Tag Archives: Hotmail spam

Is Hotmail Anti-Permission?

Recently, I wrote about Hotmail creating “graymail”, a term used to define that email which is sent by legitimate senders but which does not comply with the rules that Hotmail also created to identify graymail; and how Hotmail then waged a war on this graymail that they created.

Here is Hotmail’s Definition of Graymail
(my emphasis in bold)

What is graymail?

The problem with today’s inbox is that it is easy for it to get filled up with mail you don’t want. It could be newsletters you signed up for and forgot about (but keep getting), or it could be newsletters you get when you join a new service (and forgot to uncheck that pesky box that says “send me lots of email!”). Or it could even be updates you get from a social network or website. What really characterizes graymail is that the same message that one person thinks is “spam” could be really important to another person. It’s not black and white, hence the name.”

So, with this lack of definition for the term they created, Hotmail decided it would be most appropriate if they decided for you (because it is all rather obscure, really) and take control of your inbox, ironically, with or without your permission.

So, is Hotmail anti-permission? Do they honestly feel that they should be able to decide which newsletter subscriptions should or should not be delivered to your inbox?

Did you give Hotmail permission to do this?

I didn’t.

Related: Recently, I aired some of my frustrations about how antispam is becoming more annoying than spam ever was.

Hotmail Spam Filters Wage War on Baby Gray Seals on Your Behalf (I mean, Graymail)

In a bid to control what Hotmail has determined is email that you probably won’t read anyway; they have declared war on baby gray seals (I mean, Graymail).

“…In previous posts on our blog, we talked about how we’ve reduced true spam in the inbox to under 3% using SmartScreen™ filtering. But we realized that getting rid of true spam wasn’t enough, because 75% of the email messages that people reported as spam are really legitimate newsletters, offers, or notifications that you just don’t want anymore. We call this type of unwanted email graymail, and we’re excited to announce five powerful tools to help you take control of your inbox, get rid of graymail, and keep track of the email that’s important to you…”

Seriously? You “realized that getting rid of true spam wasn’t enough,” so you thought that you might as well decide (on my behalf) what newsletter subscriptions and other items in my inbox aren’t worth my time? I wonder if their own emails fall into the Gray Seal Graymail category? Or do they assume that we would of course love to receive their messages?

“I can’t help but think that Hotmail’s approach to graymail is [unfortunately] all too similar to the waiter who takes my plate away before I have a chance to finish the last few bites. Sure, he might be efficient at clearing his tables, but only at the expense of the people sitting there.” – Me

Personally, I find the whole thing a bit presumptuous of Hotmail (and other email services who do this). Listen, if I don’t want to receive my daily Gizmodo newsletter I’ll let them know, okay? Stop making me work so hard to receive email from legitimate senders, and stop making it so hard for legitimate publishers of email newsletters to get their email delivered to the inbox of their opt-in subscribers.

I understand that the Hotmail’s requirements, like an unsubscribe link in the email header, are things that legitimate senders should be are doing anyway; but you can bet that there will be false positives and mistakes which create unnecessary obstacles for legitimate senders and subsequent hassle, especially for small businesses email newsletter publishers who don’t have the resources to dedicate too much time to unnecessary delivery issues caused by Hotmail’s increasingly zealous spam filters.

Seriously, you have not right to do that.

Concentrate on the actual spam sent by actual spammers who send me email that I did not sign up for, like yours.

Tom Sather at Return Path provides a nice summary of what the new Hotmail rules means for email marketers.