like:

Hello kind sir,
You do not know me, but my name is Mrs Maryam Abacha...

And I think Yahoo does the same (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923453)

I had a long standing yahoo account and was loosing pretty much anything with attachements. I know that I was loosing mail woth attachements as they were going thru an email forwarder which I control. I have since moved mostly to gmail, and I no longer loose attachements.

Re:And I think Yahoo does the same (1)

wanderingknight (1103573) | about 7 years ago | (#19923943)

I've been using Yahoo mail for years, sending tons of stuff of wildly varying sizes, and have never lost a single attachment.

Gmail (4, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | about 7 years ago | (#19923493)

This 'research' has much more value if the way Hotmail handles attachments can be compared to Gmail. This is just MS bashing in my eyes now.

Re:Gmail (0, Offtopic)

priestx (822223) | about 7 years ago | (#19923679)

That's a pretty low uid you got yourself there.

Junkmail (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 7 years ago | (#19923497)

Makes me wonder what kind of spam/virus attachments this guy sends.

Re:Junkmail (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923545)

Slashdot articles in .rar files.

No Reliability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923543)

So... now anyone can post FUD on slashdot without any reliable sources or material and get a front page? Or was it just the microsoft bashing that granted it?

Profit? (3, Funny)

Z80xxc! (1111479) | about 7 years ago | (#19923571)

  1. Send a bunch of emails with attachments and with titles like "V!agra", "OEM CHEEP Sotware", "Slashdot Daily FUD", etc.
  2. Never check spam box
  3. Write an article full of FUD
  4. Submit is to Slashdot
  5. ???
  6. Profit!!

Re:Profit? (What I should have said) (0)

Z80xxc! (1111479) | about 7 years ago | (#19923599)

Vista...
Attempting to send an email. [Cancel] or [Allow]? (Click allow...) Too bad. Message deleted into oblivion.

Oblig
I, for one, welcome our new vanishing email overlords.

Much as I dislike MS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923609)

Treating email like snail mail will be a step back. Our (US) system of laws is so perverted by such false analogies that trying to hold MS liable for trimming the gross fat of attachments would be like inviting demons into your home. Best not to open that pandora's box thank you very much.

If you really want that attachment then save it to a local file or, at worst, use another means of "sending" it (post it to your web page with big flashing lights -- technically that's just as secure as email).

Maybe it really *is* a feature! (5, Insightful)

akkarin (1117245) | about 7 years ago | (#19923721)

From the article:

Each day, I would log onto Hotmail-1 and send/receive that day's twenty emails to Hotmail-2
Did he ever consider that the spam filters at Hotmail, or his ISP of choice, considered it suspicious that he sent 20 email, all within a few minutes of each other, all with attachments, all to the same account?

Best part (1)

dr. greenthumb (114246) | about 7 years ago | (#19923747)

The whole article reeks of FUD, but at least I got myself a laugh out of it:

> If emails were donuts, Hotmail would be HomerSimpsonMail

Priceless :)

oh come on (1)

frovingslosh (582462) | about 7 years ago | (#19923763)

1) e-mail isn't United States Mail, in the United states mail fraud only applies to U.S. mail. Even is you send a real item some other way (such as Fed Ex or private courier), it's not mail fraud unless you send it through the mail.

2) Microsoft is above the law anyway.

hotmail? (1)

jekori (1130653) | about 7 years ago | (#19923765)

I haven't used the system since: a) Microsft bought it b) Yahoo offered email service Really, who uses hotmail anymore?

I have not observed that problem (1)

Tsu Dho Nimh (663417) | about 7 years ago | (#19923767)

I've been using hot mail for a long time (since 1998?) and have not observed this problem.

Mail Fraud? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19923769)

Wouldn't wire fraud be more applicable

Re:Mail Fraud? (1)

ameyer17 (935373) | about 7 years ago | (#19923919)

Wouldn't wire fraud be more applicable
If...
a) This is fraud
and
b) This is actually happening
yes
However, I suspect this isn't actually happening, and even if it is, it's probably shady and bad service but not fraud.
DISCLOSURE: I am not a lawyer

cowboyneal should be ashamed... (3, Insightful)

snotty (19670) | about 7 years ago | (#19923787)

Disclosure - I work for Microsoft... but come on... this is not even good enough to be a April Fools day joke...

Nonsense (1)

Proto23 (931154) | about 7 years ago | (#19923837)

My company has send out free reports about How to Learn to Control your Emotiones with NLP and How to Understand your Personality with the Enneagram. These reports are around 1-2MB and we send them as PDF attachment to thousands of people many who use a hotmail account. There are problems with Hotmail, sure, but not because of dropped attachments. It never happens. Check it for yourself at http://usa.tiouw.com/ParticulierRapporten.php [tiouw.com]

hmmm... (2, Funny)

WeeBit (961530) | about 7 years ago | (#19923847)

Quick! everyone test that theory. Best way to find out is to send attachments to Hotmail accounts. In the news... Hotmail was brought to it's knees after several hundred thousand users tested the service to see if their attachments would actually get through. Film at 11. /nutty humor

It balances out (2, Funny)

SmlFreshwaterBuffalo (608664) | about 7 years ago | (#19923875)

Therefore it really doesn't matter if every client has access to 2GB of storage since they don't deliver the attachments to fill that space up anyway.
Don't worry. They more than make up for it with extra spam to fill the void.

Is gmail any better? (1)

nsundeepreddy (624059) | about 7 years ago | (#19923899)

Try attaching a 1M file to a gmail send... Its quite slow. Often I have to try several times before a successful send. Further, I have never ever been able to send an attachment of size around 10M.

They dont have any limit on the attachment size by policy. You can try to send any size... they just timeout.

Who is liable?

In the spirit of science... (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | about 7 years ago | (#19923939)

... I propose that nobody replicate the stated methods and compare their results with those from the article. An empirical test with hard data would make it impossible for everyone to prove their point by stating they never noticed what they didn't objectively test for, as well as making everyone who thinks the author is an idiot look like an idiot. Any such test would almost certainly prove the author to be as wrong as a football bat, but no matter how easily done it might be, it's far easier and lots more fun to throw more FUD at assumed FUD.

The pseudo-legal claims are, of course, symptomatic of recto-cranial inversion, but you can only argue with numbers if you have better numbers.
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