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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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  • Stunning (Score:5, Funny)

    by Marxist Commentary (461279) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:20AM (#9483353) Homepage
    Mega-corporations don't play nice? Really? I'm absolutely flabbergasted!
    • 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:Stunning (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Short Circuit (52384) <mikemol@gmail.com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:31AM (#9483472) Homepage Journal
        I don't know if it's legal, but it's certainly unethical.

        I don't understand why ISPs would block gmail mail anyway. (I understand the invites, though.)
        • Re:Stunning (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Bricklets (703061) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:38AM (#9483538)
          I don't understand why ISPs would block gmail mail anyway. (I understand the invites, though.)

          Well, the articles mentions that some email providers are blocking GMail due to privacy concerns. Seems like a bunch of hogwash to me.
          • 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. :)
          • by lcsjk (143581) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:57AM (#9484354)
            Sorry, but I seem to be on the trailing edge of technology today. What is this invite stuff? Seems I don't get invited to nothing anymore!
          • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Insightful)

            by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:02AM (#9484407) Homepage Journal
            Privacy concerns? That's such hogwash. GMail's server reads your email and offers syntactical ads. If it didn't offer the ads, GMail's server would still read your email. So would ever server between the sender AND GMail. 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.

            Methinks ISPs are using "Privacy Concerns" as a way of keeping customers from leaving their quickly aging service. "Hey look, bearded technology pundits with nothing better to do are upset about ads in a radical new free email service. They're waving the privacy flag. We can wave the same flag and lock people in to viewing our contextually inaccurate ads a little bit longer!"
            • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Insightful)

              by the_mad_poster (640772) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:47AM (#9484904) Homepage Journal

              What amuses me about all of this is that ISPs and stupid technology writers keep waving that flag, but it's not like Google is trying to be underhanded about how the service works. They seem to make it pretty clear what's going to happen when you sign up.

              Essentially, anyone who blocks Gmail invites would be saying "well, I understand that you agreed to what Google offered, but I feel as though I have more say in your decisions, so I'm rescinding your approval and issuing a denial on your behalf". How is THAT not an abuse of privacy? If they really felt that their customers' privacy was at risk, why wouldn't they just offer a warning? Blocking the e-mails is essentially saying that you have more say in your customer's decisions than they do online, PLUS it indicates that you were watching their mail in the first place!

              Do you I smell a pile of boving excrement wafting on the breeze from the direction of a few dirty ISPs and freemail providers?

        • Re:Stunning (Score:3, Interesting)

          by danielsfca2 (696792) *
          > 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, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:59AM (#9483787)
            Because people should never need to switch ISP's, colleges, or jobs. I know when I pick a college, I'm there for the rest of my life.
          • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Informative)

            by slimak (593319) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:12AM (#9483901)
            unless your ISP is SBC, then you get a Yahoo! account (even though its @sbcglobal.net).
          • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Insightful)

            by FesterDaFelcher (651853) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:27AM (#9484055)
            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.

            Real ISPs come and go, you are not in college forever, and you dont keep the same job forever. However, you CAN keep one of these "second-rate" email addresses indefinitely. I have had my yahoo account for years, while friends and colleagues change their "real" email accounts year after year, mine has always been the same. I have lost touch with many people because they changed email addresses and never told anyone.

            Thanks for the short-sighted answer.
            • Re:Stunning (Score:4, Informative)

              by It'sYerMam (762418) <thefishface@gm a i l . c om> on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:54AM (#9484328) Homepage
              The motto: huzzah for email forwarding.

              You get all the advantages of a real email address without the changiness.

            • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Insightful)

              by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:16AM (#9484534) Homepage Journal
              Actually, the real solution is to take $50 or so and invest in your own domain name and domain based email hosting with a reputable company. By controlling the DOMAIN your email goes to, you have complete control over your email address. If your company goes under, you can move to another one in about 2 days. If your domain provider goes under, you can move your Domain to a new one in about a week. And best of all, you can offer free email accounts to all of your friends and family...free email accounts that you can vouch for, that don't pop up ads everywhere, and that you can control who reads/knows about their existance.

              I started my hosting company as a cooperative just so I could get rid of my favorite email "alias," dasmegabyte@mindless.com, which the company providing the alias had sold to spammers when I told them no, I won't give you $10 a month to forward my fucking email with ads at the bottom. Incidentally, I lost a job in 2001 because the hiring staff sent an email to dasmegabyte@mindless.com and I had already dropped that account -- there was too much spam to sort through.
            • Re:Stunning (Score:3, Funny)

              by Anonymous Coward
              I have lost touch with many people because they changed email addresses and never told anyone.
              Oh, I doubt that they never told anyone. Likely they decided not to tell just you. Do you really believe that you lost touch with them by accident???
          • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Funny)

            by mgrassi99 (514152) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:41AM (#9484188)
            I have both a Yahoo and Hotmail account...someone email me an invite and I'll verify this post ;)

            mgrassi99@yahoo.com
            mikegrassi@hotmail.com

            -M
          • 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:Stunning (Score:4, Insightful)

            by FlashBac (720033) on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:36AM (#9484739)
            OK, fair enough. Yahoo etc are not the greatest.
            BUT I set up my yahoo account 10 years ago, and yes I had a college account, then I left college, had a differant work account, back to college, diff account, Job, diff account, and am now working as a postdoc with a differant account.
            My point is I still have the same yahoo account I had when I was 17. I used it in South America, in Germany, in the Port Authority in NYC, Stansted Airport and so on. So, if someone that i met 7 years ago wants to drop me a mail, and doesnt have my work/uni address, they use yahoo. (And I tell them to use my work address from then on.) But the contact is made. And, therefore they cannot be described as "second-rate e-mail services", because when you are in the back ends of the Andes they are the only thing available, and are pretty first rate in those instances. They are a differant type of account, and are useful.
            And I take offence at hotmail or anyone censoring my mails.
      • Re:Stunning (Score:4, Funny)

        by MarkPNeyer (729607) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:08AM (#9483871)
        You mean a company offering its services for free is putting restrictions on said services? *Gasp* Can 1984 be far behind? Surely this is the result of the eeeevil George W. Bush and his Patriot Act. Serioulsy, though. These companies are offering a free service. There's nothing unethical or illegal about making said service crappier. Even if you were paying for it, they've still got license to do whatever they want with the service (unless of course the TOS say that the TOS are never going to change...) Isn't this just like consoles all being proprietary, so that not just anyone can make games fro them?
    • Re:Stunning (Score:3, Informative)

      by gazbo (517111)
      Rubbish. I use Hotmail, a friend of mine uses gmail. I've not had any problems getting his mails, and I've not even had to whitelist him for the spam filter.

      This story is the biggest pile of turd I've read on Slashdot - and I've read some pretty strong contenders.

      • Re:Stunning (Score:4, Informative)

        by 13Echo (209846) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:50AM (#9483667) Homepage Journal
        I sent an invite to someone two days ago, and he still hasn't gotten it.

        I can vouch that this is certainly questionable.
      • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Informative)

        by bonhomme_de_neige (711691) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:56AM (#9483751) Homepage
        I use Hotmail, a friend of mine uses gmail. I've not had any problems getting his mails

        Actually - it happened in this order. Test email sent to Hotmail, did not arrive. Story submitted to Slashdot. Email arrived in Hotmail account several hours later (after other emails I sent from my other accounts _after_ the one from gmail - which arrived almost instantly). I've read several reports of Hotmail both bouncing and vanishing Gmail email - I'm sure if you hunt around you can find even more. It may be that they are changing their behaviour as they realise it'd going to do them more harm then good.

        As for the Yahoo one, that is definitely true.

        • by phorm (591458) on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:42AM (#9484834) Journal
          I've actually had a lot of issues with hotmail in the last... 3-6 months? Email bounce with server errors (accounts aren't full so that's not the problem), or there's a lengthy delay between sending the email and it actually being received.

          So, this may not be so much indicative of a problem with hotmail and gmail as it is hotmail in general. Possibly they're lagged in processing the some bazillion spams that must pass through there, anyone have any stats on how much spam passes through hotmail daily?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:20AM (#9483355)
    Please note: I've not been able to verify this one way or another.

    But I won't let that stop me from posting it! ;)
  • 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.
    • by arcite (661011) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:23AM (#9483388)
      I got an invite from my buddy, he even sent it to me using his gmail address. me thinks this story is FUD.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:25AM (#9483409)
      Either that or the Gmail invite reads like:

      LIMITED TIME OFFER!

      NATURAL ENHANCEMENT!

      ABOUT YOUR EMAIL ACCOUNT

      FREE FREE FREE FREE

      SIGN UP NOW!

      http://gmail.com

      For more info, I send you this file in order to have your advice.
    • 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...

      • by kalpol (714519) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:41AM (#9483569) Homepage
        I tried that. Yes, I have my own SMTP server. It was nice, fast, and super reliable until AOL/Comcast/Time Warner/pretty much everyone began blocking email from everyone except megacorp SMTP servers.
        • I had this same problem. The solution is to use your ISP's SMTP server as a relay host. For example, in my Postfix main.cf, I have the line:

          relayhost = smtp-server.carolina.rr.com

          That fixed my problems not being able to send to AOL, Time Warner, the Easter Bunny, and the Jehovah's Witnesses.

          And, with SquirrelMail (or any other free software webmail system) set up, I can check my mail from anywhere with a web browser.

          It beats using Hotmail any day of the week.
    • Re:MS & Google (Score:4, Informative)

      by DaHat (247651) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:26AM (#9483421) Homepage
      so they are breaking the law and interfering with email

      Do tell, what law are they breaking? I must have missed the one which says that ISP's and other electronic mail carriers must deliver all e-mails passing through their systems.

      Hotmail, like Gmail are run on private networks and anyone using said networks are bound by the whims of their owners and operators.
      • Re:MS & Google (Score:5, Informative)

        by runlvl0 (198575) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:40AM (#9483559) Homepage Journal
        > so they are breaking the law and interfering with email

        Do tell, what law are they breaking? I must have missed the one which says that ISP's and other electronic mail carriers must deliver all e-mails passing through their systems.


        I think that you're right, but I think that the confusion exists because of existing laws concerning common carriers [atis.org].
    • Re:MS & Google (Score:4, Insightful)

      by afidel (530433) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:26AM (#9483424)
      I just want to say that that is a VERY cool thing to do for the men and women who devote their lives to defending their countries. It's an often thankless job, and being away from loved ones with crappy communications makes it that much harder. Personally I think that the military needs to spend a little bit of cash on forward deployed servers so that things like that aren't needed. Why shouldn't soldiers away from home have unlimited size email boxes, if google can support it with ad revenue I think the military with their Billions and Billions can afford something that would significantly improve the moral and good will of the troops.
      • 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:MS & Google (Score:3, Interesting)

          by DerekLyons (302214)

          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 assum

      • The problem is pipe (Score:3, Interesting)

        by The Tyro (247333)
        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 to
    • Re:MS & Google (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tony-A (29931)
      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.

      That Microsoft would even consider doing any such thing.
      Consider how safe your data is in a Microsoft proprietary format.
    • 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 stupi

    • Re:MS & Google (Score:3, Interesting)

      by darkmeridian (119044)
      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?
  • Mountains (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jhawkeye83 (615484) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:21AM (#9483362) Homepage
    Mountains out of mole hiles. It's just a spam filter blocking bot mail.
    • 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 ezzzD55J (697465) <slashdot5@scum.org> on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:21AM (#9483365) Homepage
    Please note: I've not been able to verify this one way or another.
    Did anyone expect you to ;) ?
  • by Richard_at_work (517087) * <richardprice.gmail@com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:21AM (#9483369)
    I just tested to three hotmail accounts, invites and standard emails get through fine. Not sure about yahoo tho.
  • Really? (Score:4, Informative)

    by asveepay (323579) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:21AM (#9483371)
    I've invited two people on their Hotmail accounts, and both received the emails just fine.
  • Honestly... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:21AM (#9483373) Homepage Journal
    ... if I were a spam filter, I would have seen the gmail email as spam too... I mean LOOK at it.
  • A New Era? (Score:4, Funny)

    by illuminata (668963) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:21AM (#9483376) Journal
    Please note: I've not been able to verify this one way or another.

    Are the editors finally trying to verify things around here?

    If that's the case, I commend them.
  • testing 1,2,3 (Score:3, Informative)

    by jdallien (564954) * on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:23AM (#9483389)
    To test, I sent two messages from GMail: one directly to my Hotmail account and one which I only CC'ed to my Hotmail account. The CC'd message arrived immediately but the direct message (sent first) arrived about 5 minutes later.
  • I did receive one (Score:4, Informative)

    by DJ Rubbie (621940) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:24AM (#9483395) Homepage Journal
    I have an hotmail account, and my cousin was able to send me a Gmail invite to that account a week ago. Perhaps the situation changed, I don't know.
  • Bullshit. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dark Lord Seth (584963) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:24AM (#9483399) Journal

    Just sent my hotmail account a mail from my gmail account. The message didn't bounce and arrived in my hotmail account just fine.

    So at least hotmail isn't using dirty tactics.

  • It's possible that the blocking is happening because of some poor sap's unfortunate legal name. He might actually be named "Instant Winner", or "Free Vacation". Crazy hippies.
  • 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 jrand (539209) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:30AM (#9483461)
    I invited someone with a hotmail address about a week ago, and they accepted with no problem. So unless they've suddenly changed their policy after the first several thousand invites went out, this is an isolated email problem reported on one person's weblog. Spam filters moving the invite into a bulk mail folder is to be expected - it is an automatically generated email sent out in bulk, after all.
  • Blog crap (Score:5, Informative)

    by JohnGrahamCumming (684871) * <(slashdot) (at) (jgc.org)> on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:32AM (#9483477) Homepage Journal
    So the core of this Slashdot "article" is some posting on one guy's blog about losing a invitation he sent to his girlfriend. And that's been extrapolated into "Hotmail blocks Gmail".

    If you read the blog article the writer blows all credibility when he reveals that someone just told him about the "Sent Folder":

    Update: Thanks to everyone telling me to check the Sent folder. I can at least retrieve the invites now.

    When are people going to realize that blogs are the equivalent of public urination on the web. People post stream of consciousness bullshit dressed up as "information" or even "facts" and because it's on a blog, well then, it must be true.

    John.
    • by black mariah (654971) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:43AM (#9483598)
      blogs are the equivalent of public urination on the web
      You've managed to put into words the things I've been feeling for years. *sniff* I love you, man! *CRIES*
    • When are people going to realize that blogs are the equivalent of public urination on the web.

      That would explain the spotty coverage.
    • by Tom7 (102298)
      Your mistake is believing that Slashdot posting the story somehow elevates its fact status. If blogs are public urination, Slashdot is public urination from a big, incontinent man with polyuria.
  • by 404 Clue Not Found (763556) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:34AM (#9483501)
    I got an gmail invite sent to my Hotmail account the other day. I couldn't see it in my inbox, so what did I do? Went to the Bulk Mail folder, and there it was.

    The lesson is simple: Hotmail's spam filter sucks. Legitimate mail gets tagged as spam all the time, and real spam gets through to the inbox even more often.

    It's not some great anti-gmail conspiracy, just another sensationalist Slashdot story.
    • by rnews (303295) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:05AM (#9483838)
      Wait a minute. You said it was in your bulk folder. Then you start talking about spam. But Hotmail didn't call it spam.

      The invite was certainly bulk. It arrived as a part of a large number of substantively identical email messages. Like with posts to properly run mailing lists and other legitimate bulk email, your invite was solicited, so your copy wasn't spam.

      Note that bulkiness is measurable. Simply count messages that match fuzzy checksums.

      Spamminess, on the other hand, is far harder to measure, as it depends on the users' sometimes erroneous recollections of whether they solicited the bulk messages.

      But Hotmail didn't call it spam. They called it bulk. That sounds quite proper and accurate to me.
  • by orthogonal (588627) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:37AM (#9483527) Journal
    It's already well-documented that Yahoo moves Gmail invites into the Bulk Mail folder. I've personally confirmed the Hotmail and Yahoo blocking.

    Much as I enjoy wearing my tinfoil hat, I think it can be dispensed with here.

    Both Hotmail and Yahoo mail have been plagued with spam, and with users demanding they do something about that spam. Indeed, that's one reason people are interested in GMail.

    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.

    So a decent first cut at filtering bulk spam (and recall that both Yahoo and Hotmail use "bulk mail" folders) would be to take an MD5 sum of each email (not including the "To" address header lines, of course), stick the sum in hash table or other database, and increment a counter for each email with that MD5 sum. Once the counter reached some arbitrary large-ish number, you'd mark all copies of that emails spam.

    Since the GMial invite varies slightly, it's clear that something fuzzier than an MD5 sum is being used, but the principle remains the same.

    The first N GMail invites weren't marked as "bulk email"; after the counter threshold was reached, all the rest have been.

    So all we've learned from this is that, even during this invite-only beta test, GMail must be sending out a hell of a lot of invites, and that, yes indeed, Hotmail and Yahoo customers demanded and got "bulk email" filtering.

    So take off the tinfoil hats -- you'll have a real reason to wear them soon enough [usdoj.gov].
    • 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.
  • Gmail invite (Score:5, Informative)

    by Dracolytch (714699) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:41AM (#9483576) Homepage
    A Gmail invite came to my Yahoo account just fine.

    Just so y'all know: I used http://www.gmailswap.com to get the invite. Thanks guys!

    ~D
  • by sammyo (166904) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:42AM (#9483586) Journal
    Very funny in a warped sort of way. If email begins to fail regularly, this may be the straw that brings in full goverment regulation and all the blessings and other stuff that entails...

    Remember at the dawn of the electrical age there were competing companies with many different voltages, made for exciting interoperability issues. Goverment regulation could be a blessing.

  • 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.
    • Re:Yep. It's true. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by randyest (589159)
      Hmm, yours is the only post I saw (I'm reading at +1) supporting the rumor. Yet I count 12 posts above yours claiming that invites made it to Hotmail (and the desired user) without problem. One of the 12 said the invite went to bulk mail due to the spam filter, but it didn't "disappear into the ether." All others claim that both emails from gmail accounts and invites were not blocked, lost, torn, mutilated, or otherwise hindered by Hotmail.

      So, that's interesting. Was it only the invite that was "los
    • Needless to say, I'll be ditching Hotmail within 24 hours. This makes me incredibly angry.

      HULK SMASH PUNY HOTMAIL ACCOUNT!!
      RAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHH!!!

      whatever...

  • account and I am able to forward back and forth without problems. I'd like to see some independent verification of this.
  • 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.
  • by Linuxathome (242573) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:52AM (#9483695) Homepage Journal
    Quick, someone send me a gmail invite to my email at : gmailme ATT linuxathome DOTT c o m. I'll forward it to my yahoo and hotmail account and will post the results here. Okay, okay, this is a desperate attempt to get a gmail invite, but it's worth a try right?
  • Clever ... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mostly a lurker (634878) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:56AM (#9483746)
    Someone has found a way to make lots of ./ers admit to using Hotmail.
  • 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.
  • Suddenly... (Score:5, Funny)

    by vinlud (230623) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:08AM (#9483870)
    ...half of Slashdots userbase appears to have a Hotmail address??
  • 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.
  • by enrico_suave (179651) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:23AM (#9484013) Homepage
    I sent my wife a gmail invite to her hotmail account... and she accepted it/got the msg no problem...

    i just sent a message from gmail to my hotmail and it was recieved... ?

    I love a good conspiracy, but we might have rattled our tinfoil swords prematurely on this one...

    e.
  • 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.
  • Orkut (Score:3, Informative)

    by CGP314 (672613) <CGP@ColinGregory ... t minus caffeine> on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:04AM (#9484424) Homepage
    Hotmail had this same problem with Orkut's invites a while back.
  • And as such most of his relatives have gmail accounts. I just photographed his sister's wedding; we've been using the gmail to send the large images back and forth (about 4mb to 6mb each).

    Every email from gmail to me gets bounced or delayed for up to 4 days (gmail->hotmail). Any email from anyone else, goes in just fine.

    Any email from hotmail->gmail, delayed. Any email using a relay such as my rr.com one, goes in just fine.

    Conclusion: Hotmail is dicking with my emails and REALLY pissing me off.
  • by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrun@ g m a i l . com> on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:39AM (#9484793) Journal

    Maybe this was on Tuesday or Wedensday of last week, when there was akamai and hotmail issues? "Oh, he's not getting my email, so Hotmail must be blocking Gmail."

  • by JamieF (16832) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:28PM (#9486698) Homepage
    because I got an invite yesterday and Mozilla's Junk Mail filter tagged it as spam.

    SpamAssassin didn't, though, which proves that those scheming bastards obviously rigged Mozilla 1.7 so that it would filter gmail invitations. There's no other explanation, right?

    It couldn't be because the invitation email looks a lot like spam...?

    Nah.

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