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Microsoft Spam IT

Hotmail's Spam Filter: The Best In the Business? 182

Posted by samzenpus
from the let-the-flaming-begin dept.
Barence writes "Microsoft claims an "independent" report proves it has the best spam protection in the industry — an argument deconstructed by PC Pro. 'Our own internal metrics, customer feedback, and even a recent third-party report confirms that no mail service offers better protection than Hotmail,' Microsoft's Dick Craddock wrote in a Windows Live blog post earlier this week."
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Hotmail's Spam Filter: The Best In the Business?

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  • by shuz (706678) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:25PM (#39052003) Homepage Journal
    When you are the source.
    • by ackthpt (218170)

      When you are the source.

      Haven't logged into my Hotmail account in about 8 years... wonder what's in there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ski9826 (2541112)
        Most likely nothing - isn't a hotmail account switched off (easily reactivated) if it is not logged into for 90 days?
        • by sortius_nod (1080919) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @09:06PM (#39054151) Homepage

          Not so. If you use ANY other passport account attached to your hotmail it stays active. I checked mine the other day for the first time in about 1 year... Over 1000 spam mails.

          No fucking idea where MS gets their data from. With gmail I get 1 spam message through the filter once every few months if that, looks like hotmail is closer to 100 per month. I smell astroturfing.

          • I have to say... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by fyngyrz (762201) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @09:32PM (#39054455) Homepage Journal

            Google, for all its email faults, (and it has some real doozies -- some of them drive me batty) hasn't thrown a good email into spam in many months. I probably see an actual spam in the inbox perhaps once a week, which I delight in marking as spam to help other gmail users. That's pretty darned good; I compulsively check both the inbox and the spambox, and I am *extremely* satisfied with Google's ability to discriminate.

            I haven't used Hotmail in years, so it's impossible for me to say they're better or worse, but I am dead certain that Google is "good enough" here.

            • by whoop (194)

              All this talk, so I decided to dig through my GMail accounts and find a hotmail account I created long ago. I created it May 5, 2009. I used it for a month or two and haven't logged in (hundreds of spam in a brief time) since. I tried to log in now, reset the password, etc., and it says there is no such account. So I think they fixed their spam filters by just deleting my account. Miraculous!

            • About a year ago I switched to privately owned email but untill tehn I think yahoo was actually the best mail filter. I have an account there from when they first rolled out webmail and for the last 3-4 years I was getting, maybe, a couple spam & phishing mails a year in my inbox. Occasionally though yahoo would flag some legit newsletters as spam.

              • About a year ago I switched to privately owned email but untill tehn I think yahoo was actually the best mail filter. I have an account there from when they first rolled out webmail and for the last 3-4 years I was getting, maybe, a couple spam & phishing mails a year in my inbox. Occasionally though yahoo would flag some legit newsletters as spam.

                I ran afoul of the Yahoo spam filter earlier this week. Our club took pictures of attendees at the recent motorcycle show and collected their email addresses so we could send them the pictures. After I sent several to people with Yahoo addresses, Yahoo started bouncing every one back. (One result of that is that the gmail account I was using also got locked down by Google, but that's a different issue.) I have to send an email to Yahoo users and ask them to reply. I reply to their reply with the attachment

                • Well, that's a side of the filter coin that I luckily never witnessed. I guess the most obvious reason is that my contact emailing was relatively attachment free. It sure would suck though.

            • by Cimexus (1355033)

              Yep, I use both Hotmail and Gmail regularly. Gmail is awesome - maybe 1 spam a month ends up in the inbox, and it never puts 'good' mail in the Spam folder.

              Hotmail OTOH appears not to even have a functioning spam filter. Nothing's ever in mine, everything ends up in the inbox (and yes I've checked my filter settings). Plenty of spam there too.

          • by g0bshiTe (596213)
            I was going to say this about gmail over hotmail. I have had a hotmail account since there was a hotmail, I stopped using it for a year, this was pre-passport crap and the spam I was getting stopped after I had logged back into the account. Within days if it being active I started receiving spam again. This was without giving out that email address to anyone or site, people who had it prior are the only ones that knew of it.
      • by almitydave (2452422) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:52PM (#39052499)

        Back in 2003 or so I gave up on my Hotmail account because if I didn't clear out the spam every 3 days, it would fill up my mailbox and delete all my older (read: personal and legitimate) email messages. This was when a free account only included 2MB of storage. After losing all my email a couple times over a period of several months, I gave up on it. I think I maxed out the number of custom filters you could have with attempts to delete junk automatically, which gave me maybe one more day.

        I switched to Yahoo and eventually Gmail, and on the latter I receive one or two junk messages per day. False positives are rare, and spam NEVER gets to my inbox. Of course, the same day I signed up for Gmail, I started getting spam, before I ever even used the address anywhere.

        • by Tsingi (870990)
          I gave up on Hotmail after losing all my mail. I guess you could say that there was no spam either.
        • I gave up on hotmail when M$ took my account away from me because I didn't log in frequently enough.

          Of course that's because they were clogging my inbox with spam of their own suggesting that I buy more space.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:40PM (#39052291)

      True.

      Where I work, a small 10K student college, the majority of spam that we see originates from either hotmail or yahoo servers (from received headers). Yahoo even signs the spam coming from their servers).

      Majority of spam links point to "live" urls (another [apparently poorly managed] M$ asset.

      Google seems to know how to control their infrastructure. Although a lot of reply address go to gmail accounts.

      • My girlfriend keeps receiving spam mail from the Yahoo account of one of her deceased friends. Apparently the account has been compromised. Such a bummer.

        • Well, if the friend is deceased, she might as well just block them, since I doubt they'll be sending any legitimate emails from beyond the grave. Probably be a better solution than being bummed out every time her friend emails her about male enhancement or hot christian singles.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @09:00PM (#39054085)

          True Story.

          A few years ago a close friend died. It was pretty difficult to deal with actually. Shortly before the funeral I was in front of my computer, and in tears. I remember saying out loud that I just wished I could talk with him one more time.

          An email came in that second from him. I stared at it for a minute or two and then opened it up. It was just some chit chat about what were going to do later in the week and thanking me for something.

          Got stuck due to some DNS/Mail server error and took 4 days to make it out of his servers to mine.

          Not being particularly religious I thought that was a miracle given the timing. I could rationalize all the tech stuff, but the timing of that message will always amaze me.

    • ROFL!! I keep seeing rejects in my mailserver log from Hotmail addressed to spamtraps that were only exposed in Usenet messages back in '02-'05, and if I do change rules to accept Hotmail sourced messages, they always turn out to be Nigerian confidence scams. Microsoft can just step the heck away from the podium.

    • by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@ g m a i l.com> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @08:31PM (#39053691) Journal
      I'd say the more relevant question is "Is there enough of a difference to care?" because if you are stopping 99.8% and the other guys are stopping 99.7% and 99.6% frankly to the user at home there won't be any real measurable difference. It kinda reminds me of my "must win teh benches!" gamer customers, really are you gonna be able to tell the difference between 143FPS and 152FPS in MW3? of course not. I've used all three and frankly they have all become quite good at stopping spam and I honestly can't think of the last time i saw a spam mail in any of my inboxes, so who cares if MSFT stopped 1 more spam per 100,000 than the other guys?
  • by ski9826 (2541112) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:27PM (#39052053)
    Hotmail's spam protection is awful! I get about 15-20 spam messages/day and about one every couple of months on my gmail account.
    • by chrisj_0 (825246)
      2nd gmail... It even calls my legit pr0n email spam... which is actually quite annoying.
    • I'd have to agree. I only use my hotmail account for msn and only my msn contacts have the address. Still I get 1-2 spam mails a month. On gmail, only 2 spam mails got through the filter since 2005 and I've been using that address heavily.
    • by Voyager529 (1363959) <(moc.oohay) (ta) (925regayov)> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @08:22PM (#39053607)

      To be fair, the blog post seems to indicate that they're extolling their progress on the reverse. They're saying their best-in-industry as far as delivering the least amount of spam to hotmail inboxes, not whether hotmail addresses are the source of spam elsewhere.

      That said, I have an e-mail address at basically every major mail service (gmail, yahoo, aim/aol, mail.com, a hosted exchange account, and hotmail). The only spam I get in Hotmail actually lands in my spam box, and there really isn't much of it to speak of.

      I know that this is gonna be a smidge off-topic and paint me as a Microsoft shill, but I'm really not...Hotmail's notoriety was deserved in the 1990's, but unfortunately Microsoft has attached the poisoned name to a good product (which is why I opt to use live.com instead). MS really did well with integrating Hotmail, Skydrive, and Office Web Apps. Get a Word document as an attachment? open it on the spot without downloading, edit, and reply. Save to Skydrive to access it from basically anything. All three work as well in Chrome and Firefox as they do in IE (Opera support is a bit stubborn, admittedly), and doesn't require silverlight. The UI looks a lot like Outlook, sharing files via a link is piss simple (and gives options to share via Facebook and gives different links for read only and r/w access), and the ads aren't terribly intrusive. Yes, I fully credit Gmail and Google Docs for pushing Microsoft to the point where they've made a suite of web apps that are worth using. However, if you haven't visited a Windows Live account in the past year to see how genuinely nice it is to use...it's worth an objective look.

    • by UPi (137083) on Thursday February 16, 2012 @05:12AM (#39057349) Homepage

      It you think hotmail is bad for receiving messages, try sending e-mail to a hotmail box as a small independent mail server or website.

      What you will find is that hotmail randomly drops your messages. No bounce message, no error, it's not even put in the freaking junk mail folder, it's just plain gone. Have they even heard of RFC 821?? (And yes, you have jumped through all the hoops: you have proper HELO, rdns, spf...)

      Then you try to complain to the standard postmaster account, as is a standard and required practice. OK, haha, you didn't really think that would work, did you? Instead, you have to go through customer service, with support drones who ask more and more information from you FOR WEEKS, and never resolve your issue. Infuriating.

    • Hotmail's spam protection is awful! I get about 15-20 spam messages/day and about one every couple of months on my gmail account.

      Hotmail's spam protection doesn't stop the spam, it simply filters it into your junk mail folder. If you get 15-20 spam email and it all goes into you junk mail folder then the spam filter is working correctly.

  • no difference (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mvar (1386987) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:29PM (#39052087)
    I have accounts in both hotmail and gmail with about the same "exposure" on the internet and can't say i've seen any difference
    • by matazar (1104563)

      This, not that I really use either service but I haven't seen much of a difference between the two.
      It matter more where and how you use your e-mail than what spam filter you use. That and everyones definition of spam is different.

    • by bardyc (2503380)
      The difference is most likely on the "sending" spam end. What better metrics can be provided than "who blocks the most of our mail?".
      It is interesting from the viewpoint of the spammer vs. regular guy. The spammer is going to tell you that delivering to yahoo is hard (I know, it sounds ridiculous) and hotmail seems to be very easy until you realize they are just throwing your email into nothing. If hotmail really thinks you are a spammer, they send you a "200 OK" response after you are done sending your m
    • by c0lo (1497653)

      I have accounts in both hotmail and gmail with about the same "exposure" on the internet and can't say i've seen any difference

      I think I can help: just give me the two email addresses and tell me in which one you want more spam.

      (duck)

    • by NotBorg (829820)

      Exposure is not really variable 1 to 100 type thing. It's more like a 0 or 1 type thing. If you've exposed your address to one spammer you've very likely exposed yourself to all of them and they don't forget. It's probably next to impossible to not expose your email address to spammers. It's not worth the effort to conceal it.

      I worry more about exposing it to half wit Internet trolls than I do exposing it to spammers.

  • with only one or two pieces showing up in the junk folder every couple weeks. I've been using Hotmail(Live) for a few years now.
    • by Idbar (1034346)
      Well, mine too, but that may be because I have my email filtered so only e-mails from people in my contact list should reach me.

      Not too long ago however, spammers managed to send me e-mails from me, and all of them got through. I haven't seen those in a while.
    • Same here. Been using Hotmail since 1998 and I've noticed the spam has decreased quite a bit over the years. Nowadays I might get 1 or 2 a day and they're almost always in the bulk mail folder.

  • by landofcleve (1959610) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:30PM (#39052125)
    bought a penis pump, ordered synthetic Viagra or sent money to Nigeria are automatically exempt from this study.
    • by sjwest (948274)

      Or bought email lists of out of date whois data, and use thisisfake.email@something.tld and then try and use that list via hotmail of top billionaire business contacts.

      You thought logwatch was boring ?

  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:33PM (#39052163)
    No one reads it any how, so just assume its all spam. Presto, 100% effective spam filtering.
    • by tool462 (677306)

      Funny, yes, but this is roughly what I do. Hotmail has a setting to send all email to your junk folder. I have that enabled then whitelist any individual email addresses that I do actually care to see. Since I had such an issue with spam on this account, I now use it exclusively for places I expect to get spammed from. Web forums, and various other non-trustworthy sources. Helps keep my real accounts clean since there's no cross pollination.

  • Idle? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:34PM (#39052189) Homepage

    You're kidding, right?

    Hotmail's spam filter is the worst in the business. It frequently places confuses spam and ham and what is worse is that sometimes it seems to think I'm on the mailing list of said spam list and automatically displays the content.

    What staggers me is the number of phishing attempts that get into the spam folder, they should even be getting that far.

    The only thing Hotmail is useful for is signing up for things that are almost certainly going to send spam.

    • by Ksevio (865461)
      Even worse, they tend to blacklist blocks of IPs, so I've been having problems where users aren't get activation emails when they sign up for my forum. The messages don't even go to the junk folder, they just get bounced back.
    • by strack (1051390)
      it put my legit diablo 3 beta invitation in the spam bin, so fuck that shit. luckily i regularly check my spam and i caught it.
  • by 1800maxim (702377) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:35PM (#39052195)
    Let me be among the first to chime in... Their spam filter sucks big time.

    For the past 6-8 months (or more), I've been getting spam for all sorts of services that originate from the same sender. They use the SAME template! It's just a series of images, with THE ONLY TEXT being "Can't see Images? Click here". I marked such sh!t as Junk countless times, only to come back the next day to seeing some of the same ones in my Junk filter, some in my Inbox.

    It doesn't matter that the subject line is the same - advertising for Match.com or some other crap, even though I mark it as Junk, apparently Hotmail does not even pretend to do anything about it. Same subject line, same template with images only.

    THIS IS BASIC SPAM FILTER 101, if there is no address, or Unsubscribe in the newsletter, or a poor text to image ratio, IT IS SPAM! What the hell is their spam team researching?

    And it has the most worthless spam configuration settings: all off, the useless "ON" setting, or the idiotic "exclusive" from your contacts only.
    • by lakeland (218447) <lakeland@acm.org> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:44PM (#39052383) Homepage

      Maybe you're in their spam filter's control group?

    • by mjwx (966435)

      THIS IS BASIC SPAM FILTER 101, if there is no address, or Unsubscribe in the newsletter, or a poor text to image ratio, IT IS SPAM! What the hell is their spam team researching?

      Also if you cant pass it through a spell checker without too many errors, it's also spam.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        That's going to be troublesome for people like me who are routinely receiving mails in various languages (for me: English, Dutch, German, Chinese). Or mails that are multi-lingual, including the above but sometimes also random other languages such as parts in Russian, Polish, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, just to name a few.

        • by mjwx (966435)

          That's going to be troublesome for people like me who are routinely receiving mails in various languages (for me: English, Dutch, German, Chinese). Or mails that are multi-lingual, including the above but sometimes also random other languages such as parts in Russian, Polish, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, just to name a few.

          Do you mean to tell me there are no spell checkers for Dutch, German, Chinese, Polish, Russian, Korean, Vietnamese and Japanese?

          However do they survive?

          • by wvmarle (1070040)

            Of course there are spell checkers for those languages too. But not for Chinese et.al. (as there is no spelling to check).

            The problem is: you will have to install spell checkers for every single language that you may possibly get; and can't be sure.

            Then spell checkers don't generally handle multi-lingual texts well - if at all. E.g. running an English spell checker on an English/German message it will fail most of the German words and as such report many spelling errors. Using a German spell checker on the

      • Actually, an unsubscribe link has a greater than 99% probability of belonging to spam.

        I wrote my own spam filter. A few of them actually. The current incarnation has a few nice things going for it. It starts with a SMTP proxy which relays things to the mail server. Does white/black/gray listing and statistical filtering. It couples with an Outlook add in for the ongoing bayesian training. It needs a bit more polishing, but I eventually intend to release it public domain.

        A few other notes on filtering:

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      THIS IS BASIC SPAM FILTER 101, if there is no address, or Unsubscribe in the newsletter, or a poor text to image ratio, IT IS SPAM! What the hell is their spam team researching?

      Quite often I receive legitimate e-mails with a very poor text-to-image ratio... Text being limited to something like "loading pics", and then 10-20 images attached to it. Usually attachment, occasionally embedded even in the html message body.

      I agree it's something that should score spam points, it's definitely not always spam.

  • by ackthpt (218170) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:36PM (#39052221) Homepage Journal

    Wish T-Mobile would pick up some sort of spam filtering .. I'm getting a lot of crap on my mobile phone and don't want to sit around blocking this number or that, but have them block known text spammers (anything with 'prize' in the email address) or phonus balonus lottery/baby name/ whatever promoters.

  • what a joke (Score:5, Informative)

    by wickerprints (1094741) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:37PM (#39052227)

    As usual, Microsoft is full of shit. My hotmail account allows the MOST spam through to my inbox. Gmail's filters are nearly perfect--I think I've only seen one spam message make it through in the past few years, whereas in hotmail, I've had to create a rule that moves anything not specifically addressed to me into the junk folder. Every day, that folder gets filled with spam from the likes of obviously faked domains like SEBUJIHJTPHJ@a.encloserrewall.com, and HUZDSUBYYZMB@a.gamelikeinconside.com. I've contacted hotmail demanding to know why their spam filter sucks so hard that they can't even filter out something as obvious as that. Of course, there's no response because as we can see, they're spending money on spokespeople rather than developers.

    Furthermore, it's not just that hotmail fails to filter spam, the problem is that they have such an antiquated and feature-poor interface for users to control how incoming email is sorted. Then the web interface itself is extremely slow. I'm hardly a fan of Google but anyone with half a brain can see that Gmail is superior in EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY. It's not even close.

    Hotmail is for email you don't give a shit about, and when you don't want to give out a real address. Honestly, I don't even know why I still have it. I'd be better off creating a garbage gmail account and use that instead.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)
      So you're saying that the account you hand out wrecklessly gets more spam than the one you keep safe and only hand out to very trusted parties?
      • I knew some idiot such as yourself would read what I wrote and point that out. I was waiting for such an argument to be made. Congratulations, you just demonstrated that you're a tool...who also can't spell.

        So here's the rebuttal that you evidently need to have spelled out for you. I don't hand out ANY emails "wrecklessly" [sic]. I don't even hand them out recklessly. I use my hotmail address to sign up for various web services, like slashdot, meetup, and twitter; I also use it as my contact address fo

        • by jader3rd (2222716)

          I knew some idiot such as yourself would read what I wrote and point that out. I was waiting for such an argument to be made. Congratulations, you just demonstrated that you're a tool...who also can't spell.

          You're right, you caught me. You laid out a trap by presenting anecdotal evidence with an air of being emperical evidence, and waited for "a tool" who prefers emperical illustrations over anecdotal ones to point that out. And I fell for it. You can pat yourself on the back now.

          I still suspect that the manner in which an email address is distributed affects the probability of it being targeted by spam. Your comment did not allay my suspicions at all.

  • I'm constantly having to babysit the GMail Spam filter; I get about two false positives a week. But it has done a fine job on my inbox; I've never gotten a Phishing attempt in it, and the only e-mails where I have to click "Report Spam" are usually just annoying websites I got a login on that decided I absolutely needed their useless newsletter.

    • by Tsingi (870990)
      I haven't checked in ages, but I just did. No false positives in my gmail acct, spam that makes it through is rare.
    • by DarkXale (1771414)
      Been a few false positives, though thankfully only a few a year (and the amount of received mail is so low its noticed anyway). But they did fail to block well known fishing attempts that made national media. Twice.
  • Hotmail, Yahoo, AOL, and Gmail are probably the biggest targets for spammers, especially those using dictionary attacks. If you are going to send spam you certainly will be including those providers in your target list.

    Unfortunately for these providers they cannot implement certain restrictions that smaller email providers or businesses might set up. For example, we run our own email server and reject outright email connections from a number of countries. We have the luxury of not needing to exchange ema

    • by cupantae (1304123)

      Yes, it would be helpful to RTFA. FTFA:

      “Our own internal metrics, customer feedback, and even a recent third-party report confirms that no mail service offers better protection than Hotmail.”

      But then it turns out, as usual, that

      The research was commissioned and paid for by Microsoft. Microsoft chose the webmail services to be tested, Microsoft had right of veto over publication of the results.

      The whole thing is pretty funny, really. Absolutely pathetic. When I read things like this, I always wonder if they actually fool themselves too. The evidence is everywhere that Gmail has better spam protection. I use Gmail all the time, and my spam filter just fills up. Misses something every few months; always a surprise. And I've never come across a false positive.
      However, logging into Hotmail just now, it had 2 messages in the s

      • by John3 (85454)

        The evidence is everywhere that Gmail has better spam protection. I use Gmail all the time, and my spam filter just fills up. Misses something every few months; always a surprise. And I've never come across a false positive.
        However, logging into Hotmail just now, it had 2 messages in the spam folder, but all the inbox had were 6 spam messages.

        I don't use Hotmail, but I do have a Gmail account that I use as a backup to my primary email. I get three or four emails a week in my Gmail nbox, all spam. Of course your experience and my experience mean nothing in terms of any real analysis.

  • Anecdotal evidence: (Score:5, Informative)

    by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:40PM (#39052293) Homepage

    I have posted my Gmail address publicly without reservation for 7.5 years (see above). I get approximately 1 spam email to my inbox per week, out of a volume of several hundred per day to my spam folder.

    I have relatives who use hotmail, who take paranoid care that their email is not posted on the internet in public, even in obfuscated form. They have changed addresses multiple times for this reason, but stuck with hotmail.

    • by Inda (580031)
      See above too.

      Slashdot is not scaped for email addresses like it used to be. I get less than one email a month to the above address.

      Here's what annoys me about Hotmail and the people that still use it:

      Send an email from my Gmail to my wife's gmail: 5 seconds maximum, as you'd expect.

      Send an email from work to my Gmail: 10 seconds maximum.

      Send an email to my mate's Hotmail from my Gmail: sometimes hours to arrive. Hours? In 2012? C'mon!
  • by Jophiel04 (1341463) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:41PM (#39052313)

    I work at a university and Hotmail has on a number of occasions blocked all mail from our domain as an overreaction to some compromised accounts sending mail to hotmail users. These blocks have lasted for days while we have to ask them to revert this. They've been completely unwilling to whitelist our domain or even incorporate a more expedient process for getting these blocks resolved. We have never had any similar problems with Google, Yahoo, etc..

    Their metrics for "best" are flawed if they block tens of thousands of good accounts and emails on account of a few compromised accounts, which every institution with over 20,000 users will have. I'm sure their users appreciate not getting normal mail from some domains for days instead of a slightly larger spam folder.

    • by jader3rd (2222716)

      They've been completely unwilling to whitelist our domain or even incorporate a more expedient process for getting these blocks resolved.

      I don't think that Hotmail has a whitelist. They'll block emails from gmail, yahoo and aol. It's just that with the big providers they work with them on resolving the issues quickly. So it would be difficult for them to add you to a non existent list.

      As for a more expendient process, that does sound like a fault of theirs.

    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      I work at a university and Hotmail has on a number of occasions blocked all mail from our domain as an overreaction to some compromised accounts sending mail to hotmail users.

      It may be a bit of an overreaction if two or three accounts got compromised, but...

      They've been completely unwilling to whitelist our domain

      Why would they? You just said your domain had compromised accounts. Your domain has been used to send spam.
      Why would they guarentee spam send through compromised accounts on your domain does not get marked as spam?

  • false positives (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @06:59PM (#39052605)

    I run a small business, shipping many packages daily.

    Nearly all the customers who don't get the confirmation email with the tracking number are using Hotmail. The message is sent from a proper server with valid SPF and Domain key signature. It contains no links or special content, just text with the tracking number. All the other mail services are very good about recognizing it as a legitimate email.

    But not Hotmail. If anyone from Microsoft is reading this, your spam filters suck.

    • by gmuslera (3436) *

      Thats one of the keys of their "good" spam filtering, they are very strict on which servers could connect to them to send email, and how them should behave. Yes, they detect a lot of spam, but also a lot of mail just don't get there.

      I setup a basic linux server anywhere, even with an invalid domain, send a test email and it reaches usually my gmail inbox, if not it goes to the spam folder. But gets there, don't get rejected at the incoming mail server level usually leaving no trace if it ever existed for

  • Is that still a thing?

  • The Worst In the Business?
  • by wkcole (644783) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @07:30PM (#39053083)

    Calling this "independent" is hogwash. It's a scam MS has been pulling for well over a decade, paying for "independent" competitive studies whose design and publication they control, and then trumpeting the results of the ones that say things they like.

    In this case, the methodology was designed in a way that only exposed the test addresses to a narrow subclass of spam and which helped rationalize the fact that the study is completely blind to false positives. It cannot be accidental that the most widespread criticism of Hotmail and Microsoft's other hosted mail services by outsiders who work with mail servers and spam control is not that they deliver or emit spam, but that they have massive chronic false positive problems, not just with mis-filing into "Spam" or rejecting in SMTP for no good reason, but with mail being accepted for delivery and vanishing without a trace, in large volumes. It's a mess and I am 100% certain that MS knows about internally, at least at senior mail geek levels. It is a spectacular display of chutzpah for MS to be applauding themselves for a study in which they would have been beaten by a email system with no Internet connectivity.

    And as someone who has been dealing with spam filtering and prevention since before anyone at MS knew that "spam" wasn't just a Hormel product, I should add that a methodologically sound study of the filtering systems of the big freemailers is probably not possible in the real world. Different people get significantly different types of spam and non-spam based on the history of their addresses and how they use them, and you really can't say anything meaningful about an 'average' mail stream because no real address has one. The big freemail providers have a very hard job because of the scale and diversity of their user base and pathological business models, but that can't justify promotion of a study which ultimately is worthless.

  • by Loosifur (954968) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @07:34PM (#39053137)

    Not only have I never received spam originating from a Gmail address, I might have seen spam make it to my inbox once in the past year. This is an address I've used for six years, and splattered all over the Interwebs. I also had three different Hotmail addresses, which I canceled to avoid spam.

    Equally allegorical and equally convincing to me, I went through an episode with my mother-in-law where spam began to be sent from her email address to everyone, and I mean everyone, in her address book, multiple times per day. Now, she doesn't typically engage in risky Internet behavior, being the kind of person who is skeptical of ATMs because she's afraid they'll withdraw the money without actually giving it to her. Suffice to say it caused a bit of a problem. She's sticking with Hotmail because, as she says, "that's the address everyone has for her", against all advice to the contrary.

  • by Arrogant-Bastard (141720) on Wednesday February 15, 2012 @07:44PM (#39053235)
    I have, shall we say, more than a little experience in the spam area. And having studied it in considerable detail over a very long period of time, I can say -- rather definitively -- that Hotmail does, and has done for many years, an absolutely horrible job of controlling outbound spam. (Which is of course the most important criteria by which to measure them. Inbound spam only matters to those with accounts there. Outbound spam matters to the entire Internet.) The only reason I would award them an "F" grade for their performance is that there is no lower grade available.

    My handle is somewhat a reflection of my own nature, which can be condescending and indeed, arrogant. But even I wouldn't attempt something of this magnitude: Microsoft isn't merely exaggerating, they're absolutely, completely, totally lying.
  • Irrelevant (Score:2, Interesting)

    by stud9920 (236753)
    It's irrelevant to boast the best spam filters when you hard code spam into people's outgoing mail below their signature.
  • The OP states: "Microsoft claims an "independent" report proves it has the best spam protection in the industry"

    Actually, Microsoft doesn't claim that (though it badly wants you to *infer* that).There's a small but subtle difference. What Microsoft claims is that "no one else has better spam protection than us". This is actually a fairly common little trick.

    What's the difference? Simple enough. For the claim "Company A has the best X" to be true, Company A's X must be the best. For the claim "No other compa

  • Filters will never end the spam epidemic, at best all they do is kick the can down the road. Any time the filters are changed, the spammers change their tactics correspondingly to get around them. The filters don't do jack shit to address the underlying cause of spam.

    For those who are too clueless to comprehend the root cause, I'll clue you in that spammers are not actually spamming you to piss you off and waste your time. Spammers are spamming you because they make money doing it. If you actually wan
  • Just today during my biweekly Hotmail check I realized that Hotmail's Junk folder is the only spam dump I check every time I'm on to ensure that I haven't missed something from someone I know. (Or something from someone I knew back when I regularly used Hotmail.) No spam filter filters more non-spam than Hotmail's junk.

    Or something like that. In other news, I'm happy to see Slashdot is still doing well. ;^)

  • by Tom (822)

    Absolutely, it is! I've been blocking hotmail for years, and while I still get spam, the volume has dropped considerably.

    Oh, wait... that's not what they meant, was it?

  • I still get some spam in my hotmail account so I dont know why they think they are so good, I get none at work, and none on my gmail...???

  • I get 10 a day in my hotmail and 0 in my gmail.
  • I rarely use my hotmail account, yet every time I log in, there's always spam in my Inbox, and more spam in the spam folder.

    I use my Gmail account frequently, and have not seen a spam in my Inbox in years. The spam folder has spam in it most days, but I expect this because I am actively using (and giving out) my Gmail address. Google's filters are fantastic.

    I suspect that most people have similar experiences, judging from the replies I'm seeing here.

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