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Hotmail Blocks Gmail Emails (and Invites) 894

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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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Re:Stunning (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) <> 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:MS & Google (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Hassman ( 320786 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:31AM (#9483473) Journal
    Ya, this might be the case if the story was actually true.

    Unfortunatly, you interesting comment has gone to waste. :(

    Sorry man.
  • 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.
  • Re:MS & Google (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dinivin ( 444905 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:36AM (#9483517)
    The act of arbitrary email delivery, to suit corporate needs over the needs of their clients, does transgress the law, one way or another.

    Then can you cite a legal case to back this statement up?

  • Re:MS & Google (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Short Circuit ( 52384 ) <> on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:37AM (#9483525) Homepage Journal
    But if you extend that law, you'll give protection to spammers as well. At that point, only client-side solutions would work.
  • 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:MS & Google (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tony-A ( 29931 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:39AM (#9483548)
    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.
  • by kalpol ( 714519 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:41AM (#9483569)
    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.
  • 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.

  • Re:Stunning (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:47AM (#9483632)
    Hahaha. You say if he read the post but you obviously didn't. It says several times emails and invites. Heck the heading itself says emails and then invites in parantheses.
  • Re:Honestly... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by endx7 ( 706884 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @09:52AM (#9483694) Homepage Journal
    Hotmail doesn't think most of the "Someone has a crush on you!" spams are spams anyway.

    The only way you win for that is by turning the "if not in address book it's spam" spam filter on.
  • 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.
  • Re:MS & Google (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NighthawkFoo ( 16928 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:06AM (#9483852)
    This is good stuff - I wish I had mod points.
  • Re:Yep. It's true. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by randyest ( 589159 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:09AM (#9483879) Homepage
    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 "lost" or regular emails from gmail users too?
  • Re:Stunning (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Errtu76 ( 776778 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:11AM (#9483892) Journal
    more likely is that they're blocking gmails because it might become more populair than their own services.

    If GMail is blocked by alot of providers, how many users will want to sign up?
  • 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:1, Insightful)

    by I_Want_This_ID ( 678839 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:41AM (#9484191)
    I've had 5 different "Real" email accounts since 1998. I've had ONE Yahoo email account since 1998.

    I kind of like the option of NOT having to change my email account (and notify everyone of the change) just because I change my frickin' ISP.

    When I can afford to have hosting set up for myself on my own domain, then I'll move my "Fake" email to my own personally hosted email.

    Is this that hard to understand?

  • Re:Stunning (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zhenlin ( 722930 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:49AM (#9484280)
    I just recieved a GMail invitation this afternoon... But I also have GMail on my whitelist. So I can't confirm or deny it.
  • Re:Stunning (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KingPrad ( 518495 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @10:59AM (#9484372)
    Yahoo is not a second-rate email service. It is the fastest and most reliable service I've found, and I've been on a dozen different ISPs and two different colleges. All of their email servers were come-and-go. Pop3 was hit or miss and the webmail was slow as molasses. Yahoo's webmail is snappy and has a clean interface. And their pop3 access (which I pay for) is reliable and fast.
  • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <> 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 dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <> 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 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,", 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 and I had already dropped that account -- there was too much spam to sort through.
  • Re:Stunning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShortSpecialBus ( 236232 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @11:23AM (#9484592) Homepage
    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!

    Yes, but your city council does not put the "No Solicitors" sign on your door for you, and give you no option to remove it if you happen to enjoy solicitors.
  • 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:5, Insightful)

    by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <> 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:2, Insightful)

    by stiffneck ( 785847 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @12:18PM (#9485254)
    Not really. When you graduate from college, or change ISPs, or change companies, you'd be lucky if they'll let you keep your old email address, even if it just forwards all messages to your new address.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:41PM (#9486221)
    a lot of spammers just try random addresses at a domain. We had one that would try a@, b@,c@...aaaaaaa@,bbbbbbbb@,cccccccc@, etc. Our server was smart enough to reply back as everything invalid after the same IP started connecting and trying the addresses constantly, but also, some try just common jsmith@domain.tld and, etc to harvest addresses.

    So they may not have sold your e-mail address.
  • Re:Stunning (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pvt_medic ( 715692 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @01:58PM (#9486376)
    yes privacy, because yahoo on the bottom of there pages says it collects personal info, but they do it for a good reason i bet and google doesnt
  • Re:Mountains (Score:5, Insightful)

    by way2trivial ( 601132 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @02:07PM (#9486473) Homepage Journal
    or, yahoo is specifically looking for the whole body of another email it's looked at too many times.

    it may not be that 'it's gmail invite' but that it's 'identicle to other mail'

  • 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...?

  • by commodoresloat ( 172735 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:04PM (#9487174)
    As if hotmail and yahoo are in any position to point the finger at anyone for privacy issues!
  • by cloudmaster ( 10662 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @03:38PM (#9487615) Homepage Journal
    The Bulk Mail filters *surely* don't read the content of any messages and aggregate the results for later analysis, right? ;)
  • Care to cite? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) on Monday June 21, 2004 @04:54PM (#9488576)
    I know this is Slashdot, where random blog posts are submitted and become fact simply because they bash Microsoft in some way (even though it's turned out that it's completely false), but do you care to cite who this mysterious, unnamed "third-party" is?

    I get e-mail about Linux all the time, and it's never, ever sent to the Junk Mail folder. It's cool to pull random facts out of our asses, but perhaps we should take the time to step back and see how foolish it makes this community look? This article is completely false, and it's hilarious to see all the people giving their prepared lectures "Well, what would you expect from Microsoft? Blah blah blah."
  • Re:Stunning (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dasmegabyte ( 267018 ) <> on Tuesday June 22, 2004 @01:28AM (#9492213) Homepage Journal
    Well, for god's sake turn off your spam filter. Because that shit is reading your email and generating keyword lists etc. It's profiling your email! Why, the whitelist on your Bayesian filter is FULL of shit you like to talk about. Just think if the cops got ahold of that one!

10.0 times 0.1 is hardly ever 1.0.