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Microsoft's Office365 Limits Emails To 500 Recipients 183

Posted by timothy
from the he's-not-heavy-he's-my-recipient dept.
suraj.sun writes "ZDNet's Ed Bott warns small businesses that if you sign up with Microsoft's Office 365, make sure you read the fine print carefully as an obscure clause in the terms of service limits the number of recipients you're allowed to contact in a day, which could affect the business very badly. Office 365's small business accounts (P1 plan) are limited to 500 recipients per 24 hours and enterprise accounts are limited to 1500. That's a limitation of 500 recipients during a single day. And the limitation doesn't apply to unique recipients. It's not hard to imagine scenarios in which a small business can bump up against that number."
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Microsoft's Office365 Limits Emails To 500 Recipients

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  • There aren't really a lot of good things to say about this.

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      There aren't really a lot of good things to say about this.

      It might reduce some of the corporate junk mail we get.

      • by digitig (1056110)
        Doubt it. There are plenty of other tools for spammers to use.
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

          Doubt it. There are plenty of other tools for spammers to use.

          Yeah, you're right. I'm always looking for a bright side.

          Maybe Microsoft is trying to force their Office365 customers to upgrade from the small business plan to the enterprise plan, which kind of sucks.

          Other "office-in-the-cloud" companies also limit the number of recipients to 500, but only per each email, not for the whole day. I wouldn't be surprised if this had more to do with a poorly thought-out policy than any plan to hold back small bus

          • by tehcyder (746570)

            Maybe Microsoft is trying to force their Office365 customers to upgrade from the small business plan to the enterprise plan, which kind of sucks.

            Microsoft can't force businesses to use Office365 full stop, so this is a real non issue.

      • by interval1066 (668936) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @04:16PM (#37805898) Homepage Journal
        If you're a spam cannon you're not using Office to blast those emails, if you have half a brain. A simple spam mill is using a linux MTA and a perl script connected to a MySQL db filled with culled email lists. This will have not effect on spam. I seriously doubt that's the intent with this stupid limitation.
        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          Has anybody else been getting spam from friends that use yahoo? Now I'm no security expert but from what I've been able to gather this is their MO. They get the user to load the page in Firefox (doesn't seem to work in Chromium, don't know about IE as i don't have a test bed set up ATM), usually by offering a porn video (seems to be hitting the tube sites pretty heavily) which then I believe (not sure of exact mechanism ) loads a hidden iFrame that logs in to the Yahoo and puts a standard spam message (chec

          • They have that...
            Go into the preferences, select "block flash", "apply these restrictions to whitelisted sites too" and "show a placeholder for blocked ...."
            Works like a charm, for me anyway.

        • If you're a spam cannon you're not using Office to blast those emails, if you have half a brain.

          You've never met a Sales manager at a medium business, have you?

          • by mjwx (966435)

            If you're a spam cannon you're not using Office to blast those emails, if you have half a brain.

            You've never met a Sales manager at a medium business, have you?

            Unfortunately I have.

            I had a limit of 40 recipients on my Exchange server. When the Sales drones complained I told them to use the CRM system that we paid umpteen thousand dollars for (this is pretty much what it was bought for). Only one didn't get the message, he would continue to Spam 300 people through outlook, 40 recipients at a time.

            Hell, we even had a command line mailer used by the marketing staff, you'd drop in an xls with email addresses in column 1 and first names in column 2 and your email

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      As I read it ("The maximum number of recipients that can receive e-mail messages sent from a single cloud-based mailbox in a 24 hour period."), this is a 500 recipient/day limit for each individual mailbox, not the entire account. Unless "mailbox" changes meaning when it's combined by the "cloud" buzzword.

      • by canajin56 (660655) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @06:01PM (#37806394)
        Yes, that is what the documentation says. But Microsoft tech support says "per organization", and the people who had the problem said that when they hit the limit, the entire company was shut off, not just the one employee.
      • "Unless "mailbox" changes meaning when it's combined by the "cloud" buzzword."

        It must be.

        In my book a "mailbox" has nothing to do with sending emails but with *recieving and storing* them.

        It's true that *usually* there's a one to one mapping between mail accounts (auth) and mailboxes (mail address incoming storage) but there's nothing forcing that to be the case.

        I for one own a single account on a server with about half a dozen mailboxes for different mail addresses within.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 22, 2011 @04:14PM (#37805882)

      Wait a minute. I'm a manager, and I've been reading a lot of case studies and watching a lot of webcasts about The Cloud. Based on all of this glorious marketing literature, I, as a manager, have absolutely no reason to doubt the safety of any data put in The Cloud.

      The case studies all use words like "secure", "MD5", "RSS feeds" and "encryption" to describe the security of The Cloud. I don't know about you, but that sounds damn secure to me! Some Clouds even use SSL and HTTP. That's rock solid in my book.

      And don't forget that you have to use Web Services to access The Cloud. Nothing is more secure than SOA and Web Services, with the exception of perhaps SaaS. But I think that Cloud Services 2.0 will combine the tiers into an MVC-compliant stack that uses SaaS to increase the security and partitioning of the data.

      My main concern isn't with the security of The Cloud, but rather with getting my Indian team to learn all about it so we can deploy some first-generation The Cloud applications and Web Services to provide the ultimate platform upon which we can layer our business intelligence and reporting, because there are still a few verticals that we need to leverage before we can move to The Cloud 2.0.

    • Actually I want to be able to set the limit lower. I don't send to more than 20 people on any given day. But a couple times my email accounts have been hijacked and used to send to 300+ people. If I could have set a limit to 20 that would have been great. Then had a secondary password for overriding the limit on any given day.

      Essentially this policy should be translated as "We aren't a mailing list host. If you want to be a mailing list feel free to use Constant Contact."

      • by TheLink (130905)
        Workaround is to send to 480 nonexistent accounts at the start of the day ;).
    • It's a fantastic idea for non-mailbombers (and I don't mean that in a negative way). Consider...

      If the O365 is a constant source of crapflood, some may blacklist it... or more likely, the headers will be scored highly in their bayes corpus. It's no different than the reputation problem that MessageLabs has - they are hostage to their worst behaving customer - but MS has hopefully realized that whitelisting is a horrible workaround, and is taking steps to avoid recipients needing to whitelist (which we wil

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      Sure there is, you have PLENTY of choices! you can pay to upgrade (what MSFT hopes for) or you can use LibreOffice, or even Koffice which now runs on Windows too i do believe, or Google docs, and i'm sure there are plenty of others.

      I'm sure i'll get hate for this but its the truth, we've seen the "one size fits all" approach and it sucks because what you get is Apple, the most expensive version or none at all. I've seen plenty of small businesses using Windows Home Premium and why not? The features in Pro

    • by RingDev (879105)

      If you are working a 16 hour day, that's 1 email per 2 minutes, all day long.

      I work with folks who blow through emails all day, pulling 12 hour days working between US, Brazil, EU, SE Asia, and Australia, and none of them would hit the 500 recipient cap.

      Unless you're spamming advertisements through your email server, which really, there are significantly better options for anyway, you're not going to have an issue.

      -Rick

      • by cbhacking (979169)

        Unless, you know, you're sending emails to your 20-person team. Then suddenly that's only 25 emails per day.

        For what it's worth, I've been known to send over 50 emails in a day, and while they probably weren't to an average of ten people each (unless you count distribution list expansions, which I hope they don't), they were certainly to an average of at least four or five recipients. That puts me halfway to the limit, and I'm by no means the most active email user I know.

        • by RingDev (879105)

          Use distribution groups, when you sent the email, it's only getting sent to one address, the target email server will handle the resolution of the distribution group to individual email addresses.

          And second, 50 emails a day, each with 4 recipients, where none of those recipients are repeated? That's a bit of a stretch isn't it?

          I mean, I send a lot of emails in a day to a lot of people, but I'll often be CC'ing the same PM's, Analysts, SMEs, developers, managers, etc... Yeah, an email to Brazil will go to 4

          • by wazza (16772)

            And second, 50 emails a day, each with 4 recipients, where none of those recipients are repeated? That's a bit of a stretch isn't it?

            Just to clear up this one point - O365 counts *all* recipients towards the limit, not unique recipients.

    • by tehcyder (746570)
      Yes, evil Microsoft have made it impossible for small businesses to use email other than through Office365. Oh, wait..
  • I guess they want to limit it to avoid spammers to use their service. However, 500 outgoing mails can be limiting if you have more than 10 employees.

    • Only the police and military should be allowed to send more than 500 emails.
    • by arth1 (260657)

      It's not 500 e-mails. It's 500 recipients.
      Say you send a morning update to four teams of 20 people, that's 80 right there. Then you send out an announcement to the building that there will be a fire alert test - easily 120 people. It's now 8:30 AM, and you've used up 200 of your 500. On two e-mails.

      • I think the 500 limit policy is stupid, but couldn't you save a whole lot of trouble by using mailing lists?
        • by mikesd81 (518581)
          If it's 500 recipients total, wouldn't a mail list actually just sent to those 500 emails with one click?
          • "If it's 500 recipients total, wouldn't a mail list actually just sent to those 500 emails with one click?"

            Surely yes... only it wouldn't be 500 recipients (only one, the list server address).

      • by mikesd81 (518581)
        Couldn't these be sent via an internal mail server? Would they go against the 500 mail limit?
        • by mcmonkey (96054)

          There is no internal mail server. This replaces the internal mail server.

          • by mikesd81 (518581)
            I understand that, but couldn't internal emails go through an internal server? The article didn't mention if it was just external or if it was internal and external.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 22, 2011 @03:39PM (#37805636)

    Google Apps has similar limits: 500 external recipients per day for free users. 3000 external recipients if you have a biz or edu account.

    Sending limits: http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=166852

    • by jklovanc (1603149)

      Check out the lower half of the page you linked. There are ways around the Google limit. I didn't see any on the Microsoft description.

    • by swillden (191260)

      Google Apps has similar limits: 500 external recipients per day for free users. 3000 external recipients if you have a biz or edu account.

      Sending limits: http://www.google.com/support/a/bin/answer.py?answer=166852 [google.com]

      Not really.

      • Google's limit is 3000 vs 500.
      • Google's limit is per user, Microsoft's is per domain. This means one user sending a lot of e-mail can shut down e-mail for the whole company.
      • Google's limit applies only to external addresses. There is no limit on e-mails within the domain.
      • Google offers multiple ways to work around the limit, including using mailing lists (Google Groups), buying a 3rd party App Engine mail-sending app (or writing one), or using your own SMTP server.

      It's also worth noting tha

  • by syousef (465911) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @03:44PM (#37805680) Journal

    ...where the customer is the commodity.

    You really think outsourcing something as basic as being able to compose an email or a word processing document or spreadsheet is a good idea? The stupidity boggles the mind. Yeah, let's increase the number of ways you're always at the mercy of your service providers and see what that does for your "core business".

    Lesson is don't be lazy. Unless it's a specialised service that requires something special or you really can live with outages, host it your damn self.

    • by msobkow (48369) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @05:37PM (#37806300) Homepage Journal

      Didn't the old services like AOL used to restrict the number of messages you could send? I don't remember for sure, but I seem to recall people complaining about something like that.

      The first release of any service has to start with some sort of limitation on what users can do in order to throttle the service volume while they work out what users actual needs are and what it's really costing to serve those needs. But you have to start somewhere to get out the door.

      I remember the same arguments being raised 20 years ago when people were shifting workloads from mainframes and VAXes to the new-fangled early Unix systems and PCs. Who in their right mind would risk losing it all to a disk crash? Unix systems are unreliable!

      I don't agree with putting everything on the cloud myself, and I hate it's very name (it's nothing more than a geographically distributed server cluster -- nothing new to the international businesses I've programmed for over the years.) But I digress...

      You can buy a software package, install it locally, do your own backups, and comfort yourself that you're in total control. Or you can choose to outsource your services and storage, sign up for a service level agreement, and let someone else take care of it. Either approach has risks, and it's up to the user or business to decide which are more important risks to cover.

      Most businesses don't want a local tech support team -- it's not what their core business is. Sorry, but the glory days of hiding out in the office of a mom & pop business hacking away at the systems and software are coming to an end. Those jobs are being outsourced and serviced. Did you think programmers were immune to change?

      I don't like it any more than anyone else. I enjoyed writing batch processing and other striaght forward C code, but the 4GLs and reporting tools hit the market and those jobs went away. So started working with Oracle and embedded SQL, eventually branching out into Oracle DBA work and performance tuning. Then the East Indian contractors moved in to the Florida market and cut the rates too low for survival, so I had to change "careers" again. I did Neuron Data GUI development until the technology died, and I had to change again. You can check my resume data at Masterbranch if you're really curious where it went from there.

      Life is change. You don't get a choice about whether you adapt -- the world will change with or without your approval.

      • by BitZtream (692029)

        Didn't the old services like AOL used to restrict the number of messages you could send?

        Depends on your definition of 'restrict'.

        AOL used to be warez central ;)

        You could only have like 20-25 recipients per message, but that was the limit. You just forwarded the last message you sent to another 20-25 people.

    • That's fine for larger organizations, but for medium/small organizations that's hardly a fair argument. I happen to live in an area where there are maybe 5 people that could competently run a mail server of any size, 2 of which I trust and one of them is me. There just isn't enough talent out here for everyone to host their own email. So either they go with out email, or they externally host.

      • " I happen to live in an area where there are maybe 5 people that could competently run a mail server of any size"

        As if there were the slightest need for your mail service administrator to live anywhere near a 2000 miles radius from your place.

    • by jmd82 (654533)
      If only it were that easy. I work at a school of 600+ students as the sole IT person and we went with Google Apps 2 years ago and it was probably the single best decision I ever made. The amount of work and stress not hosting an in-house e-mail server relieved was enormous. If you can have people dedicated just to the server stuff, ya, I see your point. But not every organization has the luxury of employing enough IT staff to adequately run all services in-house.
    • by afabbro (33948)

      These posts express my own personal views, not those of my employer

      Since you're anonymous and we don't know who your employer is, you're just being pretentious.

      • by syousef (465911)

        These posts express my own personal views, not those of my employer

        Since you're anonymous and we don't know who your employer is, you're just being pretentious.

        Nothing to do with being pretentious. We've been asked to clarify that any post we make online is our own personal opinion. Nothing wrong with doing what your employer asks.

        Now did you have a point to make or were you just trolling?

  • by Meshach (578918) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @03:45PM (#37805686)
    The actual limit is 500 emails per day per recipient [1] [zdnet.com]. Still not optimal but much harder to run into for smaller businesses.
    • by djmurdoch (306849)

      The actual limit is 500 emails per day per recipient

      That's not what their documentation says. It says

      The maximum number of recipients that can receive e-mail messages sent from a single cloud-based mailbox in a 24 hour period.

      and then lists various limits, including the 500 recipients per day for the small business product. Read it for yourself. [outlook.com]

      • Mod parent up!!!

        Also worth noting that this can easily affect a decently sized business for internal communication unless worked around. To quote that same page:

        Note For distribution groups stored in the shared address book, the group is counted as one recipient. For distribution groups stored in the Contacts folder of a mailbox, the members of the group are counted individually.

        For example, we have 60ish branches, each has it's own group. Often when we send out company wide stuff, or 'everybody but the corporate office' notices, the message will get sent to 60+ internal groups. Granted we should have an 'all' group, with tight restrictions, but we don't. Imagine if our helpdesk has a critical system they're notifying eve

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      If you count the various mailing lists I'm subscribed to, I've certainly received far over 500 mails in a day. Mind you, that's in an organization with tens ouf thousands of employees - easily big enough that, if for some reason IT wanted to use Office 365 (we don't; we just use Exchange and host it ourselves), we could spring for the 1500 mail option. Of course, even that might not be enough for some people.

      Bear in mind that I don't read anywhere near all that mail - most of it gets filtered automatically,

  • Office 365 costs $0.20 per day ($6/month). If sending an email is worth more to you than $0.0004, maybe you should be looking at other providers who offer similar services.
  • Swap it for something else that works.
    In this case that also includes other versions of MS Exchange.

    Fanboys that will tell me how wonderful it is should talk to somebody that has had to take care of the thing for a long period of time of read some FAQs on what to do when the thing fails. The stuff was beta for years - for about the first half dozen versions you couldn't even get a full backup suitable for bare metal restore without stopping everything and the only reason you can now is because another bit
  • FUD (Score:3, Informative)

    by localtoast (611553) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @05:20PM (#37806230) Journal
    This is to prevent spammers from being able to send mail from *.onmicrosoft.com. This is the online service, not to be confused with Office, the desktop app.
    • Perhaps then, like the 'Windows Phone', they should stop labelling it as such.

      No doubt there is a FUD in here, most likely the information source in question is not specific or needs to be taken in context. Welcome to slashdot. You must be new here? :-)

      Meanwhile, it would be nice if Lotus Notes didn't allow everyone to send emails to hundreds / thousands at once. Let alone reply to these types of emails.

      It would be good if any email program threw a message saying 'This email has 4324 recipients, are you sur

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday October 22, 2011 @05:24PM (#37806248) Homepage

    From the article: "In this case, the new CEO had sent a getting-acquainted message to 400 of the company's customers and prospects."

    "And prospects"? That's "unsolicited commercial e-mail". No opt-in. No previous commercial relationship. Just because you're a CEO doesn't mean you can spam.

    Microsoft is trying to keep their Office 360 product from becoming a spam engine, like Hotmail.

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      How do you know that there's no pre-existing relationship?

      "Sign me up for the free mailing list" does not make me a customer. "Register for free on our site to receive your free trial software" does not make me a customer. Both would be relationships where I might expect mail in this situation. It doens't necessarily mean I would want it, but it doesn't make it "unsolicited commercial e-mail" either.

    • by HiThere (15173)

      Maybe. That's a defensible reading of the term "prospects", but it's not how I read it. And 400 is a rather small number if what you're doing is a cold e-mail. So I don't think it's the correct reading. I, instead, presume a "prior commercial relationship", if only a phone call. (At 400 he didn't just buy a list of prospects. That would be in the thousands, minimum.)

  • In what universe would your mailer limit the amount of mail your company can send? It's not like it cost Microsoft any more to send it. This is a completely artificial limit to try to get you to pay more. In a perfect world this would drive everyone to a free mailer.

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Maybe if you took 10 seconds to check what you were talking about things would make more sense?

  • Unfortunately, I'm well above that 500 number mark on a daily basis. :( Not that I'd willingly use o365... Yeck.

    (What about Distribution Lists?)

  • I wonder why anyone would even consider this as an option for their business. You completely loose control of a large piece of your critical infrastructure environment and you can never really be sure that microsoft is not going to abuse the data they are maintaining. If anything Amazon EC2 outage has shown is that the cloud is not for anything critical if you depend on uptime for your business model.
    • Exactly my thoughts. I always get the creeps when somebody comes up with "let's use Google Office for accounting!"...yeah, right, what can possibly go wrong? Same goes with putting everything into the cloud. Most companies would be better off with using a small in-house server for this stuff.

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