Hotmail Fails To Deliver Up To 81% Of All Attachment Emails

If Intent Can Be Proven, Microsoft Could Face Millions Of Mail Fraud Charges

Microsoft's market capitalization is approximately $300 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 227 years. To put it another way, it's a pile of stacked $100 bills 10 feet wide, 24 feet deep and 38 stories high.

You would think that someone in Redmond, Washington 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 Microsoft users not since the launch of Vista, not since the launch of XP, not since the launch of Win 2000, not since the launch of ME, but since before the launch of Windows 98?

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Haha, you say! What bug could possibly have survived Microsoft's insecticide for so long? Since Microsoft took over Hotmail in January 1998, almost a full decade ago, Hotmail users have decried the loss of attachment emails. For the uninitiated, here's how it works.

Whether you are:

- Sending from a Hotmail account to another Hotmail or any other email address


- Receiving from another Hotmail account or any other email address to your Hotmail account will lose many of your attachments. The emails simply vanish in transit. No mailer daemon, no bounces, no nothing. Gone like Bill Gates' sex appeal.

Microsoft has forever denied this. Hotmail's delivery statistics are next to perfect and there is no discrimination against attachments, they've said for almost a decade. And for almost a decade they have been making millions of Gigabytes of documents, spreadsheets and photos of grandma's quilts disappear.

On the heels of my controversial Mac Plus Beats AMD Dual Core Test which raised quite a ruckus around the Internet, I figured it was time to drag Hotmail kicking and screaming into the secret laboratory and concoct a perfectly fair test that it was up to Hotmail to succeed at or fail.

I created one hundred emails. Each one had a different attachment. They were all .txt, .rtf, .doc, .jpg, .xls, or .ppt and of random sizes, the smallest being a 6K .txt and the largest a 1.9MB .ppt.

These one hundred emails were split up into five groups of twenty each.

Two different Hotmail accounts were used, let's call them Hotmail-1 and Hotmail-2.

Two different "generic" ISPs email accounts were used in different locations on different servers, again, ISP-1 and ISP-2. To make it perfectly fair, ISP-1 was a Canadian provider in Ontario and ISP-2 an American provider in California.

To allow for different traffic patterns, these times were chosen for the testing, all times Eastern.

9 am Thursday

Noon Friday

3 pm Saturday

6 pm Sunday

9 pm Monday

Five different originating computers were used, one for each day. Each PC was linked to the net via a different ISP, so five different ISPs were used in total to send and receive the files.

Each day, I would log onto Hotmail-1 and send/receive that day's twenty emails to Hotmail-2, ISP-1 and ISP-2. Then I would log onto Hotmail-2 and send/receive that day's twenty emails to Hotmail-1, ISP-1 and ISP-2. Then I would log onto ISP-1 and send/receive that day's twenty emails to ISP-2, Hotmail-1 and Hotmail-2. And finally I would log onto ISP-2 and send/receive that day's twenty emails to ISP-1, Hotmail-1 and Hotmail-2. Only the relevant web interfaces were used, no email clients as Outlook, Thunderbird, etc.

This schedule was determined to make it as fair as possible. There is no way that the delivery or lack thereof was caused by a particular ISP, as we used five completely independent ones from five locations. Neither could it be said that we only sent during peak times as we spread out our sends across five days and at various times of the day. Each email was sent separately, no ccs or bccs. The test was devised to be as unbiased as possible. Either the emails would be delivered or they wouldn't.

Each email was given 48 hours for delivery. If it was not delivered in that time then it was considered Vanished. Interestingly only one email fell into this group, being delivered after 72 hours from Hotmail-2 to ISP-1.

The final results bore out the "conventional wisdom." If emails were donuts, Hotmail would be HomerSimpsonMail. I don't need to reiterate the figures, there they are in blue and red. But for a Hotmail account to destroy up to 81% of all emails with attachments prior to their delivery to a "generic" ISP email account is nothing short of absurd, as these Hotmail accounts were not the free variety, but the fully paid ones. Compare those figures to the ones where the generic ISP email accounts exchanged emails with attachments and you will clearly see the difference. The worst performance was in making 2% Vanish.

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.

Hotmail is no longer a free only service where you get what you pay for. There is simply no excuse for ripping off users who have paid a significant fee to obtain the reliability and confidence which the Microsoft brand should deliver. Either that, or it may be time to ask the DOJ to step in and investigate what could be a multi-billion dollar scam.


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Comments 205 comments

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asktheadmin 9 years ago

Great experiment even greater post! It was something i had long suspected but never quite put my finger on. Keep up the great posts from your friends @

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Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks for the props! I'm glad that you share my experiences!

Alp 9 years ago

That is just... Incredible.

Personally my hotmail account is what gets used to sign up for any web site or anything that needs a registration that I dont really care about, so all the spam can go there instead of my home address. I do know people that use it as their main account though, and this is just shocking.

smeee 9 years ago

it would have been interesting to add 2 gmail and 2 yahoo email accounts into this experiment. thanks for doing this test

Research First 9 years ago

Before you write (let alone publish) an article as worthless and retarded as this one, maybe you should take some time to do some research and get half a clue first?

Email has NEVER been subject to the laws that govern the post office, I don't care WHAT (developed) country you're in. In both Canada and the US, for example, private computer networks are deemed the property of their owners and all contents of such networks are similiarly ascribed. It is generally held that as the owners of both the systems AND the data on them, the owners are free to do whatever they want to with it, including reading, copying, deleting, modifying etc. Your comment about mail fraud would be hysterical, if it wasn't so sadly indicative of your lack of actual knowledge about a subject you're trying to appear authoritative on.

matt 9 years ago

re:research first = shill

they do indeed not guarantee delivery most likely but this is quite serious, and is mail fraud if things aren't sent without failure of delivery notification.

Whinge Second 9 years ago

OK, so maybe his email fraud comment was wrong, but that doesn't disprove his experiment ... Hotmail sucks and it is there in black and white ... you have to at least give him credit for taking the time to show it.

Ishboo 9 years ago

Really eye opening! Thanks! Even if it isn't mail fraud like the guy up there said I still think the was a great idea and great data, hopefully soemthing will be done about this. It would be interesting to see how yahoo and gmail stack up.

Bryan 9 years ago

Nice effort -- don't worry about the loving people who scream about there not being any legal issues. Of course there aren't any legal issues that govern e-mail -- governments don't work that fast. Thankfully, generally categories like business fraud tend to cover such things.

In any event, a nice amount of work, and thank you for doing, and publicizing, it. I really hope that it isn't true. There are oh so many things Microsoft that I adore. Thankfully, hotmail isn't one of them -- I'll provide my own e-mail thank you very much.

lol? 9 years ago

Post above is a bit harsh but right - can't really do them on mail fraud, but microsoft should be providing the service people are paying for (which by your results they aren't). I've got no idea what they would be liable for but it should be looked into further..

asdk 9 years ago

So, to make sure that we understand these comments:

1. The files you attached were _real_ files? That is, a real jpg and a real ppt?

2. These files were not caught by spam filters? I presume you have also turned OFF hotmail and ISP spam filters?

You should post up the files that you 'tested' with so that independent 3rd parties can verify your story....otherwise it's all just hot, un scientifically proven, air.

Research This 9 years ago

Research First, what a twerpy little pedant you must be. :)

The article headline says nothing about mail fraud, only that Hotmail fails to deliver 81% of attachments. I very much doubt anyone reading your comically overwrought posting will be convinced in the way you intended, as much as they'll scratch their heads at your demonstrably poor reading comprehension.

jb 9 years ago

I use my hotmail account to send files to and from my business email account on a daily basis. I would guess that I have perhaps a 1-2% failure rate. My own personal experience makes me wonder whether this article is actually based on any real facts. Any hotmail users want to weigh in?

Foo Bar 9 years ago

Is it possible that hotmail folks are just incompetent? They might have just Forrest Gumped their way into sending the mails with attachments. If this were the case, you should thank your stars that you had some results to boot. :)

Bill 9 years ago

Did you check your spam folder? Especially for incoming mail, it could have ended up there, but it's also possible that the mail you sent from Hotmail to other ISPs ended up in your spam filters _there_ - free email providers are traditional sources of spam, and mail with attachments from free email providers is often spam.

Thomas 9 years ago

Never had any problems with sending and receiving attachments. Can not verify this accusation.

Joe 9 years ago

How do you know that these messages weren't deleted because hotmail decided they were spam? What spam settings did you use, and were the jpegs, for eaxmple, real jpegs or ones that an aggressive spam filter might decide need to be nuked? Were they deleted because they were from an account that microsoft, because of the settings, decided were spammers and so blocked subsequent ones? I've been using hotmail from 6 months or so after launch, way before microsoft bought them, and the only times I've experience missing emails, its always been spam filter settings.

Its simply not credible that dropping 80% of messages wouldn't get noticed by everyone, do you really think the majority of users are not getting 4 in 5 of their messages and dont know that? And how come that doesn't apply to me, do microsoft do something special when I get sent an email, becase I certainly get more than 1 in 5, more like 99 in 100.

Siobhan 9 years ago

This is interesting. Once upon a time I didn't loose any e-mail. these days I have spurts where I know e-mail is not arriving. It has got so bad I now have to tell people to e-mail me @work. I'm actually thinking of changing my e-mail account, which I've had since 1996. Thinking, becuase loosing your e-mail account is as bad as loosing or changing your phone number. Maybe they should have a law to force e-mail companies to enable you to take an address with you, just like a mobile phone number!

Rickie Stallman 9 years ago

This is first-rate FUD! Amazing what one can do with a blog and bad grammar. Say asshat, did you perchance manage to check your spam folder after you were done with your scientific study? May I suggest you do? That would be great. You might be surprised! Surprised I say!

Oh, and thanks a lot for giving the world yet another reason to laugh at the FLOSS community!

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Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Hello, all! There are a lot of comments, so I'll just address the ones where I can submit something constructive to the conversation.

1) I thought to add at least gmail, but I didn't want the results to get weighed down with too much repetitive data. If I had just added one more email account, it would have resulted in several more charts, and I have no reason to believe that gmail, yahoo or any other major email service would perform any differently. Yes, it would be a logical next step to test at least 10 major email services for a really exhaustive evaluation, but that would take a considerable investment of time and resources that I simply can't bankroll.

2) I am not a lawyer. However:

MAIL FRAUD - 18 U.S.C. 1341, makes it a Federal crime or offense for anyone to use the United States mails in carrying out a scheme to defraud. A person can be found guilty of that offense only if all of the following facts are proved: First: That the person knowingly and willfully devised a scheme to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false pretenses, representations or promises...

The courts apparently have upheld that a basically identical statute applies to electronic forms of mailing as a transmission medium. Therefore my statement applies to Microsoft if it can be proven that they willfully implemented a policy to delete attachments on this vast scale. I doubt it would stick with the free Hotmail accounts, but when you pay cash for a product/service and it is not provided as advertised, the law is definitely on your side. Whether the product/service is a shoe or a watch or an email account is irrelevant.

3) The files attached were completely normal files in every respect. I just made them up at random in the formats specified. For instance I created spreadsheets, copied and pasted some random figures in them and saved them, etc. I have no problem FTPing the 100 files to a site for independent verification, although I am not real clear as to what purpose that would serve. A file is a file. Why would hotmail be able to determine that the figures in my spreadsheet were random instead of a checkbook balancing exercise? Even the jpgs were just random snapshots and not X-rated or messed with in any way. Yes, all spam/junk filters were 100% off, and the files were not delivered to junk folders, etc. That was thoroughly confirmed.

4) It is expected that whenever anyone announces on the internet that the sun sets in the west, there are going to be people who hoot and holler LIAR. I have no intention of engaging in debates on that basis. The tests were performed. The results are here. If you don't believe it, then it's your problem, not mine. Anyone is more than welcome and completely to do any test they want and report the results on their own blogs. It's a free countr(ies). :)

9 years ago

I think to justify these results, which isn't to say they are justified, but just to add even more weight to the research, it would be interesting to use other web-based mail clients as well. Not that i like defending Microsoft, but ISPs and web-mail work a little differently, I would think, and perhaps this is a problem with web-mail in general. Also, a larger sample, which implies more results will be generated, generally means more reliable and valid data. I don't think the evidence is incontrovertible, but I do believe its a pretty good starting point and certainly worthy of further investigation.

Magnus 9 years ago

I've been using hotmail since the mid 90's, though recently only for spam and such, and in recent times I have also experienced emails that I'd sent from my other accounts to my hotmail to have gone missing inexplicably from time to time, though I probably wouldn't concede to 80%.

I don't know if this was due to attatchments as the author claims, but I will certainly keep an open eye out for the problem in the future, and not just keep chucking it up to random acts of improbability.. : )

JDogg 9 years ago

I have used hotmail for a while for a drop for database backups (tgz files) - about a year or so. All the emails have made it to the hotmail inbox. I never had any missing files. I don't think that this article is legit based on my own experience with Hotmail.

Why does the market capitalization of MSFT have anything to do with email delivery?

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Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

"Why does the market capitalization of MSFT have anything to do with email delivery?"

Maybe because it follows that if they have that much money, they could certainly afford the bandwidth and storage instead of failing to deliver promised services to their paying clients? ;)

Simon 9 years ago

OK, I've had a Hotmail account since around 1997 or so, and I've NEVER had this happen to me, EVERY email I send with or without an attachment reaches it or gets to me from it.

I will 90% guarantee that if it isn't some weird thing you're doing in your testing that these things are being culled due to being virus threats. It probably doesn't matter if you do have your spam settings on or off, if you're sending emails with random contents (what did you put as the body of the email? Random stuff? Nothing?) then it's more than likely being marked as seriously likely to be spam/virus and being blocked. The fact that you sent 20 emails in a hit from the one place would help to make it think so.

Also, I find it wonderful that your article states '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.' with nothing to back that up at all. I've never thought that, heard that or known anyone to think that... back that statement up too.

I'm no MS fanboiy, I only use my Hotmail account for signing up to things these days, but MAN, this was a poorly created article.

csubi 9 years ago

80% seems a lot, but there is some truth in missing emails - I also had emails disappearing (never arriving) with .jpg files attached. What I have found out that if you send an email with say, 6MB attached, from an account authorizing attachments up to 10MB, it will silently disappear - it will not be delivered but you won't get a notification neither. Possible reason: hotmail has a max attachment limit of 5MB (as of present)

James 9 years ago

The masses are incompetent. Microsoft sells to the masses. Are you part of the masses? Do you use Microsoft anything? If so, your part of the problem.

Solution? Stop using Microsoft solutions! Academics aren't the "life-long" learners even though they love to preach and promote life-long learning. All people who love learning are hackers, and as far as I have seen they do not mix and mingle. Those who are academic in nature preach education, and in doing so the system breeds incompetence.

If you are a hacker you will investigate, test, and error. You will learn how to use the various search engines to do "advanced" searches. You will use free software when you discover and learn of its existence. Free software is software that you can copy, modify, and redistribute. You may not be able to do so, but it is the learning that makes you competent and a hacker. Solutions such as OpenOffice, Firefox, Thunderbird, Gimp, Pidgin, are all good examples of free software. These are the tools of hackers. Hacking is the joy of learning.

JDogg 9 years ago

Market Capitalization != Money in the Bank.

A User 9 years ago

I have been using hotmail for years and I have never had this happen with any attachments. This sounds like cheap FUD to me.

I use Hotmail to move files around every day.

Hmm 9 years ago

It might possibly be the fact that you sent and received a large amount of email in a short period of time, all from the same addresses, and MS may have blocked activity like this to prevent spammers. Were the email addresses that you were receiving mail from on your 'safe' list? That could be another factor. And did the first few go through, but then subsequent emails were blocked? I too have not received emails that I should have, or have gotten them days late. But still, 80% seems enormous and would have been noticed much sooner than this. There's got to be a variable that has skewed this a little bit.

reader 9 years ago

Just to let you know that you are about to be visited by the slashdot crowd.

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Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Each email had a random but not spammy subject and the body had a couple of lines of type that were just copied and pasted from here and there. There were no instances of BuY ViAgRa NoW or anything that would trigger any form of spam filter in the subject line, the body text or the attachments. Unless for some reason Hotmail would decide that a photo of my cat is to be filtered!

Every possible factor, safe list, junk folder, spam filter, etc. was examined and ensured that it could not be the cause of non-delivery.

There was no noticeable surge in non-delivery at the end of the test. The numbers were more or less constant throughout. Once again, it would be wonderful to have the money and time to be able to multiply the factors of this test at least tenfold, add in gmail, aol, etc. I could only do what I could do! :)

For the record, the first conversation I had about Hotmail's nondelivery of attachments was when I was working for a company in 2001 and we sent out quite a few emails to associates, all with the same attachment. Not one attachment was delivered to anyone with a Hotmail account. That caused considerable consternation for the company, as you can imagine.

Jo Summertime 9 years ago

While the numbers are too small to draw a solid statistical conclusion, for arguments sake lets say that these same results occurred with a larger set of emails.When grouping like scores there is a very low standard deviation(scores deviate less than 10% despite being such low numbers where larger percentage deviation is very likely.) Alike scores occur consistently when hotmail is used in a similar fashion, that is:1.) When sending an attachment through hotmail - 76% average loss(interestingly when you send and receive attachments through hotmail the loss average is still 76%)2.) When receiving an attachment through hotmail - 62% average lossThis implies that the scores are not random but rather the result of a pattern/logic/algorithm. If this was a larger data set the conclusion would be: There is a roughly 3/4 chance your email won't get delivered if it contains an attachment and it was sent using hotmail.There is roughly a 2/3 chance that the attachment you're sending to a hotmail account will not arrive there.There is roughly a 1/1 chance that your email would be delivered if it does not involve the hotmail email system.

9 years ago

I've had a Hotamil account for almost a decade now, and I've never had one of my emails disappear like this. It's far more likely that there is another factor left out of the equation. It might be more plausible if the emails were sent over a longer time period...

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Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Interesting stat analysis, Jo. Thanks. :)

R, a longer time period than at different hours over five days? Does it not follow that this would be a rather typical pattern of an individual emailer?

9 years ago

By your logic, using any kind of spam filter or blacklist by an ISP would constitute mail fraud.

Fat chance.

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Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

e: By my logic, as you say, if a provider of a service takes my cash and promises me a level of performance which they do not fulfill and it can be proven that the nonperformance was due not to random, unaccountable or unforseeable technical factors but due to a very specific algorithm which is proven in a court of law as being knowingly implemented to save the company from investing in many millions of dollars of infrastructure while cheating the paying customer out of a clear and predetermined promise, then I don't see why anyone would be able to convincingly argue that some aspect of 18 U.S.C. 1341 would not apply and that the company would not be liable.

Again, I'm not an attorney. I don't even play one on TV. :)

More complete 9 years ago

These results are clearly indicative of a problem, but it seems that there should have been some sort of control group of emails sans attachments in order to compare the failure rate. If there is a huge disparity between the failure rate of emails without atachments and failure rate of emils with them, then the problem will clearly be attachment related. If, on the other hand, the failure rate of emails without attachments is roughly as high, then that will serve to confirm something much deeper - that hotmail sucks in the general sense, and is good for absolutely nothing. Although this is something that I myself have suspected for some time, it would be wonderfully edifying to see this in print.

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Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

More complete: Absolutely correct. In retrospect a non-attachment email control test should have been conducted. I can only plead "lack of time and resources." Please keep in mind that I am a private, fully independent blogger. I am not financed by some journalistic megacorporation. To perform this test to 100% complete, statistically indisputable levels and covering all the major email providers would likely take weeks of time and a much greater collection of computers and ISPs, etc. If someone wants to pay me to take that much time off work, then fine! :)

However, what the test does prove, IMHO, is that there is a serious problem at Hotmail even through the restrictions of the methodology applied.

Jim  9 years ago

Quote: "By your logic, using any kind of spam filter or blacklist by an ISP would constitute mail fraud.

Fat chance."

The difference is this;

If I call up my ISP and ask if they offer spam filtering, they will say "Yes, we do sir! It's enabled by default.".. If I ask them to turn it off (or turn it off myself) it will be off.

If I call up Microsoft and ask if they offer spam filtering, they will say "Yes, we do sir! It's enabled by default.".. If I ask them to turn it off (or turn it off myself) they still filter my email, and deny it.

9 years ago

These days, it seems like just about every company goes out of their way to make sure that they make no promises at all. Usually, if you read their terms, they are happy to take your money and will explicitly tell you that they make absolutely no guarantees about anything. I doubt that Microsoft is an exception.

Bob Bax 9 years ago


MAIL FRAUD - 18 U.S.C. 1341, makes it a Federal crime or offense for anyone to use the United States mails in carrying out a scheme to defraud. A person can be found guilty of that offense only if all of the following facts are proved: First: That the person knowingly and willfully devised a scheme to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false pretenses, representations or promises...

Hotmail is not "the United States mails". Mail fraud laws apply to the USPS. What could possibly make you think these laws apply in any way to email? The wording is totally clear. Email is not "the United States mails". And Hotmail is certainly not governed by laws covering the USPS. I'm perfectly willing to believe that Hotmail is a buggy piece of shit, and can lose large volumes of email. I'd never use it for anything remotely important myself. But I'm sure there's not a damn thing you can do about it. Instead of posting meaningless passages from mail fraud laws, why not post the part of the Hotmail service agreement where it says they guarantee mail delivery? Good luck.

Per 9 years ago

To the naysayers tay say "i've NEVER lost mail in X years" I have one question.

How do you know that you've never lost any mail if it never reached you ? :)

earlpiggot 9 years ago

I think you shuold repeat the experiment using compressed (zip, rar) attachments, both encrypted and non-encrypted

idiotfeatures 9 years ago

This has to be the worst FUD ever. You IDIOT. I think your emails went in the bin because they all looked like spam.

You idiot.

Robcfg 9 years ago

I have a free hotmail account before it was even bought by Microsoft and it seems to work ok. But some months ago I created a free account for my mother and it loses almost all attachments.

Wether it's fraud or not, it's just bad service and a shame for a company that big.

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Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Bob Bax: I mentioned this earlier but it bears repeating. The application of 18 U.S.C. 1341 has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Hotmail is an email service. It deals with the manner in which the information is transmitted to the customer who then makes a purchasing decision based on inaccurate data.

Therefore, if I were to put a notice on this blog, stating that I would supply the product or service "Whatever" and you were to purchase and pay for that "Whatever" based on the information which you received from me, and then realize that I did not fulfill the terms that I had promised "Whatever" would do, that is mail fraud. Whether I stick a stamp on it or upload it in a manner where you can read it, makes no difference at all. Furthermore if "Whatever" is a stick of RAM, a stick of gum, or an email service makes no difference either. I transmit through some medium that I will sell you a "Whatever" containing 10 "Subwhatevers." You pay me. I physically ship to you or make accessible over the web (also makes no difference) the "Whatever." You find that once you receive it there are only 5 "Subwhatevers" and not the 10 promised. That. Is. Mail. Fraud. Period. I was told I'd get 10. I paid for 10. I got 5. That is a crime. Take it in front of any judge in the land and see.

If we want to be completely accurate we may just go back in these comments to edit 18 U.S.C. 1341 and replace it with 18 U.S.C. 1343.


From Fight Back With David Horowitz:

"18 U.S.C. 1343, defines those same activities as wire fraud when conducted by phone line, which includes computer e-mail. And the penalties are exactly the same -- $1,000 fine and/or five years in prison for each posting or upload."



"a contract is unenforceable if it violates the common law statute of frauds or equivalent state statutes"


Therefore, when the Windows Live Hotmail TOS states:


16.  LIABILITY LIMITATION. You can recover from the Microsoft parties only direct damages up to an amount equal to your service fee for one month.  You cannot recover any other damages, including consequential, lost profits, special, indirect, incidental or punitive damages.This limitation applies to anything related to:the service, content (including code) on third party Internet sites, third party programs or third party conduct, viruses or other disabling features that affect your access to or use of the service, incompatibility between the service and other services, software and hardware, delays or failures you may have in initiating, conducting or completing any transmissions or transactions in connection with the service in an accurate or timely manner, and claims for breach of contract, breach of warranty, guarantee or condition, strict liability, negligence, or other tort.It also applies even if:this remedy does not fully compensate you for any losses, or fails of its essential purpose; or Microsoft knew or should have known about the possibility of the damages.


That is all very carefully worded boilerplate that would get blown away in any court in five minutes. The law does not grant me the right to, on my "Whatever" website state:

"Whatever Corp. reserves the right to not deliver what it has promised and what you have paid for."

Actually, I can state it, but it's completely irrelevant as it "violates the common law statute."

Again, I am not an attorney. But I strongly doubt that any attorney would fundamentally argue against these points as they are common sense. The law exists to protect consumers from being defrauded. That's the bottom line. If you have any doubts on that you can ask Conrad Black or any of his cronies.

Hangman 9 years ago

I don't really care if your attachments turn up missing, shouting until you're blue in the face still won't make them arrive.  In fact, I don't care if you use Hotmail, because I know my attachments arrive to their destinations, because my non-Hotmail account is great at sending attachments to my non-Hotmail recipients.But if you really don't believe the posted information, conduct your own test.  It does reinforce my decision to leave Hotmail several years ago.

Neal 9 years ago

yep, i knew there was a reason i used gmail ;)

Science 9 years ago

Wait, you cannot execute any meaningful test because you are a private, fully independent blogger not financed by some journalistic megacorporation, so you decide to do some half-baked experiment and publish the results anyway .... Let me get out my checkbook so i can fund your future research!

Don't get me wrong, i think it must be very sad to be stupid, but i also strongly feel it should stay that way. The blogosphere is not really helping there though ...

Brian Norton 9 years ago

Is this really a problem? I've been using hotmail since before it was microsoft, (1996) and I've NEVER had an email mysteriously vanish, including several thousand with attachments. Your methodology is FAR more solid than the ridiculous mac-plus vs AMD Dual core fiasco, but I just haven't seen the same results. Anybody else?

Also, Hotmail is a free service, how is this a multi-billion dollar scam?

Also, AFAIK, email does not fall under postal lawl, but rather electronic communications like the telephone.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Dear Science. Since you are obviously a scientist, I'm certain that when your astrophysics research requires you to study a distant galaxy you just whip out your MasterCard and charge Hubble-II to it. The test was for 100 emails between 4 accounts. It is inescapably correct as it applies to those parameters. It would have been more accurate and representative if it was for 1,000 emails between 10 accounts. It would also have been more accurate for 1 million emails between 1,000 accounts. Better yet, why don't we just appropriate the entire freakin' internet, tag each email being sent and received from each of the world's 1.4 billion internet users and that way we can be absolutely correct to the nth degree? I performed a fair and unbiased test that was of sufficient statistical sampling to ensure integrity. Perhaps the margin of error is greater than 2%. Maybe it's 5%. Maybe it's 15%. But you can be damn sure it's not 100% wrong. The bottom line is very simple, and the results are shown in the charts.

Or didn't your gradeschool teacher show you how to read a pie chart? :)

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Hi, Brian Norton.

1) Hotmail offers a paid service, it is the service that was used for this test, and it's clearly specified above.

2) The Mac Plus vs. AMD Dual Core was covered on many major websites and blogs with an 80% favorable slant. The fiasco may be in your mirror. ;)

3) What part of:

If we want to be completely accurate we may just go back in these comments to edit 18 U.S.C. 1341 and replace it with 18 U.S.C. 1343. "18 U.S.C. 1343, defines those same activities as wire fraud when conducted by phone line, which includes computer e-mail. And the penalties are exactly the same -- $1,000 fine and/or five years in prison for each posting or upload."

was difficult to understand?  :)

Ihar Filipau 9 years ago

> How do you know that you've never lost any mail if it never reached you?


This is so true.

broandsonofpostalworkers 9 years ago

It's mail fraud if Hotmail has ever been advertised *via*snail*mail* to be an accurate delivery service. This is true, even if the service is, for example, car or TV repair, lawn mowing, prostitutes in WDC, etc. If you advertise a service via snail mail, and don't provide 80% of the service advertised, then your customers probly DO have a legitimate 'mail fraud' complaint. The complaint is based failure to deliver on the ads, not the specific emails lost. I think wire fraud works the same way.

Smapdi 9 years ago

"I use hotmail everyday" is not a statement to be proud of.

Someone Who Understands English 9 years ago


You are the one not understanding so quit bashing Brian Norton and read your own text. "Defines... as wire fraud." Wire fraud is not mail fraud. Hopping up and down and screaming at people does not make it mail fraud. The note just above about advertising via USPS could indeed pull it into that category but there is a difference between wire fraud and mail fraud and you inability to understand that doesn't help your position. (Which has problems overall.)

So--try understanding your own posting before accusing others of failing to do so. What you have put forth does not, that I can see, constitute mail fraud.

And yes, IAAL.

Jens 9 years ago

I wonder if spammers can sue based on this law as well. I mean if their correcspondance is diliberately filtered by E-Mail Service Providers.

mvs 9 years ago

I've operated a mailing list server for about 5 or 6 years now and have experienced various bouts of hotmail problems. Someone told me that individual hotmail accounts are located on specific servers which can be more or less flaky or congested.

A current issue with hotmail is their alleged insistence on SPF records in sender domains - lots of problems can be improved by having a valid SPF (or your ISP if it's an ISP email address).

As for the history, for quite a while after MS acquired hotmail, telnetting to their servers gave a ";login: " prompt - and their MTA announced itself as Sendmail. Next they edited these giveaways out, and finally they switched to hosting on their own OS. Then the problems really started...

psmith 9 years ago

Thanks for going to the trouble.

It was a nicely conducted experiment that had two results

1) It showed up some glaring shortcomings in Hotmail

2) It outed some of the many shills/trolls/astroturfers (and other nasties) that the MS Empire employs to hunt down unfavorable comment.


jonny 9 years ago

>> How do you know that you've never lost any mail if it never reached you?


>This is so true.

I think maybe someone would have noticed, if 80% where missing.But what do I know, its just me.

MaGaO 9 years ago

Hal, cool down. I'm certain it's no fun getting such fiery critics, but don't enter the same game. If someone is so sure your data is wrong, well... s/he may repeat the test. That's an important part of peer review: reproducibility. Anybody can run the same tests as you did, with more mails if desired, and publish the results. Opinions are just that, opinions (and there have been some opinionated comments here)

Chris 9 years ago

You should add a control case, adding an email with no attachment to your test list. Then you'd be able to tell if Hotmail is specifically targeting attachments, or if they are just poor at delivering all mail.

Bryan 9 years ago

Sorry, BS article. Could you post some references to hotmail users decrying the loss of attachments?

You seem to thrive on controversy - to each their own I guess.

Victor 9 years ago

They should really join hands with Yahoo! who has a very bad reputation at vanishing entire e-mails. Lots of them just don't get sent.

The article's nice, but what's with that reliability expected to be assured by the Microsoft brand. Did they ever build something reliable?

MS-DOS - unreliable

Windows 3.1 - unreliable

Windows 95 - useless

Windows 98 - barely usable

Windows Me - Horribly unreliable

Windows 2000 - A little better but sometimes refuses to boot

Windows XP - Quite usable but still really unreliable.

Windows Vista - Like who's going to try it.

Visual Studio - The most expensive unreliable piece of software

Windows live messenger - supposed to be good but it rarely works.

Total - All Microsoft software is unreliable

Rob W 9 years ago

Hello Hal,

Thank you for this test you have performed, as it adds a new direction for me to explore in chasing a 6 months+ investigation relating to "mail disappearing" - I am talking about 1000's of email, but not just to/from hotmail accounts :(

One thing I would like to ask is which OS/Web Browser/Email client you used for these tests? As I suspect that this could also explain why some people claiming to have *never* lost email have not experienced this problem? (OK, maybe a long shot, but I wouldn't put it past a certain convicted illegal monopolist, who purchased a brilliant webmail service, & turned it into an ad bloated/slow/unreliable mail system)

Seriously though, I think that the cause is more than likely some sort of spam filtering system that is in use that is ignoring the RFC's & not generating bounce messages for mail it's not happy about/doesn't want to deliver ;( - This in itself concerns me far more, as there is no way for legitimate email senders to know that their mail is being rejected (for whatever reason) - Sadly, the spammers are employing many technics to obfiscate their spam, making it very difficult for spam filters to identify beyond all doubt that a certain mail message is spam (To me, this makes it even more important for spam scanning systems to comply with rfc's & generate a bounce message, with some sort of indication of why they think the message is spam <sigh>)

The other possibility is this brain damaged service (read about it last week I think) which requires you to PAY per message to ensure it will be delivered (It could even be this service that is responsible for many mail system's breaking rfc's & not generating a bounce - who knows)

I do hope you actual get this message before your blog is flooded by the slahdot crowd :)



java hater 9 years ago

People who use hotmail are idiots and do not deserve to receive their messages in a timely manner, if ever!

Eric 9 years ago

I've had this problem a lot when sharing documents with partners in school. We found out that RAR files had about 100% delivery rate while DOC files and ZIP files where not reliable enough for team work. Gmail also have the ZIP file issue but since we discovered it with hotmail no one take chances anymore and RAR everything.

My personal idea on the subject is that it is made to prevent the spread of worm type virus since Office documents are very prone to this via VBA and all kind of automated stuff it can contain

Hotmail 9 years ago

I've used hotmail as my primary personal email for over five years. I've sent / received attachments with any problem. There are extensive spam filters and controls to prevent bullcrap exactly like what this user is doing - sending crap attachments repeatedly over and over.

There was a period of time a loong time ago when hotmail was nearly unusable due to spam. The measures they implemented to fix this work very well.

Balzak 9 years ago

I have been using Hotmail for years and I see this very thing. Emails with attachments are just outright lost. I have about a 50/50 chance of them getting through either out or in to my Hotmail account. I only use the web interface so other Email software's like Outlook and Thunderbird are out. Most attachments that I send are .doc or .zip files. I even have problems with paypal emails from ebay auction winners that are just lost and those don't contain an attachment at all. Those are far less in occurance but the attachments are definitely a problem. I do use the free Hotmail account so what can I expect.

matty 9 years ago

If my mail were just not being delivered I'd be kinda annoyed not getting a failure to deliv message...I mean sure, if its blocked or whatever is fine but eh. However, I would be curious as to the names of the files you used, what text was in the emails, etc that could have triggered warnings perhaps or something.

Martin Persson 9 years ago

Great article. I knew Hotmail sucked, but not this bad. A spam filter should not stop me from mailing documents to other people. These might have been business brochures that I wanted to mail to legit clients! It really shows that Hotmail is not the choice for a hacker; it's the choice for the average Joe whom won't use all the storage nor will ever change his usage pattern. If you deviate from the flock you will be punished.

Seriously people, Microsoft is the last people I'd trust with my email. Buy such services from a smaller company that won't screen all your correspondence to provide "customized user experience". And that doesn't mean Gmail ffs. Don't concentrate the information, don't concentrate the power.

Lee Collier 9 years ago

Re: the several people who've put this down to spam filters and the 'large number of emails' he sent:

These days 20 emails is not a 'large number', even if you multiply it by 3 because he sent each batch to 3 accounts. He then logged onto three other accounts and send the same number of emails back again. Imagine if this was a cyber cafe machine - 20 emails from 4 different accounts to 3 different accounts should not be triggering any spam filters.

Even if spam filters are being triggered, these are paid-for Hotmail accounts. There are RFCs that deal with how email should (or in this case shouldn't) be delivered - there should be proper bounce messages being issued, or mail should be going into a spam folder.

It's ridiculous to defend Hotmail by claiming that these mails were dropped for intentional good reasons - there are no circumstances under which mail should be silently dropped, except perhaps in the case of a mass denial of service attack. For Hotmail 60 emails should be a drop in the ocean

Floyd 9 years ago

I regularly lose email in my Hotmail account. All of it in fact. Hotmail toasts the entire account after more than a month of inactivity.

Luckily I do not use my Hotmail accounts for anything except as a second account for, which requires two accounts when signing up a new one.

Hotmail has never been good for anything. Yahoo Mail is completely usable in my eight years of use. Gmail is probably ok but I've never needed it. [I do my real email to a POP account, saving emails sent & received on my hard drive, and backing hard drive up regularly to multiple places.]

Floobydust 9 years ago

Excellent assessment of the issues with Hotmail. I think you are off base trying to assert mail fraud. Electronic communications have never enjoyed the protections of snail mail. But, I do think there is a very good cause of action under the Lanham act for deceptive trade practices and misrepresentation of their service (unless it's in the fine print that they have the right to delete attachments at will). There may also be cause for action under various state's implied fitness laws. Consumers have a right to expect that something they pay for is fit for the purpose it is sold for. Clearly an e-mail system that deletes 81% of you e-mails is not fit for anything. Or course, this could just be that MS converted Hotmail to Windows servers and we're just seeing their reliability. In either case, I hope someone takes action on this.

nubs 9 years ago

I experienced this with hotmail and moved to gmail, where I now experience another problem.

If I send mail from my other ISP mail account which hosts my own domain with a .ws suffix to the gmail account , it can take over a day to arrive, there are never any issues to any account other then gmail.

RM 9 years ago

Funny, I have never lost a single mail with or without attachments..?

Duffy 9 years ago

Since it appears that while you managed to lose 80% of your emails, it still seems to be a relatively rare phenomena in terms of people effected. I'd wager a guess that it may actually be a routing problem not necessarily attributed with Hotmail (though it could just as easily be).

Perhaps the particular routing conditions for certain individuals are likely to increase the chance of dropped emails. For example, as mentioned various spam filters could have an effect, as could some Packetshapers if they are not configured properly (they might drop emails over a certain size). While you may think that if that is the case it should effect the ISPs too; thats is incorrect, it would only effect the other ISPs if the chokepoint is your immediate network. And even then it may be specific to the header information sent with the emails.

While your hypothesis could indeed be correct, to verify it you would need to determine if it is indeed Hotmail's routing or an in between network's routing. And naturally this has the potential to be an incredibly complex system to search through, therefor my suggestion is don't bother worrying about it and use whatever works for you.

Exactly Why 9 years ago

Thank you for pointing out exactly why I use hotmail as my primary means of email. I am only going to open attachments I am expecting anyway. I can't say that I recall ever not having received one that I knew someone was sending me. It may have happened, but I can't remember it. Hotmail does a great job of kicking out spam and other trash email. Do I miss an email or two that I may have wanted to read? Probably. But that is fine with me since I absolutely never have to wade through page after page of bs spam to get to my real messages. Also, I don't know if anyone has mentioned the obvious, but it is not a requirement to pay for Hotmail. Use their FREE service and quit crying.

Jared 9 years ago

"Before you write (let alone publish) an article as worthless and retarded as this one, maybe you should take some time to do some research and get half a clue first?

Email has NEVER been subject to the laws that govern the post office, I don't care WHAT (developed) country you're in. In both Canada and the US, for example, private computer networks are deemed the property of their owners and all contents of such networks are similiarly ascribed. It is generally held that as the owners of both the systems AND the data on them, the owners are free to do whatever they want to with it, including reading, copying, deleting, modifying etc. Your comment about mail fraud would be hysterical, if it wasn't so sadly indicative of your lack of actual knowledge about a subject you're trying to appear authoritative on."

I am not sure that its fraud or not. (I am not familiar with the contract) But if you pay for the service and that service does not live up to what the contract promises then it IS fraud. Email is the issue/subject, but ultimately if the contract service levels are not met then they are liable for fraud. You quickly discounted this as B.S., and maybe he mistated that it was fraud (I'd have to read the contract that a customer agrees with) but you yourself didn't have the strongest of arguments. "Email has NEVER been subject to the laws that govern the post office" your right there but this is an issue of contractual obligation. When did anything get mentioned about the laws being the same as the post office.? You discount and flame this guy regarding law, but it IS different in other country's. "I don't care WHAT (developed) country you're in" The law does!

Your the type of bulldog that I love to meet in court. I love it even more when you use vast amounts of resources to get your research done by a legal team. Even better is when you move forward after there advice, and I watch your arguments crumble ultimately ending up with everyone getting paid but you. (Even your legal team gets money despite the loss)

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Hello again. I'd like to answer some more of the questions posed.

1) The viewpoint that it's fraud only if the message is sent by postal mail (1341) or email (1343) is whistling up the wrong tree.


TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 63 > § 1343. Fraud by wire, radio, or television

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.


Otherwise, anyone placing a banner ad on a site advertising a Nigerian 419 scam would be exempt from prosecution! Come on folks! Also note that this version of 1343 is more recent than the one I used from David Horowitz. The penalties are now up to $1,000,000 per count. And I really don't care to argue all day whether it's wire fraud, mail fraud or wired male fraud. Fraud is fraud. It may fall under Lanham or not. Lawyers can argue the finer points until they're blue in the face. I believe in the justice systems of all major developed countries to be able to prosecute clear instances of fraud. Spammers suing under a similar statute would be like the guy who gets his crack ripped off in a deal with the Colombians and goes to the police to press charges. :)

Furthermore, please refer to my many other Hubs such as for an indication of my writing style. I'm not "hopping up and down" otherwise I wouldn't be placing smileys at the end of my statements.

2) Can I "post some references to hotmail users decrying the loss of attachments"??? Do you have your own filtering system in your eyes? :) "Emails with attachments are just outright lost", " I created a free account for my mother and it loses almost all attachments", "I've lost several emails with Hotmail too", " I also had emails disappearing (never arriving) with .jpg files attached", "emails that I'd sent from my other accounts to my hotmail to have gone missing inexplicably", "these days I have spurts where I know e-mail is not arriving"...

3) "Routing problems not necessarily attributed with Hotmail" are hardly possible as each of the 5 PCs used completely separate ISPs, fully independent from one another, to connect to the internet.

4) By all means, I am happy to provide more test info:

PC1: IE7, XP Home SP2

PC2: Firefox2, XP Home SP2

PC3: Firefox2, XP Pro SP2

PC4: IE6, XP Home SP2

PC5: IE7, Vista

Only one individual attachment was ever sent to any one account. 100 sends = 100 attachments. No "crap attachments over and over." All files and subject lines were named randomly, but in standard English.

Attachment Examples:






Subject Line Examples:

It's really hot today

I'm taking that rotten cell phone back

Wazzup, Dude?

I just got docked $20!

See you at Benny's at 6

5) Jared, I've seen the same thing in court cases. One side walks in with a sheaf of technicalities as to why they should be let off, the judge cuts right through it and nails them to the wall. Wouldn't it be interesting if a case against Microsoft could end that way! :)

Jonathan Stein 9 years ago

This is the worst supposed "scientific" experiment ever. I plan to counter the results with my own experiment.

myname 9 years ago

this is bullshit, i've had a hotmail account for over 9 years and used it through all of high school and university to send documents to myself to print them at school. I have NEVER lost any of the documents. I've probably sent myself over a thousand emails with attachments without problem. this douche just doesn't know what he's doing or what he's talking about. don't listen to him. he's an idiot.

hmmmm 9 years ago

I have seen hotmail emails not go through, but only like 10%.  I've always just chalked it up to crappy _free_ service.  It's just imperative to be in contact with the person you are sending an attachment to and to ask them if they received it.  If you are really seeing 80% of your emails not work, something is wrong.  You said that they deny that they drop emails on purpose, but have you tried contacting them and asking about specific examples? Sorry if that's a stupid question. . . but like I said, I don't pay for it, so I haven't felt like I had the prerogative to ask them for help.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Jonathan Stein: It's clear that you can read as well as you can spell my name in your blog, (Lincio indeed...) as the majority of the points you make have already been clarified right on this page. Therefore your blog is filled with more misleading information than a Microsoft Hotmail ad! I do have to congratulate you though on a wise link-building move for your hapless blog. :P

hmmm: Please note again, that these 2 Hotmail accounts were paid not free. Furthermore, over the years I have contacted Hotmail support (or what passes for it) several times over this issue. Only ever got boilerplate back denying and pointing fingers at the ISPs, the backbones, and the full moon. :)

hmmmm 9 years ago

I meant that I don't pay for it and that's why I haven't asked, but you should, since you seem to be paying for it and have a serious problem.  From what you are saying it sounds like you are calling them up and complaining that you "lose 80% of your emails".  If I were them I'd deny that too because nobody else has that problem.  I'm just wondering if they have some suggestions to help you track down the real problem. . . maybe it is the moon?

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Yes, the typical suggestions which are always incorrect. Check your junk mail folder. Check your junk mail settings. Blah blah blah... The same kind of n00b tyro blather that some of the commenters here have insisted is the "real" reason, figuring that I just got off the turnip truck from Lobotomytown and would respond "Geez.. I didn't know I could change the junk mail settings..." DUH! :)

Duffy 9 years ago

In reply to point 3: Thats all very well, but you are simplifying the model. The internet is a series of connected networks, each of which is connected through various ISPs which in turn connect to each other, just because you have ISP1 does not mean you never traverse ISP2's network. On the other hand, ISP1 might result in a route ISP2 would never cross, and vice versa. It all depends.

To clarify my point: Your experiment ignores the hundreds, if not thousands of nodes and networks that the data you send actually crosses. Any one of them could be the culprit. Hence there may be particular nodes or networks that you cross without ever actually knowing that it dropped the data. Hence why it is possible that the the whole thing is a "localized" problem specific to a particular regional area's common traffic node(s).

The only way to verify your hypothesis (easily anyways) is to be on a closed network with Hotmail's servers and your terminal. If it drops email on that network (assuming a stable base network of course) it is most definitely hotmail's fault for faulty routing/filtering/policy/plain bad coding etc...

To make it even simpler: You are over simplifying the problem and stating possibly unreliable data as definitive fact for the purpose of proving an idea.

Should it be looked into? Sure. Are they doing it on purpose? I would be amazed. Again do to the apparent minority of users experiancing this problem, I would guess it is not as simple as it appears.

And if you naively state something such as "why don't they just make reliable software?" I suggest you do a search on "software crisis", wikipedia has a pretty good article and some links that will clarify it for you. The problem has been around since the '70s, and is once more not as "simple" as it is often stated.

hmmmm 9 years ago

I don't think anybody doubts you have a problem. It's just that you seem to be pointing the finger in the wrong place.  I dig your research. It's a good first step. Now you just need to come up with a good next step. I'm no sys admin, but I'm not suggesting it's your junk mail settings, I'm suggesting the system has got you stuck under a rock somewhere along the line. Good luck!

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

hmmm: I have agreed previously that it would be a good idea to extend the test to more accounts and a greater number of emails both with and without attachments over a longer period of time. Anyone who would like me to take a couple of weeks off work to do so is welcome to pay my salary! :)

Duffy: You make excellent points but look at the last two charts. The same emails were delivered with a 98% and 99% rate when Hotmail was not involved. Hotmail is not some obscure shareware from some Mumbai coder working out of his bedroom. This is the world's largest email service provided by the world's largest software company. They've had over 9 years to fix it if it was a bug. There is ample reason to believe that the real reasons are far more sinister and involve the investment of millions of dollars in extra server and bandwidth infrastructure. Microsoft might have figured no one would notice. They were wrong.

A guy who's being reasonable rather than reactionary 9 years ago

Just an observation: In all of your articles, it seems like you could be either:

a) leaving out obvious things, seemingly in an attempt to get people to bash you for leaving them out of the article or assume that since you didn't mention it, you didn't do it (which is the reason most people don't mention things in articles like this). If this is the case, it seems to be for the sole purpose of making snarky "Of course I was duley dilligent in that respect, idiot" type remarks to/about people who point these things out.

b) not being duley dilligent and lying about it.

But since I don't actually know, I'm not going to accuse you of doing either, because accusing people of things without having significant evidence is stupid. It would be even stupider, if I did know that one of those things was the case, I wrote a big angry article about it leaving out a whole bunch of factors, interlacing fact with gut-feeling opinion, and drawing a whole bunch of pseudo-conclusions based on a string of 2 or 3 what-ifs for which no attempt was made to verify.

The reason why most people are angry isn't because they disagree with the pie charts, it's because you don't have your shit straight when you're trying to present what you've found. It's very remniscent of getting into an argument over roll playing game rules with a lazy nerd who's very smart, but too lazy to pick up the rule book to cite what he's talking about.

And I'm assuming here that you're not just trying to make people angry, even though you seem to be proud of it when you do. *If you are, please consider* the fact that writing a well thought out, completely air-tight article would probably make you much more proud than getting people to scream at you through the holes in the 'controversy stirring' articles. It really seems that you start out your research to prove your point rather than to find the answer. If this is the case, it's extremely poor form. Ask yourself this: Would you have taken the time to let people know that hotmail was very reliable for sending/receiving attatchments if the data had indicated that no attatchments, or very few attatchments had been dropped? If the answer is no, you might want to consider shutting up and leaving things like this to the grownups. If so, then you've got some stylistic changes to make if you're really looking to make a difference.

If you're looking to change people's minds, or make people think, you've done a great job. If you're looking to change people's minds, or make people think about the content of your research, you've done a terrible job. Unfortunately all you're doing is changing people's opinions of you, and getting them to think that you're a complete jackass, and that may very well not even be the case.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

A guy: Blogs are generally limited to 1000 words and a more comprehensive description of the minutae of the test would have appealed only to terminal retentives. Go read an encyclopaedia or a 200 page white paper. You have questions, ask them. Accuse me of lying again and I'll delete all your comments. :P

Duffy 9 years ago

I once more agree, but that barely changes the overall picture. It does narrow it down, the problem occurs somewhere between Hotmail and the ISPs. What you have ruled out is that neither ISP itself is the problem. Which is an important point, however you still have all the networks between your ISPs and Hotmail's servers. While interesting, it is inconclusive, and I find your comments mildly unfair.

The best solution to possibly verify or get a better picture (that is possible to do) would require the same tests across several physical regions. A quick statistical analysis should show you either identical results across the board, or specific regions that have a higher rate of failure. From there you could then expand on the theory, if its indeed a common trend everywhere then I would say it is most likely Hotmail's fault. If it's unique "black hole" regions, then what makes them different? Do they all have an ISP or something else in common?

I am not saying you are wrong, you may very well be right. However what you have done does not acutally prove anything. Proof requires either great effort or direct knowledge, neither of which have been expanded here.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Duffy, I can certainly appreciate your viewpoint and it is inherently valid. But at some point people have to pull their head out of their ivory tower chimeras and realize that in order to perform a "perfect test" would require an expenditure of several thousand dollars and weeks of time. You go as far as expecting testing to stretch "across several physical regions." So I would have to go on a continent hopping journey so that I could test ISPs in NY, LA, SF, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Vancouver, Calgary, and Montreal? Hey, suits me. My bags are packed, dude. Just give me your credit card number and I'll book the flights today!

Y'know, I think that I really should test the ISPs in Tahiti and Fiji. Perhaps for weeks at a time! :)

This is a blog fer cryin' out loud. This is not a corporate thinktank three year project involving hundreds of consultants and a multi-million dollar government grant. Let's all get real, ok? The test that was performed is valid. The data is accurate. The conclusions are reasonable. Live with it, or do your own! :)

amused 9 years ago

Jesus! What is wrong with you people? He did a worthwhile experiment, and published the results on his blog. If you don't like, utilize the back button. Why do people feel the need to contradict, just got the sake of contradiction? Does it help you fall asleep at night, cold and alone? Or are all these naysayers Bill Gates psedonyms? Great experiment Hal, the numbers are suprising, but I think I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, since you did the experiment and all... go figure.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks, and I'm glad I could keep you "amused"! :)

A guy who's being reasonable rather than reactionary 9 years ago

>A guy: Blogs are generally limited to 1000 words and a more comprehensive >description of the minutae of the test would have appealed only to terminal >retentives.

Then you probably should have chosen another format for this important news.

That's why most blogs talk about news and research, rather than present news and research. Maybe written it up properly and then written a nice concise abstract for your blog entry?

>Go read an encyclopaedia or a 200 page white paper. You have questions, ask >them.

::sigh:: really? That's your comparison? What's interesting is that when people are more interested in 'winning' arguments than coming to a reasonable and correct conclusion, they will often try to say someone who's trying to pull things to the center to balance them is actually trying to pull things to the furthest opposite extreme to try and knock them off balance and make them seem as though they've got a completely unreasonable stance to anyone witnessing the exchange.

>Accuse me of lying again and I'll delete all your comments. :P

Actually, I specifically said that I wasn't, and I presented the counter point to why I thought it might not be the case... What I was trying to say was that given what you've presented, it's not very easy to tell that you're not, or know how to find out that you aren't. (see first comment to your response)

With every post you make, you do a fantastic job at proving my points though. Generally people with well constructed research hope for critisizm of their work so they can control potentially important variables that they didn't see, or form better arguments for why their work is relevant, or figure out more useful ways to interperet and present their data. Some reasearchers of course, choose the model of threatening to start "deleting people's comments" (:P).

Sune Mølgaard 9 years ago

<somewhat_aggressive_tone_of_voice_and_or_flamebait>Strong wording should require strong arguments. While it is correct that the number of tests falls a little short of "conclusive evidence", there still is a strong indication worthy of further study. Simply saying "I never failed to receive any mail with attachments, apart from being mindbogglingly stupid, is even less conclusive. Pointing out a personal misintepretaion of the cited law alongside a personal insult is even worse, considering that this is discussed multiple times here in the comments. Suggesting that the mails went into the spam bin shows that those posters didn't read the comments, rendering those posters ripe spam folder material themselves. To summarise: <worse_language>READ FIRST, THEN POST!!!</worse_language></ somewhat_aggressive_tone_of_voice_and_or_flamebait>

There might be some heuristics in place giving a worse result than what would be expected from normal operation, but: 1) setting spam filters to "off" should result in all mail delivered. 2) Advertising a service and delivering another (restricted form) is fraud. At least when the service is paid for. 3) The conducted test might not qualify as "scientifically conclusive", but the _relative_ significance of the numbers should, in my own opinion, give a strong incentive for conducting a more thorough investigation. Is there such a thing as a "consumer ombudsman" in the US? We sure do have one here in Denmark...

GillBates 9 years ago

>> "There is simply no excuse for ripping off users who have paid a significant fee to obtain the reliability and confidence which the Microsoft brand should deliver."

Unfortunately, this is exactly what I have come to expect the Microsoft brand to deliver.

pam 9 years ago

Wow. I had a Hotmail account in 2001, then moved to Yahoo, and now I finally have a Dreamhost account w/ SquirrelMail. Anyway, have you tried this experiment with Yahoo? I know I've had to have files resent before.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

A guy: Thank you for your "critisizm". You know what they say... those who can do, and those who can't "critisizmize". :)

Sune: Thank you for your observations. To the best of my knowledge there is no official consumer ombudsman in the United States, but there are various agencies in and out of the Commerce Department and Justice Department that fulfill somewhat similar roles.

GillBates: Yes, but are we sheep? Just because some Washington State nerd lucks out on palming off his faulty OS to IBM a generation ago does that give him the right to be above reproach? I don't recall filling out a ballot for World Emperor and I certainly would have remembered if his name was on it. Mr. Gates and his corporation are no different than the Ma & Pa Convenience Store at the corner. They are just businesspeople filling a market niche. Sure, one has a larger bank account than the other, but all you need to do is look at the Ken Lays, Young Hwan Parks and Conrad Blacks of the world to see that no one private citizen is above the law. If we cannot rely on our Judiciary to impose true, fair and unbiased justice equally on all, then we are not a democracy and we have no right in posing as one.

pam: I would have loved to include yahoo as well as gmail, aol, etc. It would just have bloated the experiment too far, commandeered too much time and resources, and taken it out of the context of a blog test. I fully agree that it should be done, however.

A guy: 9 years ago

>A guy: Thank you for your "critisizm". You know what they say... those who can >do, and those who can't "critisizmize". :)

Sweet jesus! I think the spell checker was deliberately attempting to screw up my post by not making thick enough squiggly red lines! It's fraud i tells ya! FRAUD!

I bet there will be serious *unforseeable* consequences if this situation is left unchecked. ;-)

Nick 9 years ago

Is testing other web-based email services or ISP's is the only answer? Several people have talked about "what's going on in between" your server and hotmail. How can you test that? If it is a problem specific to hotmail's server (and not an intentional one), since they refuse to look at it, what can be done to research that? Obviously, if it's intentional, the only way to make it change is consumer demand, so you're on the right track trying to point it out. I am just not convinced it's really intentional because I send stuff with attachments all the time and it works fine, so it really seems to be an isolated thing (or maybe my free account is on their white list). It really does seem like you are trying to win arguments rather than carry on a dialog.;)

Saskboy 9 years ago

My guess is that Hotmail's spam filtering lists are way too aggressive, and if they turned them down a little bit, the levels of spam are even worse than the lost attachment emails.

tepid 9 years ago

Just a point here, but if the hotmail web interface is being used to send email from and to a hotmail account, as in the first two cases, then the only mail configuration involved is hotmail's, as the geographic location of the sender is only relevant to the uploading of files over the web interface. Actual mail transmission takes place within the hotmail network.

The numbers seem rather high but when I was doing mail administration, I also encountered quit a lot of instances where messages sent to hotmail simply disappeared. A lack of notification does violate the RFCs and is genberally poor practice. Any spam email should still be delivered into some folder unless the user configures his account to delete it.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

A guy II: It's a conspiracy! You're right! You can fight it! Go set yourself on fire in front of the Redmond campus! :)

Nick: Most of the enjoyment of blogging on Hub is to engage in spirited interplay with the cheerers and the jeerers, the wise and the demented; the genuinely concerned and the sneaky link builders. It's one of the most fun things you can do with your clothes on! ;)

Saskboy: I have no problem with spam filtering. That's what Junk Mail folders are for. I would expect that delivery be completed and I would be given the choice to make that determination, not some algorithm designed to maximize Hotmail's profit margins while cutting the need to invest in infrastructure to handle the real load.

tepid: 100% agreed. You may now have a free embossed invitation to join the Official Hal Agreement Club! :)

Evan 9 years ago

It's amusing to see so many people willing to bash the results of this test and NOT provide results of their own test to back up their argument. All the time spent on bashing the author and no-one is willing to take the time to do their own would be rather intersting to see someone else's results with the same parameters! Take the article for what it person's thoughts and findings. If you don't agree, don't. If you do, do. I'm sure there are hundres of other sites that support and don't support these findings...go flame them!

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Evan, you get the free embossed invite too! :)

another perspective 9 years ago

Hal - nice experiment given the time and resources you were willing to commit to doing this. I've read it thoroughly and am taking from it exactly what I think you've intended -- it's more data for me to use in forming my own conclusions. I know that this is not a bulletproof, all encompassing study that covers every conceivable perspective on the subject and you've been very clear about that. Readers shouldn't expect this to be anything more than what you've presented or try to read more hidden meaning into it. I think a lot of people have a hard time accepting your data at face value. I found myself ignoring a lot of the non-constructive criticism here because it's the easy role -- to criticize someone elses work without having supporting data to suggest otherwise.

In this respect, I'm with "amused" in giving you the benefit of the doubt, especially since you are the only one out of everyone here who's taken the time to collect some data in order to formulate and support an opinion.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

another: Thank you very much. I really appreciate the kind words and encouragement.

AndreyT 9 years ago

I've been using my free Hotmail account for sending/receiving attachments for several years already. I've never run into any problems with "Vanished" Emails. It could be your spam filter interfering with your experiment, or it could be something else. You could simply be lying. The beginning of the article literallyy screams "anti-Windows troll", so the "lying" version feels like a rather safe bet.

Of course, any poster here can easily reproduce the experiment with their own accounts pretty closely and see it for themselves.

JT 9 years ago

I would like to see if the same files were being "eaten" every time to see if the attachments were blocked. The files may have been deemed suspicious by the builtin Trend E-mail virus scanner. This does not necessarily justify the block without notification, but could provide an explanation.

I have been using Hotmail for quite a number of years and have never seen a significant number of emails lost - with or without attachments. And I regularly send files back and forth from work to home via my hotmail (several times a week for the last 4 years). I have surely sent many more than a hundred and I cannot remember the last time one did not arrive.

I do know that files with certain file extensions (though none of the ones mentioned in the original posting) are often automatically dropped without notice and that some emails, when sent, require entering a captcha to prove you are not a spambot. Either of those items could potentially explain (again, not necessarily justify) the result. Interesting to note, I have a certain subset of people I email on a regular basis (all AOL users) who regularly don't get my emails with attachments, but they are the only ones, so I assume it is an AOL issue.

Spencer 9 years ago

I work at a vocal production firm, and we used to email a lot of files (primarily 1MB-ish mp3s). Not always, but the majority of the time, if a client or talent complained that they didn't receive the email, lo and behold... it was a Hotmail account.

To work around that issue, we began keeping all the files on our website, and just sent automatically-generated emails with links to the files- it saved a lot of hassle.

While there are formulas to determine margin of error and accurate sample sizes, it's been too long since my Political Analysis class for me to remember any of them.

Still, if those figures are even remotely accurate and representative- ouch, Microsoft.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

AndreyT: Actually, I do resemble a troll. Short, fat, balding, and lots of hair hanging out of my large ears. But my young hottie gf still sleeps with me, so I guess I'm not that bad. :)

Let's see. In the past couple of months on Hub I've been accused of being anti-Windows, anti-AMD, anti-Google, anti-SEO, anti-BMW, anti-Buell, anti-literary agent, anti-Ocicat, anti-American pizza, anti-baseball and anti-Bart Starr, Fran Tarkenton, Roger Staubach, Joe Namath, Troy Aikman, John Elway, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady. And all the time I thought I was an uncle. :)

If I'm such a planted mouthpiece for Apple, Intel, Harley Davidson, The International Bengal Cat Society and any of the other plethora of organizations, where are my secret slush fund royalty cheques?

Heck, there's even a blogger today who disagrees with this Hub's conclusions but really loved the toilet graphic!

Again, please feel free to agree or disagree to any level of vehemence. Bring it on. The more the merrier. But you call me a liar twice and I delete your comments. You can sit in the corner by yourself if you can't play nice with the other kids.

JT: Captchas were correctly entered several times when sending from Hotmail. I am not an AOL user so I can't comment on their aspects of file loss, but it would follow that if it is indeed a purposeful algorithmic implementation to be able to defraud users by promising them bandwidth and storage levels which do not exist, then I certainly wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft wasn't the only corporate Goliath which utilized it.

Spencer: FTPing attachments for download is certainly a valid alternative. It would be nice if we could just use that email Attach button for something other than decoration though! :)

9 years ago

I'm still wondering where Hotmail makes any promise to deliver e-mail. The limitatin of liabilities does not make any such promise. It only attempts to place an upper limit on damages.

What you need to find is something from Hotmail that says "We will deliver all of your e-mail". I really doubt that such a document exists.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

e: Irrelevant given the clear and obvious judicial precedents. There have been many people thrown in jail for placing a listing on eBay of some expensive piece of electronics, accepting the payment and then sending a photo of the equipment to the buyer, pointing to small print stating "you are bidding on a photo of the equipment." A consumer is entitled to what they reasonably expected to receive. Anything else is a scam. Believe me, the old joke is not true: What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 85... Your Honour. Most judges are smart, savvy, know the law inside and out, and have years of experience fending off futile technicalities from hordes of attorneys.

bradley13 9 years ago

This may be relevant: our micro-company has its own SMTP server, and we often have trouble sending to hotmail accounts. The mails don't bounce - they just never arrive. Our belief is that this is due to aggressive spam-filtering - not the sort reported to users, but the kind where e-mail from certain sources is just tossed in the bit-bucket.

The situation improved a lot when we hung a name onto the naked IP-address of the mail server, but it has not gone away entirely.

Of course, this doesn't explain the results of this test, since presumably hotmail isn't going to mark itself as a spam source...

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

bradley: Thanks for the info. Very interesting indeed!

Read the Statute 9 years ago

It seems that many of the critics posting to this blog assume that mail fraud must somehow be a fraud involving actual mail, such as stealing letters out of someone's mailbox (which would be a different crime altogether) and so would not apply to Microsoft “stealing/deleting” emails out of someone’s inbox. But that is not what mail fraud is about at all. Here is the actual text of 18 USC Sec. 1341, straight from the House of Representatives at http:\\ (although, I have added some line breaks to assist people in reading it):


having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud,

or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises,

or to sell, dispose of, loan, exchange, alter, give away, distribute, supply, or furnish or procure for unlawful use any counterfeit or spurious coin, obligation, security, or other article, or anything represented to be or intimated or held out to be such counterfeit or spurious article,

for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice or attempting so to do,

places in any post office or authorized depository for mail matter,

any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by the Postal Service,

or deposits or causes to be deposited any matter or thing whatever to be sent or delivered by any private or commercial interstate carrier,

or takes or receives therefrom, any such matter or thing,

or knowingly causes to be delivered by mail or such carrier according to the direction thereon, or at the place at which it is directed to be delivered by the person to whom it is addressed, any such matter or thing,

shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.

If the violation affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.”

The beauty of this statute, and probably why it (and the similar wire fraud statute) gets so much use by federal prosecutors, is that it is really, really hard to execute a scheme to defraud people without using the mail in some way. Basically, any person who has come up with a plan to defraud (or is even trying to come up with a plan to defraud) or who, in connection with obtaining money from another person through false representations, sends (or asks someone else to send) ANYTHING by US Mail, FedEx, or Joe’s Interstate Shipping Service, or RECEIVES anything from the US MAIL, FedEx, etc. (apparently, even if it is not specifically addressed to them) in order to carry out their plan or to obtain money through their false representations, should be spending the next 20 years in the slammer.

So if the folks at Microsoft have ever received a letter complaining that emails with attachments weren’t being delivered, or sent a box of paperwork regarding Hotmail server usage to an offsite storage facility via FedEx or DHL, or done any number of other ordinary activities that happen everyday at corporations, and they are collecting fees for paid Hotmail accounts based on false representations about the service being offered (e.g., that your email will be delivered) it seems very likely that they would be committing mail fraud.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Read The Statute: Thank you profoundly for bringing a comprehensive description of the prevailing laws well beyond my limited legal knowledge. I really appreciate it. I would also be very interested to learn of your take on 1343!

So... who's going to be the first bright and prescient attorney who is going to figure out that leading a class action suit or other action on this matter against Microsoft is going to turn them into the next Johnny Cochrane? Or Perry Mason? :)

Seriously! I'd love to hear from you!!!!

Dr. Bowman 9 years ago

Hysterial nonsense.

No doubt the twerp

renamed the same attachment

with different file extensions and

Hotmail legitimately deleted the spam.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Who's the jerk, me or you who didn't read through this page and see that argument conclusively negated? Go back to outer space Dr. Bowman. This time around, this HAL is going to leave you out there for good! :P

Dr. Bowman 9 years ago

It pleases me greatly you are upset Hal.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Yeah, well just see if you get past the pod bay doors! Go join your buddy Poole spinning through space for eternity! I've got an appointment with a monolith I'm late for. :)

Dr. Bowman 9 years ago

What is madness? To have erroneous perceptions and to reason correctly from them.

ScaryFast 9 years ago

I work for an ISP in Canada and have been getting complaints from some of our customers about this same problem. I've done some testing myself using Email addresses on my ISP, Gmail, and using my webhost located somewhere in the United States.

Looking at the logs on our mail server we know that the messages are received by Hotmail servers, they just dissapear into the nether somewhere on the other end.

You can blame junk filters if you want, but if this is the case why do all the penis pill ads end up in the junk folder while a Jpeg from a camping trip just plain dissapear?

I'm sorry but something else is happening and they need to figure it out.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Dr. Bowman... somehow I think there's a disconnect here. Go to Blockbuster and head directly for the Kubrick section. You'll catch the drift. :)

ScaryFast: That is extremely important information. It's fascinating to learn that the messages are actually received by the Hotmail servers and it is there that the disappearing act happens, as that could be a smoking gun to the function of the "suspected email killer algorithm." Thanks for the great info!!!

Sune Mølgaard 9 years ago

Purportedly-Dr. Bowman: Even if the reasoned interpretaions of the data are somehow wrong, that still leaves the data. And most interestingly, that data suguggests that at least in these cases, mails are dropped without notice.

If indeed you are a doctor, you should be aware that there is ample data for reasoning, both "fantasising" and otherwise. In short: The motive is unclear.

But still, the loss has ocurred. This may very well contradict your dreamworld, but drawing any conclusions from that fact is subject to interpretation that would, if stated, probably get me demoted.

If indeed you are a doctor, do pick up your old introductory courses notes validity of scientific papers, and either 1) Accept this as such (with the limitations stated earlier), or 2) drop the "Dr." from your nick, as you are most probably only flamebaiting...

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Sune, all I can say is: :) !

A friend 9 years ago

I had an experience about a year ago as an ISP support professional; I would receive complaints from numerous customers using hotmail and msn email that they received blank messages in their email which should have been their billing invoices. The invoices in question did have a somewhat graphic quality to them, but the invoices weren't attachments, and that specific problem never seemed to be an issue with any other email provider the customers in question dealt with. True, that's a little different than losing the message altogether, but I feel it does offer credibility to your argument. Secondly, to anyone offering that the ISPs might have had something to do with this, you might want to clarify whether or not the messages you sent from either hotmail account to the other showed up in the sent items folder; once those specific messages arrived on the hotmail server, not one of them should have ever left; I'll admit that I don't really know how a mail server works, but it seems to me that any server that sends in-house messages outside of its network has something seriously wrong with it (I am a technician, so I do know something about what I'm talking about; data transfer from one part of a computer to another never leaves the computer, for example).

Regarding your post, however, I found your analysis as thorough as you could make it; you stated your thesis, you outlined the steps you took to study your thesis, you stated the results, and you presented the conclusion based on your thesis. I never once found the article losing my attention and I found your overall conclusion accurate, though possibly a little misleading, as for some reason, everyone who's read it seems to reach the conclusion that the average data loss was 81%; I calculated the actual averages for you and found that the internal, hotmail to hotmail turned out to be 76% and the overall results for hotmail to/from hotmail or other isps came out to be 70.4% (including the transfer between the two ISPs would have skewed the averages, so I excluded them).

Yannick Gingras 9 years ago

I tried to reproduce your results but all my exprerient reaches a different conclusion. Could you comment on the differences between my methodology and yours? Here is my write up:

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

A Friend, thank you for the thoughtful analysis. Yes, you are absolutely correct and a glance at the charts will prove that the 81% is the highest data loss, not the median value. That is why in the title I used "Up To 81%."

Yannick, your methodology is completely skewed. You're using scripts, and configuring Exim with "smarthost", and doing all sorts of crazy things that the average Hotmail user wouldn't even know how to spell, let alone use. It's funny how you criticize my methodology then apply a pocket protector, propeller beanie nerd overkill approach that negates your efforts. The whole idea is to use Hotmail the way real people use it, not programmer megageeks! :)

Bowman, I've had more than enough of your insults to me and now you're insulting the other commenters. Keep posting and I'll keep deleting your posts and we'll see who gets tired first.

tepid 9 years ago

Still, Yan's script does show that emails can get through with high success. That may indicate that the problem is not with the mail servers themselves but rather with the web interface or some other part of Hotmail's setup. It may be that sending through the mail interface is what fails. Of course, the nature of the attachments may be a factor as well.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Tepid, the whole point is to find out why real humans are not getting their attachments and that is why I don't agree with Yan's scripting. When you look at what A Friend and ScaryFast have recently stated, it does leave an interesting trail that points at some sort of nefarious "something" happening inside the Hotmail servers.

Gort 9 years ago

I honestly can't believe that ANYONE that posted here claiming only a 1-2% loss rate of attachments loss via hotmail isn't fibbing a bit.

I've had a hotmail account for about 8 years. For about the past 3 years or so, I've considered myself lucky to get 3/4 of the email sent to my hotmail address. As far as attachments go, if it only dropped 81% of them, I'd almost be happy. And to all the smarties, they're not in my junk mail folder. Hotmail IS pretty good at delivering the PR0N spam, though. :-(

Thank goodness for gmail...

Yannick Gingras 9 years ago

My whole point is that with reproducibility we can pin point the problem. Is it that I have to much text in my messages and that the emails that are dropped just have "Yo check this out?" Is it that 500k jpegs are fine and that Hotmail's virus filter actually chokes half of the time on power points? With a reproducible methodology you can tweak one parameter at the time until you know what goes wrong.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Gort, your experience is very similar to mine and many of the people I know who use hotmail. That was the primary driving force behind my doing this test. I also wonder why I can't get an attachment of a photo of the beach, but I can certainly get 50 offers to BuY vIaGrA! Thanks for the input.

Yannick, I'm all for reproducibility (except with my gf where we practice planned parenthood heheheh) but I think that it is fundamentally wrong to mess with parameters that the average Joe Hotmail can't and won't do. It will skew the results to meaninglessness, IMHO. I'm also all for supporting any effort that can get to the bottom of what this mysterious attachment eating function is, so all I can say is more power to you. If you can figure it out your way, you will have my unending gratitude.

Now I'm gonna catch some shuteye. See ya all in the mornin'! Bye!

Jonathan Stein 9 years ago


You and several others seem to be pissed at me, so I've posted a followup at my "hapless blog". I liked the phrase so much I bought I wonder if I'll ever use it?

Yep, another shamess link-building attempt. Well, it's working! :P

A Real Sysadmin 9 years ago

Some of the commenters here seem to think all undelivered email should generate a non-delivery notice. I'd just like to point out how wildly impractical that is. If you believe recent figures, 75% or more of email is spam, and almost all of that is sent using forged or nonexistant return addresses. If you can generate a rejection before the end of the SMTP conversation, great. Otherwise, generating a bounce for these messages accomplishes several things: 1) Makes your mail server look like a spam-generating entity 2) Amplifies the spamming effect by hammering some bunch of hapless users whose email addresses were appropriated by a spammer with a bunch of rejection notices 3) Uses up your server resources and bandwidth for email nobody cares about or wants 4) Quite possibly generates a bounce that will itself bounce because the address for which it is destined is invalid... and that will bounce, generating another bounce... In other words, you're wasting everyone else's resources as well as your own. For those reasons, expecting non-delivery reports on messages deemed spam (or virus-laden, or whatever) is just unrealistic.

81% seems awfully high, but I haven't got the data (or desire) to refute it. Interesting work.

Interesting 9 years ago

As a long time and regular Hotmail user I found your test results to be very interesting. While to my knowledge I have never experienced this problem it is still cause for concern. To test your results for myself I took a very small sample of 4 messages with attachments and sent then from Hotmail Account 1, 2 and 3 and IMAP account 1 to Gotmail account X usoing first an email client (WLM) and all four messages and attachments came through fine. Then I tried sending 4 emails from my IMAP account to Hotmail account 1 using the ISP's web interface and again all 4 messages were received. I used a combination of doc, jpg, and pdf files in my small experiment. I'm not disputing your results but I can't seem to replicate them using a small sample. It would be interesting if others responding would do some small tests themselves to see what results they get. My Hotmail accounts are paid accounts as well so not sure why I would get a 100% success rate when you obtained an 80+% failure rate. Again my test was not nearly as exhaustive as yours but it showed me that my own experience seems to be different than yours.

The Odd Byte 9 years ago

OK - I'm puzzled...

I've never had a hotmail account, so I have no personal experience to apply to your experiment. Therefore I asked some friends who do use hotmail, and EVERY ONE OF THEM made comments similar to those above - "I've had a hotmail account for X years & regularly loose emails" Mind you, none of them have experienced losses as high as yours, but they all admitted readily to losses.

My response to all these people... WHY??? If I had an email account that lost my emails, I'd close it and go somewhere else real fast! Why do you stay with hotmail?

If every hotmail user who lost an email left hotmail & went elsewhere, either MS would fix it, or no-one would be left using hotmail. In either case the problem would be solved.

Steve 9 years ago

People don't want to switch mail providers... its effort to let people know that you are changing your address, mailing lists all have to be changed etc etc. If there was a simple 'switcher' I'm positive more people would. I set my sister up on gmail but she still uses hotmail... despite admitting gmail is way better.

I suppose you could always forward all mail to the new address, but then there's the hotmail 30-day-no-logon-timeout bull...

Useless service (and you cant even get it via POP/an external client these days unless you get the 'special' account - well last time i checked)

vaporland 9 years ago

Great post, amazing how many idiots and losers cannot comprehend American English. My wife is from the U.K. and is always reminding me that there is a difference!

hotmail = loser

A grad student 9 years ago

This sounds like the kind of exercise I will do when determining the dissertation project:

a) a test to see if this is really a good question/problem

b) a test to see if this question/problem can be answered in a reasonable grad-school timescale with grad-school resources.

So, before my advisor commits to 3-4 of a project, he wants to see if my idea passes these two tests.

I think your test passes both parts. If you get a group together, or someone has already started to take this more seriously, I want to get on board!

Jake 9 years ago

Response to all that say the emails were sent to a spam folder:

I've always known hotmail to have annoying spam protection which will send many clean emails to my spam folder.

However, the study proves this couldn't be the case. The user sent emails from his hotmail account to his ISP-1 and ISP-2, and emails were still lost. Hotmail's aggressive virus protection features couldn't have been the cause of this, because the emails weren't being received on a hotmail account.

Of course, the ISP email addresses could have been marking the emails as spam too, but the statistics again prove that couldn't be the case. When sending an email from ISP-1 to ISP-2 and viceversa, the user loses next to no emails. Therefore, the user couldn't have been losing emails due to spam protection, because he only lost the emails when they were outgoing from a hotmail account, but not from another ISP account.

A webmaster says 9 years ago

Hotmail not only loses many attachments going back and forth with other ISPs, but it limits the number of attachments too, without telling users what do to do succeed. Generally, 3 attachments at a time seems to work for images in recent years. Worse, hotmail addresses randomly bounce with no-such-account messages, when the following day the same messages to the same addresses go through. The problems started when Microsoft took over and they continue. Hotmail is less reliable than any email service I know of. Hotmail users have a false sense of reliability because they don't see the bounces, everyone else does. I get 30,000 email messages per year or so, most with image attachments, and the problems are obvious from my POV.

Karl 9 years ago

I duplicated your experiment and came to very similar conclusions. Thanks again for the heads up from your friends @!!!!!

Chris 9 years ago

I signed up for hotmail long before it was a Microsoft product and I definitely agree with this. At one stage I was losing so much email from some of the mail servers I operate to hotmail that I emailed them asking if I had been blacklisted as an open mail relay.

+3649213694 for "If you're not getting the mail, how do you know you're not getting it?"

I sent hundreds of test emails from other servers to my hotmail account to verify external accessibility and was questioning my configs until I realised they were fine and hotmail was eating them.

Try This 9 years ago

1. Sign-out hotmail account 2. Sign-in again with (v) "Save my email" check box3. Download to hearts content

geordiewhiz profile image

geordiewhiz 9 years ago

Great experiment even greater post! It was something i had long suspected but never quite put my finger on. Keep up the great posts

Gurn 9 years ago

never had a problem receiving attachments with hotmail.

But your objective and professional reporting style convinced me completely!

got enough of an ax to grind?

Blah 9 years ago

Just out of interest what bays were you on?

I think its people on common bays (servers) that have all the issues

scooter 9 years ago

I have run into problem after problem with attachments going to hotmail accounts. Whenever I follow them up to find out why I didn't get an answer, the response is invariably the same. NOT RECEIVED. How can this be fixed?

It doesn't seem to happen with near the same frequency without attachments.

volter 9 years ago

i've used hotmail since they were taken over by microsoft, and even though i hate it, i have to say, my mail ALWAYS gets to me, with attachments in place. and i might add, it's the free account i use.

i'm thinking there has to have been something wrong with your test.

Wang VS 9 years ago

Thank you, Hal, for this small but rigorous test. Don't let the morons and idiots get to you. For some reason this page has attracted some of the worst clueless nitwits and shills the Internet has to offer. What's scary is to think that those people are around us in real life, pretending to be sane, functional individuals.

We have had trouble with Hotmail, too. Our CEO uses it because he must, must have easy browser access to email from anywhere at any time. Not long ago I was in IM with him, forwarding a message under discussion to his hotmail mailbox. It didn't arrive. I sent it again, and again, maybe a total of 20 times. It never arrived. I sent a different message; it did arrive. This indicated to me that Hotmail's dropping of messages is dependent on content. I doubt it's a filter; more likely it's a data-dependent processing problem -- hotmail chokes on certain char sequences. Internal conversions of message formats and processing bugs in the inbound and outbound gateways could explain the differences in percentages in your various scenarios. I think, though, that it is not probablistic -- I think that certain messages will always disappear no matter how many times they are sent or received by Hotmail.

A few observations:

1. Contrary to what many of your commentators seem to believe, it is not that easy to tell that one's inbound or outbound messages are being dropped. Many inbound messages are not explicitly expected, and so their disappearance is invisible to the operator of the destination mailbox. Many outbound messages have no explicit followup and their disappearance is similarly invisible to the sender if no bounce occurs. The conduct of person-to-person business email is more likely to reveal indications of lost messages than is casual non-business use of email. Even so, it took an incident in which two of us were communicating by IM outside email, one saying, "Forward me a copy of that," the other saying, "OK, sent," and the other saying, "Hasn't arrived" for us to develop the one confirmed case of hotmail eating email. Most lost email isn't visible... it has delayed and indirect consequences.

2. Most of the comments posted here that include, "I am not an xxxxx, but..." indicate a very bad sort of thinking and expression that is all too common on the Internet. If you're not an xxxxx, then STFU, because you probably don't know what you're talking about.

3. All the comments about routing and ISPs indicate an abysmal ignorance of how email works. Email moves from origin to destination by a fail-safe protocol. Assuming the sender's mail server is RFC compliant, the only way outbound email just disappears is if the destination mail server accepts it but then makes it disappear. If the originating mail server can't hand it off to the destination mail server, the sender will receive a delivery failure message from his own mail server. This is true no matter how screwed up the destination mail server may be, and is true no matter how many intermediaries relay the message.

4. It may come as a rude shock to the many amateur legal commentators here, but not only is the use of the U.S. Mail not a necessary element in the mail and wire fraud statutes, but the U.S. Postal System's Inspectors will investigate all forms of non-delivery and fraudulent conduct of remote commerce whether or not the U.S. Mail is involved anywhere in the process. In the cited cases of eBay scams in which sellers actually deliver a photo snapshot of the item instead of the item itself, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service will accept and invesigate such complaints even though the item was purchased over the Internet and the item was shipped (or not shipped) via, say, UPS or FedEx.

5. The people calling you names and attacking you for your test are just very sick puppies. You shouldn't let them get under your skin. If I were you I would ruthlessly delete and ban them, because they do not contribute anything worthwhile to the discussion. They are like a small crowd of lunatics screaming at top volume while you're trying to take reasonable questions from a large audience you have just addressed.

6. To the several people who claim they have used Hotmail for years and have never lost anything, I say you obviously can't tell what you may have invisibly lost. Almost no one follows up each and every inbound and outbound message with additional messages to confirm receipt. Detection is more likely in business, where one party says, "I'm going to send you the Purchase Order" and the other party says, "Where is it? I haven't received it." If those control messages are also subject to silent loss, it gets more complicated and message loss may be mistaken for an unwillingness to do business -- "I guess they just don't want to do business with us after all."

7. All those speaking of email attachments should step back and consider that they probably don't have a clue what their email client is actually doing. In email formats there are inclusions and attachments, and MIME blocks. The user of an email client usually has no visibility nor knowledge of exactly how his email client is doing things. There are quite a lot of variations, almost all of them invisible to the user. Old-fashioned mail servers dont' have to care -- as long as the gross format is compliant, they can receive, store, or forward messages no matter what the content. New twists like examining inbound messages for virii and whatnot bring into the mix the active interpretation of email content by programs other than the end user email client. The possible consequences of stupid programming are endless, and silent disappearance of messages is probably one of the most likely outcomes.

8. Microsoft is, in my opinion, the most flagrant violator of Internet standards. This became very apparent with the early proliferation of Outlook and Outlook Express, with phantom binary attachments containing garbage, and text lines longer than is permissible in Internet mail. I received one such today, in which line breaks were used as paragraph breaks, leaving entire paragraphs as individual lines, often becoming truncated at the 2048-char Internet line limit.

Microsoft's Web IIS servers brought a new kind of server misbehavior to the Internet, something never seen before. They are the only Web servers I have ever seen that can simply fail to return anything at all, leaving the browser spinning until it times out. All other Web servers I have ever contacted (and the one I wrote) always return SOMETHING. It's a requrement in what pass for Internet standards.


Thanks again, Hal. The fact that more needs to be done doesn't diminish in any way what you have done. It's a good start, and confirms that there is a problem with Hotmail, as many of us have long suspected and a few have confirmed in very limited circumstances. Keep up the good work.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 9 years ago from Toronto Author

Thank you all, and I mean each and every single person, who has supported my test results with your real life examples. Not only do I thoroughly appreciate your time and effort, but it justifies the fact that Microsoft should be called to task in a court of law to justify their actions!

808admin 9 years ago

Nice Job. Here's another little example for you.

I have a BofA account and request my statements to be emailed to me. They invariably have failed for a year and bank of america sends me a "failed delivery attempt" notification of this every month. It never ends up in the spam forlder or anything, Just flat out rejected. Thanks!

Steve 9 years ago

Not sure about my attachments getting through, but how about Microsoft's recent stellar effort to "update" Hotmail? All my nicknames in my contact list no longer work (have to scroll down the long list and click on the recipient instead of just typing the short nickname), the print function is completely screwed (I get the previous email I opened in the print box instead of the one I want to print), I can't access other MSN sites like Money directly from the Hotmail page (so that I am logged in when I want to check my portfolio) anymore, and there is no way to get any feedback to Microsoft that I can figure out. And that is on my Windows PC, I have an Apple at home where I can't even reply to emails as it doesn't get the address off the mail I want to reply to and selecting the recipient from my contact list doesn't work either, the only way is to copy and paste the recipient email from the incoming. All in all a bad product made much worse, I am switching to gmail despite the hassle of telling everybody a new mail address.

Michael 9 years ago

Find the blog interesting as one of the customers we support was trying to send encrypted pdfs through email and only hotmail accounts would fail. Yahoo accounts and accounts to a business email would work, but everytime we tried to send to Hotmail, it would fail.

a few more facts 9 years ago

I used to have one of those free hotmail accts in order to use it's instant messaging function, until my computer broke down for a month and they deleted my spam-stuffed acct because i couldn't keep up with filtering the all the inbound junk, which is neither here nor there.

I'm involved with a company that does business online, and we have ongoing issues with yahoo, hotmail accounts, and their canadian variant. We dont use attachments, but hotmail has us classified as a spamming source even though all we send out is a verification and upgrade email reply on request and currently don't transmit a newsletter. I think it would be of more interest and to the point if someone looked at why works and incountry hotmail doesn't, attachments and address book entires notwithstanding.

rrd257r profile image

rrd257r 9 years ago from NY

I love the post; unfortunatly I must question your methods. I have never experienced even close to the amount of "vanished" emails you claim to have. I constantly send back and forth from my business email to hotmail and even have my business email auto forwarded to hotmail (of course I keep the message stored on the server for a # of days). All but one time my messages as well as attachments have come through. To post something such as this really throws me off. If it were true it would be very informative and helpful, but through my own experience, and after consulting with several coworkers from our IT department I can only come to the assumption that you have some sort of personal vendetta against hotmail. No one; and I've asked at least 30 informed individuals at this point, have experienced anything remotely close to your results. I'd ask that you provide more detail as to how your "experiment" panned out, as this is obviously flawed; although certainly worth looking further into.

munroenet profile image

munroenet 9 years ago from Paso Robles

Hotmail is not what is used to be. If you are looking for a new E-Mail address i suggest this hub review on The 4 major email clients:

Great hub Hal Linco


bwsot7m profile image

bwsot7m 9 years ago from Toronto

One of the list of reasons why I've switched to gMail. Moreover, if i have any friend that have a hotmail and a secondary address, I usually send it to the secondary.

I'm an email snob like that.

Daniels 9 years ago

Well, here's another Hotmail issue:

The first email from hotmail to my work address disappears. An email from my work address to hotmail is received. A reply at the received mail is received at my work address. Every next email from hotmail to my work address is received. I tried this with the 3 domains I got overhere and the final conclusion was that every first mail to a domain disappears. I found this interesting article:

Misha profile image

Misha 9 years ago from DC Area

LOL How come they are still afloat? They can't be THAT terrible, people would have dumped them long ago... Never used them myself, though - been with yahoo from the start, and added gmail to it recently... But my wife uses them as her regular personal account, and she never complained...

Education Articles 9 years ago

If anyone could work out the deliverability of this sort of thing, you'd think it would be Microsoft. Why don't they invest some of their hard earned to sort this issue out (and therefore build value in their service), instead of pursuing pointless law suits over minor copyright infringement?

Great article, thanks for exposing them. - Paul

teluguswan profile image

teluguswan 9 years ago

I think the problem is with the technology what they are doing or working with. i.e it is taking much bandwidth to make more userfriendly but forgetting the base needs of people. Just now people started to use this email as their daily need after postal mail. So they have to work hard

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ang3lz 9 years ago

Nice information. Keep up the good work. People can learn a lot from you!

Karl 9 years ago

I will freely admit, I have had a lot of fun reading these comments, and have laughed quite a lot. I am not going to tell you that you are a liar, as I have no reason to, and I'm not going to praise your intelligence, as I am sure you know how intelligent you are...

In my experience, I have only ever once lost emails, and that was sending "to" a hotmail account. Every hotmail account, not just one. This, after investigation was down to rDNS. The email I was sending from was a domain name on a corporate server, purchased with email accounts. If pinged, the mail server used (for example, lets say: would give the IP Address (i.e. If you pinged the IP address, asking to resolve to a DNS name, it would come back as something like

Hotmail reads the DNS to IP, and the reverse, IP to DNS. If the two DO NOT match, Hotmail hates is, and 99% of the time thinks it is spam and rejects it, sometimes without a bounce-back.

As I said, this has been my only experience, and could account for some of the issues brought up in the comments, as not all ISP will give Reverse DNS unless you specifically ask for it, AND pay for it, as they use their generic no-dns tags. In addition, ISP's release their static IP Addresses in batches to business clients. The pool of IP address may be for example. "If" a spam server of an ISP detects that .23 is blacklisted for spam, they sometimes block that whole IP Pool. I have had personal experince with this and two weeks of trying to convince an ISP that our mail servers were not Dynamic IP Address's of spam, but statically assigned as a pool.

Had the same issue with email addresses.

Other than this, I have personally had no problems with Hotmail. The only thing I could think of is that a new account was set up, fr testing purposes, a lot of mail was sent out, all with attatchments, and hotmail's automated servers said, "ahah, a new spammer! Let's get him, boys!" and got personal with your test. This is the only explaination I can think of as it would be "out of the ordinary" in "alot" not, all, but alot of cases for a new account to be set up, and all that mail to come shifting out the door all at once. I could be wrong, as it is only a suggestion.

Any comments? You can email me at where I use Hotmail, quite happily, to receive my domain emails now.

Janice 9 years ago

I have been using Hotmail as my primary personal and business e-mail account for almost 8 years. I initially signed up in April 1999. I have had excellent reliability. I don't know what you are talking about or why you would want to distribute misinformation. I hate when that happens.

Runsrealfast 9 years ago

Just out of curiosity, was the possiblity that some of the emails were believed to be spam taken into account. I wonder if that is part of it?

Bill 9 years ago

This is disturbing information. One of the things I do is teach the visitors to my site how to connect Hotmail to Outlook. Thanks for the warning.


Matt 8 years ago

Firstly, to all the people going "LIAR! I NEVER lose emails" - no-one is saying that Hotmail eats e-mails for *all* accounts, maybe it is just possible that some (appears to be the older accounts from comments seen here) aren't as badly treated as others.

I'm a network manager at a school and we see the same problems all the time with students e-mailing work to/from hotmail and it never arriving at the school's e-mail system - anything we send outbound is accepted by Hotmail's SMTP servers (with a 250 OK) but occasionally never arrives in the user's accounts. I've done some testing and it did appear to be partially dependant on the client used (Outlook 2003 vs Outlook Web Access (Exchange's webmail) and it was dropping the OWA ones more) but nothing consistent.

With inbound mail, the hotmail SMTP servers never even attempt to connect to either of our MXes, and in some cases the messages aren't even saved in the Hotmail 'Sent Items' folder.

I've not investigated the difference in reliability with attachment vs no-attachment, however it does seem to be fairly random in my experience.

I also run a small ISP, and we (and other small ISPs we've been talking to) have the same problems in sending *to* hotmail - 250 OK received, then message vanishes. The SNDS system they provide for ISPs to see what is being blocked/delivered also shows 0 blocked 0 delivered for us all - useless!


solarshingles profile image

solarshingles 8 years ago from london

I've never used it. I don't like Microsoft's software at all, even though it is such a big corporation. It have to be something very wrong with that company, if they treat their customers so badly, though.

Akira 8 years ago

Have to say I use Hotmail a lot and have very few complaints.

JonnyBRock profile image

JonnyBRock 8 years ago from New York City

This doesn't surprise me too much. What does surprise me is that anyone still uses hotmail! :)

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VinceSamios 8 years ago from Australia

Hotmail is good for one thing, and one thing only... Catching all the emails people still send to my old address....

Shannon 8 years ago

I must admit that I never liked hotmail anyways. I've always used outlook express until the past few years which I switched everything over to gmail. I absolutely love gmail. Not only does it do a wonderful job at managing emails, they also give you a load of space.


Dan 8 years ago

Hotmail is a joke! Microsoft is a joke! Just a matter of time before Apple take over and I can't wait. Been a pc users for my whole life and now I can't take anymore. Windows, Hotmail, Live, MSN and Microsoft all suck. Good hub ;-)

Hotmailuser 8 years ago

I had a hotmail account for the last 6+ years with several emails. Today suddenly I found that all my emails were DELETED from my account. I did NOT delete it.

Does anyone has any clue how this would have happened? Does Microsoft deletes emails from users account without users permission.

Your reply is highly appreciated- please reply to

John 8 years ago

Very well written, I enjoyed reading this article.

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bestimtools 8 years ago

I really welcome that big email companies try to fight spam. But very often they do it in a strange and funny way, cutting their users OFF legal possibility to get what they deserve.

I am an internet marketer and many people join my lists (surely vie double opt in procedure). And I know from my personal experience that usually an average user with Hotmail email has pretty high chances to get problems when joining the list, because Hotmail will block the automatic message sent from me to make sure that a subscriber is a real human being that wants to subscribe and get info from me and can click the confirmation link (this is what double opt in is about - these are the legal and etiquette requirements in the net).

And, Hotmail is very likely to block portion of these automatic emails that ask a potential subscriber to click the subscription activation link.

I am not the one to experience these problems. I saw that some Internet marketers even explicitely write like "If you are Hotmail user, please register us from another email account, because..."

I think big brands must keep fighting the spam and do that in a smart way. They have enough money to do that.

Thames Cruises 8 years ago

I completely agree with you. I think hotmail is a complete joke!

tcnixon profile image

tcnixon 8 years ago from California

I just had a similar problem this week with my Comcast account. No matter what the sender did, it was not going to make its way through. Finally, had to send it to my Gmail account.

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easybullet 8 years ago

this has been happening to me for years!! I KNOW FOR A FACT that certain attatchments just disappear. i notice that it happens from certain addresses only. and only at certain times. I have no idea why, but there is no postmaster and no one is the wiser. the sender believes the message is sent and the recipient hasn't a clue there was a mail for him/her.

its just another reason to not use hotmail,,, just a shame that I opened this account 9 years ago and need to keep the address!!

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 8 years ago from Toronto Author

The amazing thing is that Microsoft has never lifted a finger to fix it, which leads even more credence to the belief that it is fully intentional.

thebenro profile image

thebenro 8 years ago from Chicago

So glad i ditched hotmail years ago!

devicepedia  8 years ago

I usually use gmail and yahoo mail, but anyways, thanks for the info.

Shirley Anderson profile image

Shirley Anderson 8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Hal, I seem to get at least most of my hotmail mail, but my PAID sympatico mail doesn't reach me a lot of the time. I've had clients claim that they have never received my emails, as well.

Through hotmail though, I did receive an email from my mom a week after she died. Don't think that didn't creep me out a little.

me 7 years ago

I myself have never experienced a single problem with hotmail going on 9 yrs now

maybe i'm lucky, who knows, I have sent an email on yahoo occasionally an it seemed to take forever I use both, but primarily the yahoo addy is used for website registrations and the like, better spam filters

ajparker profile image

ajparker 7 years ago from North Carolina

I used to use hotmail on occasion, but there were too many annoyances with it. Mistagged junk was just one of the headaches I remember with it.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Yeah, it's hard to believe that it's as bad as it is... still after all these years!

Postmaster 7 years ago

I still think that hotmail is the best provider on email service,

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Good. You're entitled to your opinion even though there is no evidence whatsoever to support it. :)

Cindy 7 years ago

I use Qwest DSL and they use hotmail to run their emails - so paid, but still hotmail!

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Wow, that's a great reason to ditch Qwest! :)

Kosovar 7 years ago

Listen guys

If you want to Send an email with a picture or any document.Before you send the file Compress (Zip) the file,and then Atach it to your Hotmail and it's ready to be sent.

This is a very simple step,and your E-mail is sent,and you will never see any Delivery Failure in your Hotmail.

It's a safe way,so Give it a try.I allways do it in this way,and No Delivery Failure will be there.

Best Regards : Lulzim Abdyli ; Rep. Kosovo

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Completely erroneous. Zipping files does not give them any better chance of being delivered.

Johannes 7 years ago

Hi Hal,

Thank you for your post.

I added a reference to it in an article I just wrote.

(Drop me a line in case you don’t like being linked!)


10 reasons why not to use Hotmail:

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Hi Johannes, by all means, thanks for the link! :)

AlanSwenson profile image

AlanSwenson 7 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

This is why I do not use hotmail!!! Microsoft hates human beings.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author


adorababy profile image

adorababy 6 years ago from Syracuse, NY

Thank you for the heads up. I do not actually use hotmail because it's very difficult to sign up for an account.

imnotrich 6 years ago

Some years ago hotmail deleted the contents of my entire inbox - but it didn't appear in my trash. Tech support tried to say that I had done it. WRONG!

The insidious thing about missing e-mails, besides the fact they leave no trace is...who has those photos and attachments now and what are they doing with them?

Next, you should check gmail's file attachment disappearance rate. I had 6 of them disappear this weekend, but at least the recipient got the empty e-mail so we knew to try again.

Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

All the majors are guilty of this to some extent. I have been contemplating doing a massive test with all the majors with thousands of emails sent from four separate IPs located all over the world. We'll see if I get around to it what the results will be.

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