Your Shout: Stop the Hotmail spammers!

Simon Moores touched on a huge wave of concern with his Thought for the Day piece "Seeing Red on Blue Hotmail" about sexually...

Simon Moores touched on a huge wave of concern with his Thought for the Day piece "Seeing Red on Blue Hotmail" about sexually explicit spam on the Microsoft e-mail service. Within hours of his piece appearing on site, our inbox was flooded with responses - overwhelmingly demanding that Microsoft should immediately take more effective action against the growing tide of spam.Many readers felt annoyed that Microsoft keeps promoting the purchase of extra space while the space problem is frequently the result of spam. Read Simon Moores' viewpoint on spam>>Below is a selection from the e-mails we received - it is a tiny fraction but accurately reflects readers' views.

I have owned my account for over five years and, even with my Junk Filter turned on, I still receive about 40 to 50 spamming e-mails a day.

I'm reluctant to change as I don't see how the problem can be solved without going to the roots of it, after all, my fairly new AOL account is already flooded with daily filth.

While it's easy to just click the 'delete' button, I'm sick and tired of the revolting filth that greets me in the morning.

No business would run unless it was profitable. So who are the people who actually respond to ridiculous spam e-mails, thus creating a revenue?

One day I'll give up all my e-mail accounts, go and live on a little tropical island. A paradise - until the first floating spam coconut arrives.

Siria Gardi-Montebugnoli

I long ago abandoned the 'exclusion' option as there were just too many different e-mail addresses for this to be an effective option. I now have my junk mail option set to 'exclusive' which means that only e-mails from addresses I have stored in my address book are delivered into my Inbox.

The disadvantage is that I have to check my junk mail regularly in case someone I know is mailing from a new e-mail address which means that I still have to wade through a ridiculous number of irritating and often offensive messages. Every day, someone attempts to persuade me that they can alleviate my debt problems, help me lose weight, show me celebrities having sex and, most perversely, given my gender, add inches to my penis.

If and when Microsoft can be persuaded to clean up its act on Hotmail, I will certainly be rejoicing!

Wendy Brown

Spam is a curse. It is bubonic plague for the PC. Spamming is an overt abuse of our privacy, and should be outlawed by the developed world.

How can anyone allow random spamming of this type, when we encourage children to have e-mail and use the Web?

Rob Orr

Hotmail is/was one of the best inventions on the Net, but spamming has now reached epidemic proportions. For a short-term fix could Microsoft do the following:

Any e-mail account that sends multiple e-mails to Hotmail with the names in alphabetical order should be blocked if that address tries to sends more than one of these multiple mails an hour. Add this to the terms and conditions maybe?

Microsoft can then send a mail to this address from ALL Hotmail users in the world saying "No Thanks" that, hopefully, might even wreck the sender's system.
The e-mails I receive are from many places, for example Yahoo!, so these providers should also not allow multiple e-mails to Hotmail from their servers

If an e-mail is that important, send it on its own!

Neil Dowdall

There are so many products that allow filtering of e-mails to individuals and groups that use the idea of specific word filtering, I am amazed that Microsoft has not incorporated that into Hotmail. One proviso to this facility is the ability of users to create and amend their own settings.

Everyone has a different level of acceptance for e-mail content and it is not unusual to pass jokes and funnies with suggestive language that are welcomed by the user. Therefore this facility has to be an add-on to the existing junk mail settings, rather than a Microsoft decision.

Like you, I am very restrictive on the use of Hotmail with my children, but having also set my 70(ish)-year-old parents up to use it while living in Cyprus, I am finding it awkward explaining this bombardment of rubbish to their inbox.

Toni Hunter

Rather that imploring Microsoft to improve their product and service, why not incite users to make full use of the competition? That would be certainly the most effective way of getting the overall webmail offering to improve, and avoid facilitating the emergence of yet another Microsoft dominance.

Pascal Guignabaudet

I am sure Microsoft could take some sort of a lead, and provide a 'filtering' service that eliminates 'possible' spam - people could then apply this filter 'at their own risk' of missing genuine e-mails, but at least the option would be there.

Or perhaps it should be the default option - people could then 'opt out' of the filtering if they were worried about missing vital mail.

Ian Buxton

Microsoft should extend its spam filter to include some form of parental control mechanism. That should be easy to achieve given its resources.

It would also need to include a graphics filter as well, as HTML messages now send the text as an image to get around text-based filters.

Chris Lilley

The spam problem is bad and getting worse every day.

I personally do not, and will never, buy any product or visit any website that advertises using spam. This, as far as I can see, is the only way to actually stop spam, by making it economically unfeasible. Such a boycott would be more effective if there was some method of advertising such a position, so the spammers could see that using spam for their marketing campaign will cost them a significant percentage of their market.

Somehow the marketroids that are using spam have to be convinced of the message that spam is an unwarranted and unacceptable intrusion on our lives, and it is not a valid method of promoting their product or website.

Trying to control spam through litigation is, ultimately, doomed to failure because of the nature of the Internet. Litigation does not, and cannot, work on Internet related issues because the Internet is a global resource and litigation is a national constraint. There will always be a national jurisdiction prepared to allow spam in return for a healthy donation to its coffers or infrastructure.

Marcus Holmes

Simon Moores is absolutely right to be incensed over this aspect of Hotmail - one reason why I don't use it.
However he is absolutely wrong about it NOT being a security issue! Of course it is!
If Microsoft took security seriously (despite their protestations that they do) then they would make it easier for ordinary individuals to keep their communications and personal details truly private. Ensuring that the DEFAULT for any personal information is "Hidden".
They would also provide some better means of ensuring that only legitimate, traceable users were given e-mail addresses and prevent the nonsense that goes on with the "Name Generation" engines that are used to produce Spam addresses.
How difficult would it be for Microsoft, AOL & Yahoo! alone with all their skills and market presence to set up an anti-spamming team to monitor e-mails to "dummy" but legitimate addresses of its own and pursue those people to the utmost. In the process they could enlist the help of their other fellow ISPs to instigate similar processes.
Come on Microsoft, AOL & Yahoo! - you may be commercial competitors, but you are all equal (and, apparently, willing) victims of the spammers. By apathy you perpetuate that victimisation and worse convey it onwards to your users. Between just you three a very serious dent could be put in the spammers' antics if the right approach were taken.
Let's see something serious done by the professional end of the market to significantly reduce, if not destroy, the spammers' intrusions into our lives.
The lack of seriousness with which Microsoft treats spammers may be reflected in the fact that although Spam (as in the food) and spamming are recognised in its Outlook spell checker, "spammers" is not!!
Bob Lewis.

Simon Moores' problem is obviously the use of his personal name. He has identified his own problem and can remedy it by creating a non-name e-mail address.
Joseph Molloy

What a fantastic piece!  I have the same love for Hotmail and Messenger as Simon Moores has - and the same complaint!  What a waste of such a widely used set of tools and chance to breed goodwill towards Microsoft, by allowing them to be abused and, therefore, unused.
Dylan Fedy

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