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Hotmail Blocks Gmail Emails (and Invites) 894

Posted by Hemos
from the intereting-tests dept.
bonhomme_de_neige writes "Emails and invitations sent to Hotmail from Gmail accounts do not bounce, but nor do they arrive in the recipient's Inbox - they vanish mysteriously into the aether. Joel Johnson writes in his Gizmodo weblog that invitations he sent to a Hotmail address bounced (this even received coverage from ZDNet). Search Engine Roundtable writes that several ISPs are blocking Gmail. It's already well-documented that Yahoo moves Gmail invites into the Bulk Mail folder. I've personally confirmed the Hotmail and Yahoo blocking." Please note: I've not been able to verify this one way or another.
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Hotmail Blocks Gmail Emails (and Invites)

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  • MS & Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mfh (56) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:21AM (#9483358) Homepage Journal
    I would expect this from Microsoft. They can blame the spam filters, to try and save face, but the simple fact is, they are simply taking a page from their own rulebook; they don't want to lose advertising revenue from people switching to Gmail, so they are breaking the law and interfering with email. If Microsoft had successfully bought Google to trash it [theinquirer.net], Gmail would not have existed at all. For those of you just tuning in, Hotmail is owned and operated by Microsoft, after they bought the service [com.com] in 1998. I was a Hotmail member prior to Microsoft being involved and the service has declined significantly since the old days. Although many of the features have improved since then, the bulk of the Hotmail service is becoming increasingly unreliable for email that just "has to get there".

    In other news, we've got lots of Gmail invites for military folks here [gmailforthetroops.com], so if you want Gmail for large files and you are a soldier, or if you want to donate your invites to soldiers, check us out. This is not just for American military, but any democratic military, such as Canada or the UK.
  • Re:Stunning (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bricklets (703061) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:24AM (#9483403)
    Mega-corporations don't play nice? Really? I'm absolutely flabbergasted!

    An email service blocking emails from a competing email service is surprising. Has this ever happened before? Is this even legal?
  • Re:MS & Google (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tet (2721) * <.ku.oc.enydartsa. .ta. .todhsals.> on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:25AM (#9483414) Homepage Journal
    Although many of the features have improved since then, the bulk of the Hotmail service is becoming increasingly unreliable for email that just "has to get there".

    If it "just has to get there", you wouldn't be using email in the first place. But even if you are using email, why on earth would you be using Hotmail? If it's that important, you should be using your own SMTP server over which you have control. Instead, you're relying on a third party, that you're not paying, and with whom you have no service level agreement. Not a smart move for data you care about...

  • Rubbish (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:26AM (#9483422)

    i recieved all of mine perfectly, i have no greedy filters set either

    PEBKAC

  • by tssm0n0 (200200) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:29AM (#9483442)
    But this was such a well researched posting. I like how it contradicts itself:
    Emails and invitations sent to Hotmail from Gmail accounts do not bounce...invitations he sent to a Hotmail address bounced

  • Well.. hold on... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Mz6 (741941) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:30AM (#9483459) Journal
    After reading most of these links (I know.. I actually RTFA), these blogs and other articles were posted months ago (back in April!). Perhaps they have since changed their ways after numerous postings about it?
  • by Otter (3800) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:30AM (#9483466) Journal
    I just received one on Yahoo, straight to the Inbox. Perhaps there's a country-specific issue? They may well use different filters. Or maybe some Bayesian thing where users have different criteria?
  • OMG CENSORSHIP! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:32AM (#9483482) Journal
    Sorry but this came right out the box of Microsoft's dirty tricks. If you can't get your e-mail then you can't switch services, microsoft already has to deal with Linux, why not shut out Gmail while we're at it? At least this time it won't cost a small company millions because Microsoft didn't like them. I just wonder how many people will sue when they lose money through Ebay when buying one and it never arriving.
  • by Phil John (576633) <phil@NOspAM.webstarsltd.com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:33AM (#9483488)
    ...by spam bayes outlook plugin, almost missed the three week window too, so yeah, it does look very spammy.
  • by hendridm (302246) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:36AM (#9483516) Homepage
    Well, this is old news first reported the middle of last week. Perhaps they fixed it now and configured their spam filters to allow the Gmail invite.
  • Outblaze (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Phoinix (666047) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:42AM (#9483587)
    Other companies as Outblaze have similar practices. Recently, all emails from the un.org servers were BLOCKED. Outblaze claim that the sysadmin @ un.org blocked their servers for spam or other stuff (viruses, etc) and did not respond to their emails. What Outblaze did is the most stupid thing ever. I will not be renewing my subscription with them (www.operamail.com).
    I may nderstand if they decided to block an ISP server, but blocking servers of the United Nations is just MORONIC; I doubt this happens outside the US.

    Has anyone encountered similar stupid acts?

  • Yep. It's true. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cherrycoke (146050) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:44AM (#9483607) Homepage
    Bought a dirt-cheap account on Ebay on Saturday; the seller sent the link to my Hotmail account, and it never appeared in the inbox or the trash.

    Had him send it to my main email address after reading this article, and the link worked fine. Needless to say, I'll be ditching Hotmail within 24 hours. This makes me incredibly angry.
  • by Kris_J (10111) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:46AM (#9483625) Journal
    Microsoft has a long and rich history of crippling opposition products. Quicktime for Windows was flakey as hell in the early years, but far from that being Apple's fault it was alleged (convincingly) that Microsoft were deliberately making it unstable. DR-DOS is the subject of a long running lawsuit where it appears that some versions of Windows 3.x simply refused to install on it for no good reason and providing only confusing errors.

    However, I will not attribute to malice what can be explained by stupidity. Hotmail has been so unreliable of late that at work we're close to the point where Hotmail addresses will not be accepted as a primary email address. Incredibly stupid filters tend to be at the root of the problems. If too many messages look the same Hotmail calls them spam and they vanish into a black hole. Meanwhile, actual spam fills many a Hotmail inbox.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:48AM (#9483644)
    I had the same thing happen to me when i ordered my modchip for my xbox a year ago. I had it send the confirmation email to my hotmail account (my mistake) which hotmail auto blocked.. I ended up trouble shooting this with their tech support and the only way i was able to recieve email from that domain was if i put their domain in the whitelist.
  • Not my experience. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EvilJohn (17821) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:49AM (#9483647) Homepage
    I invited a friend to my gmail account, sending the invite to her hotmail account. It worked perfectly.
  • Re:MS & Google (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arakon (97351) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:50AM (#9483660) Homepage
    How do you suggest that they do this?

    I really wish they could do it, I'm in the military and am looking at one of those long stints away from loved ones soon... but the fact of the matter is, if it's not for official military use, it won't get funding. That and rolling cable in the desert just makes one more security issue to deal with which requires manpower we can't spare right now.

    Yeah yeah, but WIRELESS!.... is a security nightmare right now and lets face it, no matter how many times COMSEC and COMPUSEC are briefed there is always some nimrod on the network violating the security measures.

    War isn't about being comfortable, the military's primary concern is that we stay alive, not that we have email. They've actually gone to great lengths to set up call centers and email access as it is, but you could easily wait in line for 2 hours for your turn. But trust me when I tell you that those connections that are allowed are closely monitored (fewer connections mean fewer resources required to monitor them).

    Warfare is as much about information control as manpower these days.
  • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xformer (595973) <(avalon73) (at) (caerleon.us)> on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:50AM (#9483664)
    Overgeneralization has made it into /. stories before, or have you not been around that long? If you simply RTFA, you'll see that it's mainly just the invites that have gone missing.
  • B-e-t-a (Score:2, Interesting)

    by David Thompson (218990) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:55AM (#9483734)
    Did you every stop to think that non-delivery could be the result of an issue at the senders end? Just a thought but they are in beta.
  • Re:Stunning (Score:3, Interesting)

    by danielsfca2 (696792) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:57AM (#9483757) Journal
    > I don't understand why ISPs would block...

    Hotmail and Yahoo! are not ISPs. They're a couple of second-rate e-mail services. This is yet another reason everyone should steer clear of "free" e-mail altogether.

    Everyone has a real e-mail account available to them if they just pay enough attention to know who's offering it (real ISP, college, job) and learn how to set up a real e-mail client. Five minutes.
  • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cloudmaster (10662) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:58AM (#9483766) Homepage Journal
    How does gmail's indexing of email stored on gmail servers affect mail coming in to an ISP? "Privacy" my arse. I trust google to tread my data properly more than I do most ISPs anyway. :)
  • Re:Mountains (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:59AM (#9483788)
    First I think you are right. However Google is at the moment considered a reputible organization and they really are offering a totaly legit service that is exactly what it perports to be in the invites. So its spam or not spam depending on how tight your defininition is. As a mail admin this is not somehting I would deliberatly block as spam and something I would probably flag as clean if it were brought to my attention my filters we killing it. Make no mistake that this is a case of spliting hairs but I imagine M$ is not going to change things for a while with regard to the invites.
    As to blocking e-mails from free sites that is a stupid policy it may help cut down on fraud and spam but it kills allot of legit traffic as well, I use hotmail and I get really pissed when I discover some jackass admin has blocked the entire domain. Hotmail itself a free site blocking google a free site makes no sense at all. That can only be an attempt by M$ to marginalize a competitive service by makeing it inoperable with their services which has many subscribers. They also know google could do the same to them in return by the effect is very small as gmail is new and has few subscribers so the damage to hotmail is very minor if any and probably casues more harm to gmails usablility. I am not just being an M$ hater I completely understand the invites being blocked just not the other mail. This is being anticompetitive.
  • Just Tested It.... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:01AM (#9483807)
    Works fine... Sent an email from my gmail.com account to my hotmail.com account. Went directly to the InBox. And I have my Junk Email Filter set to 'Enhanced'.
  • Re:Stunning (Score:1, Interesting)

    by presarioD (771260) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:03AM (#9483825)
    I don't know if it's legal, but it's certainly unethical.

    Well not really! This is like the "No Solicitors" sign you see everywhere nowdays. I guess it's part of their right to block invitations, but blocking "customer service" because of ethnicity or origin that's unethical!
  • Scanning Emails (Score:2, Interesting)

    by csimpkins (787236) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:04AM (#9483834)
    And everyone was worried about GMAIL scanning/parsing emails... pffft!
  • by skermit (451840) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:05AM (#9483836) Homepage
    I set my father up with a Gmail invite to a Hotmail account as of last night 11pm EST. It doesn't mean that you can't send the invites as IMs to your webmail-restricted friends.
  • No surprise (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:06AM (#9483853)
    Hotmail have been "silently discarding" all mail sent from 6 of my servers since January, none of which are listed on any blacklists and have never sent any spam. So gmail invites going missing really is no surprise to me (and all the other people who own servers that hotmail mysteriously lose mail from).
  • by hymie3 (187934) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:12AM (#9483907)
    I had a friend send me a Google Mail invite to a yahoo address. It never arrived.

    I'm certain that he used the correct address. I can understand "bulking" gmail invites (don't believe it's an honest mistake, but can understand it's possible) as I have had legitimate invites to mailing lists/web sites get placed into the bulk folder.

    I got nothing in my Yahoo account. I was very careful to check the bulk foldler, but nothing ever showed up. Lucky for me, I was able to get the URL for the invite from his sent folder and signed up that way.
  • The problem is pipe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Tyro (247333) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:24AM (#9484030)
    not servers. On one of my trips to the middle east a few years ago, we had about 5000 soldiers at our location, and about five 56k modems worth of bandwidth to serve them all. Yes, you read that correctly.

    Think the neighborhood node for your cable modem is slow in the evenings? Brother, you aint seen nothin'.... and to make matters worse, they also throttled that bandwidth down even more by port... 80 was always the slowest. Fortunately for me, ftp wasn't throttled... so my downloads from kernel.org took hours instead of days (hey, a geek's gotta do what a geek's gotta do).

    Increasing the pipe is only part of the issue; you have to filter all that traffic. If you don't control that information stream, classified information will leak, and viruses/worms will run riot. Even on a filtered system, one virus can really make your life miserable. I witnessed this on another delployment... the Anna Kournikova virus got loose in our network... it wrecked havoc for days before we got it under control (send a bunch of lonely, hormonally-poisoned, computer-equiped 19-year-olds a file purporting to be a picture of Anna Kournikova and see what happens... total chaos).

    Increasing services to the troops is good, but it has to be done right, or you might end up with more problems than you started with.
  • Confirmed: False. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Temporal (96070) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:26AM (#9484042) Journal
    Just sent a couple e-mails from my gmail account to my hotmail account. The first one was delayed a few minutes, but the second one went through instantaneously. My friend (who originally invited me) says she successfully invited someone using a hotmail address yesterday.

    So, yeah. I'm afraid this is... not true. At least as far as hotmail is concerned.
  • Re:Mountains (Score:5, Interesting)

    by noone06 (678036) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:30AM (#9484089)
    I do not know if this is the exact case. I tried the test as described with Yahoo. I copied the entire body of the gmail invite and send that to my yahoo account with any subject, and it gets marked as spam. I can delete up to one word in the email, and it does not get marked as spam. It seems Yahoo is specifically looking for the whole body of the Gmail invite..
  • by FearTheFrail (666535) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:36AM (#9484144)
    While it may bring universal (nationwide?) standards to e-mailing, you know that it will be seen as a potential source of revenue.

    Shortly thereafter, they'll set in place a registration system that wants you to put in a checking or credit card account with the rest of your information... ...and then they start taxing e-mails. A penny or two per e-mail is something the public could be cowed into, despire what we /.ers think about it, and by the time it can be adequately questioned, the public will be too accustomed to paying, the gov't too accustomed to collecting, and we'll be stuck.

    I think the continued deregulation is worth risking a GMail invite or two.
  • Re:MS & Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater AT gmail DOT com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:01AM (#9484385) Homepage
    War isn't about being comfortable, the military's primary concern is that we stay alive, not that we have email. They've actually gone to great lengths to set up call centers and email access as it is, but you could easily wait in line for 2 hours for your turn.
    What I find interesting is the assumption among many that since we have the capability to provide instant and continuous worldwide communications between individuals, that creates a right to unlimited acess to that ability. (You see the same assumption pop up in discussions here on slashdot about blocking cell phones in theatres etc..)

    <mode=geezer><veteran=on>At mumble feet under the North Atlantic there isn't room to form a two hour long line, let alone email or phone access to wait on. I envy you kids that, but I didn't have sand in my dinner at least. :) :)

  • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:01AM (#9484402) Journal
    Everyone has a real e-mail account available to them if they just pay enough attention to know who's offering it (real ISP, college, job) and learn how to set up a real e-mail client. Five minutes.

    But paid-for doesn't always mean better. I'm on NTL, and in the last year the email service has become unuseable (emails sometimes take months to arrive, or sometimes disappear altogether; sometimes connecting to POP or SMTP is very difficult). Paid-for doesn't mean you have more of a position to complain, when your complaints are completely ignored. Whilst gmail blocking seems to be restricted to free email accounts, it is not inconceivable that paid for ISPs may try dirty tactics.

    Switching to a free email account (that I still use a "real email client" for) took five minutes, but switching entirely to a new cable ISP would take far longer.
  • Re:MS & Google (Score:3, Interesting)

    by darkmeridian (119044) <william@chuang.gmail@com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:11AM (#9484486) Homepage
    A third-party analyzed the spam-filter in Outlook 2003. He reverse-engineered the table of weights in the spam-filter engine by matching hashes of a standard English dictionary to values in the file. E-mails containing "Linux" was being marked as spam. I don't know about you, but I haven't gotten much spam pushing Linux porn or Linux enhancement lately. Perhaps the people at MS Outlook Central have a weird fetish?
  • Re:Stunning (Score:2, Interesting)

    by avgjoe62 (558860) on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:19AM (#9484562)
    Machines read your email all the time. If they didn't, you wouldn't be able to get it. You certainly wouldn't be able to have it checked for spam. Thinking your message is "private" just because the machines don't explicitly tell you they read it is very naive.

    So very true. I remember back in the days when we were using MS Mail, I could watch the messages scroll on by the MS Mail Internet Connector, from the initial "Hello" to the text of the message. There never has been any privacy in email. Just read the terms of use of your corporate or college account.

    But is anyone reading /. really surprised to see the internet and inter-operability fracturing because corporate interests are squabbling? Or are we so quick to forget this recent example? [com.com] I'm just wondering how long until this becomes a "feature" in Exchange Server...

  • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mgrassi99 (514152) on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:33AM (#9484687)
    Sweet! They both came through, the one sent to Yahoo was stuck in my Bulk folder, and the one to Hotmail was in my inbox (I use the "enhanced" junk mail filtering). This post is BUSTED. -Mike
  • Re:Stunning (Score:2, Interesting)

    by SpiritOfGrandeur (686449) on Monday June 21, 2004 @12:00PM (#9485071)
    The spam filter on Outlook 2003 also kills all gmail messages as a default. I had three invites in my Junk Email Folder, and four from friends writing from the gmail account...
  • by illumin8 (148082) on Monday June 21, 2004 @12:19PM (#9485265) Journal
    Since almost all spam -- anything we think of spam, anyway -- arrives in mass quantities, and a logical way to reduce spam is simply to look for many addresses receiving the same email.

    This is true. But, what probably triggered it was this: A few users received Gmail invites and either didn't know what it was, or didn't recognize the person they received it from, saw it was offering another email service, then clicked the button that says "This is Spam". When Hotmail gets a few reports like that the message text gets added to their filters and everyone else's invites start going to the Spam folder.

    That's just standard operating procedure. If they didn't have that procedure in place we'd receive 50-100 spams a day in our Hotmail box.

    Of course, none of this would have been a problem if Hotmail hadn't sold all of their account lists to bulk emailers years ago. Hotmail is the only service that when I first created an account, instantly started sending me spam before I had even given my address out to anyone. The only way they could have gotten my address is if Hotmail sold it to bulk senders.
  • Re:Stunning (Score:3, Interesting)

    by joeljkp (254783) <joeljkparker@NospaM.gmail.com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @12:30PM (#9485389)
    Isn't that what .name was created for? I haven't heard much out of them... is it still going strong? I wouldn't mind first@last.name.
  • Re:Mountains (Score:3, Interesting)

    by adpowers (153922) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:16PM (#9486578)
    But not all Gmail invites are the same. Not only are the URLs different and the names listed in the e-mail different, but the first part of the invite is also customizable text from the user sending the invite.

    Andrew
  • Re:Stunning (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wwaaves (262320) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:43PM (#9486863)
    I personally have sent at least 8 invitations to people with hotmail accounts and 7 of them have signed up. If hotmail is blocking gmail then monkeys are lining up inside my ass and getting ready to fly.
  • Re:Mountains (Score:3, Interesting)

    by scottj (7200) on Monday June 21, 2004 @06:46PM (#9489567) Homepage Journal
    Exactly. I sent an invite to a Yahoo user last week. She contacted me today asking where her invite was. The invitation did contain a custom message from me. When I forwarded a copy of the invite back to her today, it went through just fine. I still haven't gotten a message on my hotmail account that I sent to myself from Gmail. I think the Hotmail block is in effect in full force.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @01:16AM (#9492156)
    I just try with my gmail account.

    mails from gmail can reach yahoo inbox instantly, but not hotmail.
  • Embedded Images (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Myrmi (730278) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @01:48AM (#9492308)
    One thing that GMail appears unable to do is to show images that are embedded into the email. That's a bit of a poor show, in my book :/. I'm not talking about remotely linked images, either (which you can show at the click of a link), but images that are sent in the email itself.
  • For the record (Score:2, Interesting)

    by maotx (765127) <`maotx' `at' `yahoo.com'> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @10:52AM (#9494867)
    I've noticed a few other things weird about yahoo and its infamous bulk folder. For about a week and a half now my /. subscription has been placed their instead of my inbox. I had to use a filter to prevent its misdirection.
  • by Scryer (60692) on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @07:18PM (#9501083)
    I haven't been able to log into gmail for the last few hours (Server Error / The server encountered a temporary error and could not complete your request. / Please try again in 30 seconds. ) and ordinarily this wouldn't set off any alarms. After all, it is a beta service.

    However, I checked in on Orkut, a Google-provided networking/community bulletin board site, and did a search in "Communities" for "gmail". Yesterday this returned dozens of groups, and at the moment it returns none. Other groups appear to be perfectly operational.

    Is it a coincidence that Orkut gmail-related communities disappeared at the same time as Gmail did?

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