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Admins Accuse Microsoft of Hotmail Cap

samzenpus posted more than 6 years ago | from the who-needs-more-than-10-friends dept.

Spam 166

kurmudgeon writes "The Register is fielding reader tips that Hotmail has placed Draconian limits on the number of Hotmail recipients who can receive an email. The first 10 Hotmail addresses included in a mass email go through just fine, according to these reports. But any additional addresses are returned to sender with a message that reads: "552 Too many recipients." (Microsoft denies it has placed any such restriction on the number of senders.) This would appear to be a violation of RFC 2821, which states: "Rejection of messages (for excessive recipients) with fewer than 100 RCPT commands is a violation of this specification."

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And the problem is...? (5, Interesting)

Kelson (129150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933875)

Let's look at that phrasing: "Rejection of messages (for excessive recipients) with fewer than 100 RCPT commands is a violation of this specification." (emphasis added).

Are they rejecting messages, or are they rejecting recipients?

According to this, they're rejecting recipients with an obvious "try this again" code. Really that should be 452, not 552, but that same RFC 2821 says that senders should treat a 552 as temporary:

RFC 821 [30] incorrectly listed the error where an SMTP server exhausts its implementation limit on the number of RCPT commands ("too many recipients") as having reply code 552. The correct reply code for this condition is 452. Clients SHOULD treat a 552 code in this case as a temporary, rather than permanent

So whatever sending server runs into these limits should retransmit the message to the remaining recipients on the next queue run. Okay, it'll only reach 10 recipients at a time, which is annoying. It shouldn't be kicking back the error to the client.

Really, assuming Microsoft has actually put this limit in place, the only thing I can see that's wrong, from a practical standpoint, is using the outdated 552 code instead of the more specific 452 -- but that same RFC people are waving around says that their servers should treat it as temporary anyway.

Am I missing something?

Re:And the problem is...? (2, Insightful)

Gyppo (982168) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934031)

No - for every recepient that they reject, they are, in effect, blocking those recipient from receiving the intended message. So they are blocking messages.

Re:And the problem is...? (3, Informative)

Kelson (129150) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934127)

No - for every recepient that they reject, they are, in effect, blocking those recipient from receiving the intended message.

The proper reaction of a sending server to a temporary error is to try again. Per that same RFC, the server should be treating '552 too many recipients' as a temporary error.

Yahoo does the same thing at 30 recipients, though they issue the more proper 452 error code. The first 30 recipients at Yahoo get the message, then the sending server retransmits to the remaining addresses.

Re:And the problem is...? (4, Interesting)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934129)

No, according the standards, every recipient rejected for "too many" stays in the queue and delivery is attempted at the next queue run. While Hotmail's violation of the standard seems bad, the worst effect it should have is to slow the delivery, not prevent it.

If a client actually stops trying to deliver based on a 552 error, then it, too, is violating the standard, in a way that actually prevents delivery. I consider that a more serious violation.

Re:And the problem is...? (2, Insightful)

morcego (260031) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935183)

Ok, I might need some further clarification here.
Aren't 55X errors supposed to be permanent, while 45X errors are temporary ?
Why would the sender keep the message on the queue after a permanent error ?

Re:And the problem is...? (3, Informative)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935457)

Refer to RFC2821, which is the RFC that MS is being blamed for violating by not allowing 100 RCPT commands per session. Normally, you are right, 5XX is fatal, but 4.5.3.1 Size limits and minimums says:

RFC 821 [30] incorrectly listed the error where an SMTP server exhausts its implementation limit on the number of RCPT commands ("too many recipients") as having reply code 552. The correct reply code for this condition is 452. Clients SHOULD treat a 552 code in this case as a temporary, rather than permanent, failure so the logic below works.
SHOULD means "unless you know what you are doing and have a good reason to do otherwise." The "logic below" is that the sending server removes the ones that were successful and tries the rest again later.

Re:And the problem is...? (3, Interesting)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934213)

Only if the sending SMTP server is broken. SMTP has two types of return codes: permanent failures and temporary failures. A permanent failure causes the message to bounce to the sender. A temporary failure causes the message to be queued and resent. Upon resending, only recipients for whom an error was generated are retried. Thus, if this error occurs after ten recipients, the remainder won't get the message in the first pass, but the next ten will get it when the sending server retries (usually after an hour, IIRC). This should continue until the recipient list is exhausted. Even this assumes that the sending SMTP server is extremely dumb and doesn't really understand anything about this error code at all beyond that it is a temporary error.... If it actually understands the code, it should try resending to additional recipients immediately, and divide the message into smaller batches, in which case it would delay delivery by a few minutes at most.

In theory, in some extreme cases, the recipient might never get the message. If it retries once an hour for a week (fairly typical), that would effectively cap the number of HoTMaiL recipients of a single message at 10 * 24 * 7 = 1680 recipients. Of course, a proper sending SMTP server should already be able to split messages into batches of a hundred or less because a limit of 100+ is considered acceptable behavior by the receiving server. Thus, in effect, because 1680 is larger than 100, short of a very long term net outage after the initial connection attempt, all the recipients should receive the message in every case. If this does not occur, the sending SMTP server is broken.

This is, of course, just my opinion.

Re:And the problem is...? (0, Troll)

beckerist (985855) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934795)

Microsoft? Broken?



ok folks, lesson 101 on karma whoring on /.

Re:And the problem is...? (1)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935151)

No no! For once Microsoft is the receiver!

Re:And the problem is...? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934243)

Just because the others haven't covered it, you're a fucking imbecile.

And you're wrong.

Re:And the problem is...? (2, Informative)

fatphil (181876) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934069)

Are you missing this bit:
"""
      recipients buffer
            The minimum total number of recipients that must be buffered is
            100 recipients. Rejection of messages (for excessive recipients)
            with fewer than 100 RCPT commands is a violation of this
            specification.
"""
which is only a couple of paragraphs above what you quoted.

You're also missing the fact that when a server rejects a message because of some issue with the recipients, it is still rejecting the message, and not "rejecting the recipient", which is a completely meaningless concept in the language of the RFC.

Re:And the problem is...? (1)

dvazquez (1020429) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934141)

How about this:

      Errors due to exceeding these limits may be reported by using the
      reply codes. Some examples of reply codes are:

            452 Too many recipients (see below)

      RFC 821 [30] incorrectly listed the error where an SMTP server
      exhausts its implementation limit on the number of RCPT commands
      ("too many recipients") as having reply code 552. The correct reply
      code for this condition is 452. Clients SHOULD treat a 552 code in
      this case as a temporary, rather than permanent, failure so the logic
      below works.

      When a conforming SMTP server encounters this condition, it has at
      least 100 successful RCPT commands in its recipients buffer. If the
      server is able to accept the message, then at least these 100
      addresses will be removed from the SMTP client's queue. When the
      client attempts retransmission of those addresses which received 452
      responses, at least 100 of these will be able to fit in the SMTP
      server's recipients buffer. Each retransmission attempt which is
      able to deliver anything will be able to dispose of at least 100 of
      these recipients.

      If an SMTP server has an implementation limit on the number of RCPT
      commands and this limit is exhausted, it MUST use a response code of
      452 (but the client SHOULD also be prepared for a 552, as noted
      above). If the server has a configured site-policy limitation on the
      number of RCPT commands, it MAY instead use a 5XX response code.
      This would be most appropriate if the policy limitation was intended
      to apply if the total recipient count for a particular message body
      were enforced even if that message body was sent in multiple mail
      transactions.

Re:And the problem is...? (1)

cez (539085) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934217)

"Clients SHOULD treat a 552 code in this case as a temporary, rather than permanent"


I think the important part is the longevity that this filter is in place. Does anyone have any first documented cases with a nice time stamp?

I am not one to defend MS, but sometimes shit happens, if they are providing a correct code to identify a temporary action, then the clients should react appropriately with a next queue. However, I don't know how I would feel if they did this on purpose, logged were all those 522s were sent, then blocked the top 90% offending hosts without cause or reason lifting the temporary 10 recipient 522 rejection...

FTFA:

Several people have reported a work-around, which can be achieved by setting the max_rcpt of the SMTP transport to 10 or less. This method worked for Old, but he said it has the potential to consume significantly more bandwidth, a limitation that is sure to hurt legitimate senders but have much less of an effect on spammers, who don't pay for their internet service.


The last time we spoke with a Hotmail official, we learned that of the 5 billion emails sent to its users each day, about 4.5 billion of them, or a whopping 90 percent, were spam. Clearly, unsolicited email is a problem that warrants a tough response from Microsoft.


This is what kills me about the net neutrality argument, do analysts just need another figure of loss to dream up? With all the illegitimate abuses of bandwidth out there, fingers are going to start being pointed. Granted email didn't used to take up that much of a percentage of global traffic, but with the inclusion of pdf, jpgs and other attachments in the spammers arsenal, as well as zombie botneted PCs in the millions...

Re:And the problem is...? (1, Informative)

Sorthum (123064) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934327)

5xx rejections are permanent, "Give up now."
4xx rejections are temporary, "try again later."

Too many? (3, Funny)

shine-shine (529700) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933885)

Oof.

"552 Too many first posts."

No Wai! (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20933893)

Microsoft not following a standard? Shocking!

Re:No Wai! (1)

Tuoqui (1091447) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933959)

Specifications? We dont need not stinkin' specifications!

Most people don't follow that standard (2)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934399)

Most mail-system managers I've talked to don't accept 100 recipients on a message except for internal communications inside a company. The problem is precisely that spammers have abused the feature - some people limit connections to 1 recipient, some to small numbers like 10, but in general if you accept a lot more you just get spammed.

It does sound to me like the too-many-recipients failure should be a 452 rather than 552, but other people have commented that mail senders are supposed to know how to deal with that.

Re:Most people don't follow that standard (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935517)

There are some "violations" that actually break things. There are some "violations" that don't. Violations that don't are not supposed to get RFC2119 language applied to them, like "MUST".

It appears that the authors of RFC2821 walked around RFC2119 by mandating a minimum limit on something without using RFC2119 language, when breaking that limit doesn't actually break the system.

E.g., the maximum size of a "local part" is 64 characters. If a client generates a "local part" longer than that, the system breaks because the wrong data appears at the server, or the server rejects the message altogether. When the number of RCPT TOs is set to 1, the client is supposed to keep trying, one at a time, and all the messages eventually get through.

That's why what MS did is pretty trivial. System managers ought to be able to set lower values on this to accomodate their systems.

E-mail is dead for mass communication (1)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933901)

Not only are most mass e-mails spam, but pushing a message with multiple image attachments to tens of thousands of users is a huge waste of bandwidth. Let's reserve e-mail for personal, one to few communication. Companies can use RSS or some similar mechanism to get their newsletters out.

Re:E-mail is dead for mass communication (4, Interesting)

RollingThunder (88952) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933955)

I take it you're not on any discussion mailing lists, then?

All MS is doing is cranking up bandwidth costs now. Instead of one copy being sent to all 68 subscribers on the server, my listserv now has to send them 68 copies of the same damned thing. Incredibly inefficient, but the subscribers want the email, so that's what'll happen.

Re:E-mail is dead for mass communication (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934119)

I take it you're not on any discussion mailing lists, then?

I haven't read a discussion mailing list since 1998. I'm subscribed to one now, but only because they force me to in order to search their web archives.

Why are people still using these? Why haven't they been replaced by forums?

Re:E-mail is dead for mass communication (2, Interesting)

SnoopJeDi (859765) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934513)

Why are people still using these? Why haven't they been replaced by forums?


At UMBC [umbc.edu] , almost all student organizations, many classes, club teams, etc. etc. all use a mailing list system powered by Sympa [sympa.org] to communicate. It's way more convenient than logging into our blackboard site, browsing to the class, finding the discussions forums, and finding the right thread in the mangled excuse for organization.

With the mailing list, all I have to do is check my email. Email is easier to centralize to the individual than forums, and leaves organization up to the end user. I have to check my email for personal communiques, contact from professors, and automatic notifications ANYWAY, why the hell should I not use the system to stay in the loop in a group, too?

That said, reply-all is the worst thing in the world.

Re:E-mail is dead for mass communication (2, Insightful)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935061)

To be honest, I participate on a number of email based discussion lists.. and also to be honest, I would much rather have NNTP access... this could still be nicely structured and accessed in my email client, but not interleaved with my email, and not risk being cast into the junk folder on occassion... I really wish that Google Groups, and Yahoo Groups had an NNTP interface, you could use your user login to access... that would so rock over the email mode..

Re:E-mail is dead for mass communication (1)

qnetter (312322) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934577)

Because forums require that you go to them, which requires you to remember to, which requires you to be telepathic about whether there is important information there. When the info comes to you, you can quickly triage it and determine if you need it now, later, or never.

Re:E-mail is dead for mass communication (2, Insightful)

McDutchie (151611) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934761)

Why are people still using these? Why haven't they been replaced by forums?

Because web forums suck.

  1. You're limited to whatever interface the web forum admins chose. You cannot choose your own interface. You have to use a different interface and/or register a new account for each forum.
  2. Most forums lack basic features such as threading and decent filtering/sorting/killfiling. (So do most email programs, but at least you can choose one that has these features!)
  3. Web interfaces are s-l-o-w.
  4. Outages or being offline means you can't get to the forum.
  5. You have to remember to go to them. Mailing lists come to you. (That what really kills most web forums for me. Slashdot is an exception.)

Re:E-mail is dead for mass communication (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935039)

6. You (or anyone else) can't (easily) keep your own [searchable] archive of postings.

Re:E-mail is dead for mass communication (1)

secPM_MS (1081961) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934221)

I assume this is to make spamming a bit harder. My DSL line comes with a tie-in to MSN, so I run Outlook 2003 using the connector tool to link to the mail server (I would be much happier with a POP or IMAP access), but I have been told I am an antique who doesn't see the inherent superiority of HTTP / web access.

When my wife was corresponding secretary of an organization with a mailing list in the low hundreds, I had to send out the e-mails. I experimented and found that e-mails with 8 recipients would go out, but that e-mails with 16 recipients had problems. THus I created a large number of 8 element mailing lists and sent stuff out that way.

Pain in the ass, but MSN does seem to be doing a pretty good job of spam supression, far better than I experienced after pacbell shifted its users onto yahoo.

The bandwidth difference is negligible (1)

billstewart (78916) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934529)

Sure, it uses N times as much bandwidth if you limit the number of recipients per connection, but that's not usually a significant cost factor except for a few large mail systems, because email isn't a large fraction of your bandwidth usage unless you're just a mail handler or a spammer (web and BitTorrent are the big bandwidth consumers), and the bandwidth costs are balanced by other costs including all the spam-filtering and CPU utilization.


So yeah, it's annoying in theory, but that just means you need a mail transfer agent that has a limit on the number of recipients per connection that it will send. Postfix does, and I think sendmail does (based on mailing-list-manager discussions from 2004 about Hotmail rejecting messages with too many recipients :-)

Re:E-mail is dead for mass communication (1)

dw604 (900995) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934737)

Many email marketers like to personalize their mailings, so they do it the inefficient way all the time.

Re:E-mail is dead for mass communication (1)

gsmith78 (1171829) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934151)

Completely agree with you!

Re:E-mail is dead for mass communication (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934413)

Not only are most mass e-mails spam, but pushing a message with multiple image attachments to tens of thousands of users is a huge waste of bandwidth. Let's reserve e-mail for personal, one to few communication. Companies can use RSS or some similar mechanism to get their newsletters out.

1) How does RSS save bandwidth? The images are loaded when each user checks their newsletter? Assuming the newsletter is legit, then te read rate will be high, and the bandwidth gets used anyway.

2) The newsletters I personally send out are hosted on the web for archival anyway, so we just send them the email with the images linked to the web based images; i'm not sure if bandwidth is overall saved or not. People who don't read the messages consume less, people who read them clear their cache, and read them again use more. On well managed a legit mailing list you'll get most readers at least opening the message.

3) RSS is GREAT for the end user; and I personally prefer to subscribe to rss over email because I get to do it anonymously. Its great for companies too because it dodges the whole 'someone thinks this is spam even though they double opted in' crap. But at the same time, not having the email address of the recipients is a real loss.

But regardless, RSS is moot. Most people out there aren't comfortable with RSS, and the email newsletter is a lot more accessible to less technically savvy people who don't have a clue what RSS is. Anyone doing legit newsletter distribution would be insane to cut over to pure RSS, they'd lose far too many people.

And M$ has cared about RFCs since when? (0, Troll)

ravenspear (756059) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933941)

This might be news if:

1. Microsoft actually gave a shit about any protocol they didn't define.

2. Anyone actually gave a shit about hotmail.

Re:And M$ has cared about RFCs since when? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934169)

"2. Anyone actually gave a shit about hotmail."

hehehehe!

There are 10 kinds of people at Microsoft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934171)

Those who can count to 100, and those who can't.

Re:There are 10 kinds of people at Microsoft... (0, Troll)

EnigmaticSource (649695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934763)

But that's only 60% of the cap, but then again, I don't think hotmail users can count to 1010.

Re:There are 10 kinds of people at Microsoft... (1)

EnigmaticSource (649695) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934801)

60% short
Sorry, posting drunk again

Re:And M$ has cared about RFCs since when? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934275)

3. SMTP wasn't already amply demonstrated to be a poorly thought-out and flaw-riddled protocol from the outset.

Haven't we all by now seen enough to be able to say, aspects of the SMTP protocol are downright BAD, and maybe it's okay to limit individual email transmissions to 10 recipients.

Spam is a massive problem and sadly, falls right on top of many of the SMTP shortcomings. It also wastes more bandwidth than stupid-ass 90's tech mailing lists, even if they're retransmitting portions of their lists. Maybe it's not so bad to impact a few old-school distributors if it puts even a minor dent into the spammers' activities...

-AC

Re:And M$ has cared about RFCs since when? (0, Troll)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934409)

"1. Microsoft actually gave a shit about any protocol"

There, fixed it for you...

Hotmail is unreliable anyway (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933943)

Our (100% legitimate, double opt-in) mailing list gets a few Hotmail addresses added to it every now and then. We frequently get people complaining about missing mails and so on. Invariably, it's because of something silly, usually spam filtering that has been set to be so ludicrously aggressive that practically anything not white-listed (i.e., nothing on a new account) gets through.

We have now reached the point where we consider Hotmail an irrelevance. We don't even advise complainants to use another mail client any more, we just ignore them. The list is not run for profit, and the effort of supporting Microsoft's not-playing-ball freebie mail system just isn't worth it for what is basically a hobby set-up run for the benefit of our community.

Re:Hotmail is unreliable anyway (1)

sjwest (948274) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934027)

Yahoo are not much better, we where doing some domain keys signing and yahoo where not checking those for a while considering it was there baby go figure.

It took a day to get a test message to yahoo to one user.

We dont run mail list but hotmail, and yahoo are not really in very good shape. Theres better free email out there.

Re:Hotmail is unreliable anyway (2, Informative)

Klaus_1250 (987230) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934249)

The bad thing about spam filtering in Hotmail is that they do it silently. I've had complaints in the past about mails being lost, so I checked my server logs: 250's for all messages to hotmail. Wrote an email to postmaster@hotmail.com which bounced back (sigh). Then I gave up and adviced to make sure recipients had the sending email-address in their addressbooks before sending them anything, which seems to do the trick most of the times.

Yahoo is worse (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934821)

Oh, having struggled with this recently, I am now advising people I know to stay away from Yahoo as well.

Yahoo has, with much fanfare, implemented this crock called "DomainKeys". And it's recently been advanced as DKIM, and even more recently had a full-blown RFC issued for it.

One would think that, with either Domainkeys or DKIM signed email that Yahoo, of all people, would treat that as non-spam. Nope. Domainkeys signed email still goes straight into people's bulk folder, along with all the other spam. And the bulk folder is usually automatically purged in 30 days (IIRC), by default.

Hello? Why promote something if you're not going to use it correctly?

Maybe it's because DK/DKIM won't stop spam at all, since it misses the target? Maybe Yahoo understands this all too well, from first hand experience? Maybe the problem is that it is easy for a spammer to set up a DK/DKIM domain, spam a lot of people, and then drop it from sight? And maybe the problem is with certain Domain Registrars would profit quite well from selling domains to spaammers? Something that the RFC won't/can't address?

In any case, Yahoo has totally screwed up with this one. Note very well that, while they try to get you to use domainkeys, nowhere on their site do they say that they'll actually treat it as non-spam.

In short, Yahoo has hoodwinked a lot of people with this complete nonsense. And they are extremely hypocritical in promoting it, but not using it as per what they tout. Or what the new RFC says.

And this is with their own software on sourceforge!

In short, don't waste your time with either Yahoo or DomainKeys or DKIM. It's all a scam.

Oh. And for the crackers out there, you might try doing a security audit on the code. Maybe, just maybe, all the big email sites using domainkeys are vulnerable.

Sorry for the rant, but I REALLY don't appreciate my time being wasted. Just stick with Google. They seem to have some technical competence over there.

Re:Hotmail is unreliable anyway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20935369)

I suppose that you've not worked in a corporate environement lately, or else you'd have stumbled into these kind of problem(s?) a lot ..

Most SPAMfilter will make emails "magically dissapear" (as opposed to the usual, it gets through or you receive a NDR) as soon as your Marketing/Communication/whatever departement sends a few emails out. Then again, maybe the business I work for is special since it's a TV channel. Still, if you start listening to the "hey! My email was late/not delivered once I checked" from your customers (aka coworkers), you suddenly realise that just like most systems, the SPAMfilters are being runned by idiots, just like most SMTPs (opening 1000 connections allowing 100000 emails each is not really the ideal "default" for an SMTP server, nor a SPAMfilter).

If you started dissing hotmail (which I just tested with a 50 recipients list and stopped checking after the 11th) for "abusive SPAM filtering", maybe _you_ need to check how you send emails and/or the clients (scripts hopefully better then client for massmailing) to achieve your goals.

I'm shocked (2, Funny)

Zashi (992673) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933969)

Microsoft isn't following standards? I'm the rest of the slashdot community is just as surprised as I am. I mean, microsoft is a company we've come to trust, to do no evil, to side with the consumer and the technical community at large. I'm sure this is just an honest mistake, one we will not see again.

*incoherent wheezing and laughter*

What's the bid deal? (4, Funny)

jtroutman (121577) | more than 6 years ago | (#20933983)

There's been a fix [google.com] for this problem for a while now.

Re:What's the bid deal? (3, Funny)

jtroutman (121577) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934099)

That should, of course, have read "What's the big deal?", but I've had a head cold for the last week.

Re:What's the bid deal? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934917)

but I've had a head cold for the last week.

As opposed to those pesky stomach colds?

Re:What's the bid deal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20935355)

No, as opposed to those pesky chest colds. Moron.

People still use hotmail? (3, Informative)

heptapod (243146) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934003)

There are hundreds of free alternatives available and a simple Google search [google.com] brings up numerous email forwarding services that can take the sting out of changing email accounts.

Re:People still use hotmail? (2, Funny)

alien9 (890794) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935411)

Yes.

I use it due to integration with messenger IM.

Despite the fact I use gaim/pidgin most of time, the email/IM integration provided by their service led me to the decision of keeping my account, which is the same long before hotmail was purchased by microsoft.

I think the service fits my needs, to provide a reliable account for registrations/memberships elsewhere.

The lack of baynesian spam filtering (such has gmail and others) is a shame.

The interface (yes, I tried Live) sometimes simply sucks.

The storage and transfer limitations could be a problem for anyone lacking scp or such file transfer tools.

I said, _could be_. Email lost its credentials as serious transfer and communication tool.

Some of us may remember when Bill Gates stated that SPAM issue elimination was simply a matter of time [cbsnews.com] . I gave them few credence then... and nowadays, email is clearly depicted as an unreliable, flawed tool.

Ordinary people can be kept safe by white-listing methods which figures out annoyances to me. They cay rely on such filtering to avoid Enlarge Their Penises NOW!!!

I would put my coins on a bit more intelligent solution to handle spam. There are a lot of solutions along with gmail or inova.net. The management of messages by AI systems which carries out the trash is a requirement to make email a reliable and trivial tool again... and not the scam nest it has been featured into.

This kind of announcement clears out what is the real level of microsoft improvement attempts - incredibly naive, blatantly stupid, moron-shaped company policies.

But, wait..

At all, who the heck would need to forward the message to 10+ recipients? In hotmail accounts? Oh... spammers. The less skilled and no less annoying of them. The ones who include my address in religious spiritual good intentioned chain letters.

Turns out microsoft is doing the right thing. The intelligence involved in their approach of bulk mail fits the targeted ones'.

You gotta pay up! (2, Interesting)

argux (568146) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934007)

I read about something like this a few days ago. A big website was warning people not to register with any Microsoft accounts (MSN, Hotmail, Live) because their mails were bouncing. They also mentioned that if they paid some fee, the cap would be lifted (obviously, they wouldn't in a million years give a cent to these people). Instead of paying, they would only recommend people to use Yahoo or Gmail.

Of course, it's not the exact, same thing, but the similarity between the two situations is spooky, to say the least.

Re:You gotta pay up! (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934175)

Hotmail et al have been silently blocking mail from my personal domain for a month or three now. It would have been nice if they'd at least bounced it, so I would have known earlier.

Dont worry! (5, Funny)

Ariastis (797888) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934011)

No sweat guys, for 19.99$ per year, you can become a member of the Windows MSN Live Hotmail Benefactor Plus Live rewards program!

Benefits include :
1) Spam whomever you want, bypassing all spam filters!
2) Send e-mails to more than 10 recipients (Also called the "I run a mailing list you fucktard" option)
3) Free "Upgrade to Vista (Please)" coupon.

Microsoft doesn't deny it (2, Informative)

jas79 (196511) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934055)

The answer Microsoft gave was about the limits for sending email, not for receiving email.

Oh NOES! (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934059)

Now microsoft will get hammered by the Standards police.

an RFC is not automatically a 'Standard' (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934101)

From Wikipedia for SMTP:

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is the de facto standard for e-mail transmissions across the Internet. Formally SMTP is defined in RFC 821 (STD 10) as amended by RFC 1123 (STD 3) chapter 5. The protocol used today is also known as ESMTP and defined in RFC 2821.

The only thing the Sender sould care about is the first digit of the response code, per RFC 1123:

Whenever possible, a sender-SMTP SHOULD test only the first digit of the reply code, as specified in Appendix E of RFC-821.

and also from Wikipedia SMTP:

RFC 3700 Internet Official Protocol Standards (STD 1). As of 2004, this RFC Designates RFC 821 and RFC 822 as the SMTP and MAIL standards, respectively, with RFC 2821 and RFC 2822 as proposed standards.

I don't see anything obseleting 3700 yet.

What is this RFC of which you speak? (0, Troll)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934125)

With all due respect, can Microsoft even spell RFC?

Re:What is this RFC of which you speak? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934303)

How does one spell an acronym?

Re:What is this RFC of which you speak? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934427)

"How does one spell an acronym?"

Apparently *humor* is being bounced by some filters as well....

Re:What is this RFC of which you speak? (0, Flamebait)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934311)

Yes they can, but they think it means Redmond's Frickin' own Canon. And in that 552 reads:

"Do whatever you think suits your interests best. Ah, and standards are for softies."

And as far as I can see they implemented their RFC coherently in every single product, not only hotmail.

Redmond ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934523)

With all due respect, can Microsoft even spell RFC?

Guess how you know a Microsoft fanboy got mod points? They mod you down for that and all mod points are negative. I guess Redmond click kiddies do read /. Me, I thought it was funny.

Redmond Fraud Crackeheads - Post anon to avoid mod point hell.

Re:What is this RFC of which you speak? (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935417)

Sure they do...RFC is all over their paperwork. Request For Compensation

I'm in violation too... (3, Insightful)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934163)

... this is a well known anti-spam technique -- it helps thwart dictionary attacks. Hotmail allows 10 recipients, my email server allows at most 1 (one). Of course, my domain only has one email account...

Did anyone read it.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934247)

as "Admins Accuse Microsoft of Hotmail Crap"....

Great idea (1)

101010_or_0x2A (1001372) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934273)

Maybe this will make users realize that there are better options than hotmail? If someones sending an email to more than 10 hotmail addresses, they need fewer friends..

And WHAT excuse do our fanbois here have for this (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934281)

Ms provided much more crap through hotmail to service provider admins in the past, this one even pales in importance. There was one time that they were putting legitimate emails in junk folder without telling anyone and causing many clients to go yelling at the providers.

RFCs are not laws (3, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934289)

This would appear to be a violation of RFC 2821, which states: "Rejection of messages (for excessive recipients) with fewer than 100 RCPT commands is a violation of this specification."

I love the way the OP makes this sound like a serious criminal violation. Microsoft (or you, or me) is free to violate RFC 2821 till the cows come home. Whether doing so is the best way to handle whatever problem they're trying to address is another matter, but they're not drowning puppies or breaking laws, they're violating voluntary standards, which is not exactly a newsworthy activity for Microsoft.

Re:RFCs are not laws (2, Informative)

jamesh (87723) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934567)

That's exactly right. The only problem it might cause them is they can't claim to be running an RFC2821 compliant mail server (for whatever that's worth), and as anyone who has ever implemented a spam filter would know, they aren't the only ones.

None of the customer mail servers I look after will accept more than about 50 recipients per message from internal users, let alone external users. Otherwise, I get too many calls from customers complaining that their internet access is slow, only to find out that their marketing department have sent a 5MB attachment to 500 people again. This is made even worse by Exchange's default setting to try and send out 100 or so messages concurrently (so they all time out and retry). If you need to get any information out to that many people, especially large amounts of information, there are better ways of doing it.

RFCs ARE laws (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934583)

laws that are communally agreed upon and makes the world of internet email turn around. if people start going haywire on them, imagine the resulting mess.

no surprise, violation comes from microsoft. they dont hesitate to violate laws in any country they do business in, why should they hold back from rfc ?

Re:RFCs are not laws (3, Insightful)

glwtta (532858) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934733)

I love the way the OP makes this sound like a serious criminal violation.

I love the way you just make shit up. All I got from the summary was that they are violating the RFC, I can't imagine what kind of synaptic misfire would lead anyone to think "criminal" when they read that.

Is overzealous MS reverse-bashing the in thing now?

Re:RFCs are not laws (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20935541)

The world is fortunate that idiots like you don't procreate (no, you can not get your hand pregnant).

Re:RFCs are not laws (1)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934877)

They can do what they like - fair enough.

But if they don't play nicely with the other children, everyone will think they're jerks - which is fair enough too.

Standards (voluntary or not) are there for a reason - they help disparate systems to communicate in a predictable and consistent manner.

Ignoring a standard because you're a 'big player' isn't polite behaviour, and is ultimately counterproductive, because there is now no incentive for others to adopt the standard when communicating with you.

Hell, if I were to reply to you in French (on this site where English is the lingua franca), would you expect to have a meaningful conversation?

Adherence to standards saves everyone time and effort, and it would be nice to see Microsoft doing it once in a while.

Re:RFCs are not laws (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20935089)

Every time someone buys Microsoft, God kills a kitten.

Puppies (1)

renegadesx (977007) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935533)

but they're not drowning puppies or breaking laws, they're violating voluntary standards

Drowning puppies is worse than violating standards? I gotta go... to... wax my... Xbox...

I'm not TERRIBLY pro-MS, but... (5, Insightful)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934297)

Honestly, if everyone followed all the RFCs for email and didn't adapt, spam would probably bring everything to a grinding halt. As it is, with countermeasures and counter-countermeasures in an escalating spiral in the "spam wars", I sometimes marvel that email even still works at all.

Granted, security through obscurity isn't really effective, but why should they bother telling spammers how small to make their batches in order to get things through? Make the bastards work a little bit.

Wow, I've gotten cynical.

Re:I'm not TERRIBLY pro-MS, but... (3, Interesting)

Random832 (694525) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934581)

Granted, security through obscurity isn't really effective, but why should they bother telling spammers how small to make their batches in order to get things through?
Because there are lots of legitimate reasons to send an email to more than 10 recepients on a large service like Hotmail, and batching them up (as opposed to sending the whole email, headers and body, to the server multiple times) saves bandwidth.

I would be pissed off if i were subscribed to something and I were the 11th hotmail user on their list.

Excellent! (0, Flamebait)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934397)

If this makes it more difficult for idiot spammers to send idiot spam, then I cannot really say anything against it.

Re:Excellent! (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934849)

Turning off the server has the same effect. Do you still agree?

Hotmail is just one sign (2, Insightful)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934507)

Email is useless. It cannot be relied upon. Mail servers will silently drop your mail after acknowledging receipt. Mail servers will reject your mail for no logical reason. All of this is in the name of fighting spam.

Because of spam, you can assume only that if you send an email and do not get a response that it never got through. If the only contact you have with a customer is an email address, you aren't going to get anywhere. Mail can be blocked at any point between the sender and the recipient without the knowledge or consent of the recipient - telling the recipient that they need to unblock your email is pointless as they may have nothing to do with the blocking.

Face it, email is suitable for sending threatening letters to georgebush@whitehouse.gov, love notes to your girlfriend and jokes to others in the office. And that's about it.

Meh.... (1)

Cleon (471197) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934515)

Really, this sounds like something for the "Never Ascribe to Malice What Can be Adequately Explained By Stupidity" department. It just sounds like hotmail has screwed something up and is slow on the ball getting it fixed.

It seems a bit silly for Microsoft to have such a strict policy and then lie about it.

RFC 2821 is not (yet) a standard (4, Informative)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934549)

This would appear to be a violation of RFC 2821, which states: "Rejection of messages (for excessive recipients) with fewer than 100 RCPT commands is a violation of this specification."
RFC 2821 isn't a standard, though. It's on the standards track, but it has not yet been accepted by the IETF as a standard. The current SMTP standard is RFC 821, also known as STD 10. RFC 821 says:

recipients buffer

The maximum total number of recipients that must be buffered is 100 recipients.

TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT POSSIBLE, IMPLEMENTATION TECHNIQUES WHICH IMPOSE NO LIMITS ON THE LENGTH OF THESE OBJECTS SHOULD BE USED.

This only requires that up to 100 recipients must be buffered, but doesn't explicitly state that there is any requirement to deliver to all 100 such recipients, nor that recipients cannot be rejected for some reason other than running out of buffer space.

Re:RFC 2821 is not (yet) a standard (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934955)

It may not be a recommended IETF standard, but the RFC number (on standards track) makes it an effective (read: recommended) standard. If you're a fan of RFC's you should implement them when they are in the Standards Track [wikipedia.org] Especially when it's a trivial extension of an existing protocol, especially when (most) everyone else does.

There was a time when hotmail started pulling shit (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934551)

about email deliveries and tried to force providers to go enroll in their paid whitelist scheme.

what happened ?

many providers, including hosting providers have started to refuse hotmail addresses being used for account signups, and warned customers that they should get an email from another provider to sign up with.

go figure what effect did this have. a hint - hotmail dropped the whitelist crap shortly thereafter.

Microsoft is Innovating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20934563)

Microsoft is not hurting anyone or violating any standard. Instead they are embracing and extending the standard, to protect people. Who needs to send to more than 10 people at a time anyway, generally SPAM and other malware try to do that.

This is Microsoft innovation at it's finest.

Re:Microsoft is Innovating (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934915)

Who needs to send to more than 10 people at a time anyway

Oh, I don't know ... Newsgroups? Businesses?

Re:Microsoft is Innovating (1)

david_thornley (598059) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935453)

I do have more than ten friends, and often want to mail party invitations to them.

Limiting emails to ten at a time won't do anything to stop spam that limiting them to a hundred won't. Spams are in the tens of thousands, easily, often much more. Last time some [censored] sent out a spam using my domain, I got over four thousand bounce messages. I have no idea how many messages didn't generate a bounce.

Hotmail has many worse problems than this one! (-1, Troll)

pyite69 (463042) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934585)

Just try to get something to a hotmail user's inbox... if you don't pay their extortion it is impossible.

Re:Hotmail has many worse problems than this one! (4, Interesting)

saarbruck (314638) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935827)

OP could have provided more detail but was not trolling: I run an email server on a static IP on my 768/128 DSL line. It's for 2 users. My mother, who has been a Hotmail user for so long that she can't relocate or "no one will find her!" refuses to move to gmail despite my pleas. Hotmail silently drops mail from my server about two thirds of the time. Messages such as "Hey, where are we meeting for Grandma's birthday dinner" disappear into the ether despite me being on her whitelist. Repeated hotmail support requests go something like this:

me: why are you accepting my email with code 250 OK, but never delivering it?

them: we can't talk to you until you submit all the forms at postmaster.hotmail.com

me: submits the forms, which are clearly geared toward businesses (my "site" doesn't have a "privacy policy" or an "opt out form" because I don't SELL ANYTHING).

them: we can't talk to you until you sign up for our email tracking service to analyze your traffic

me: signs up. My server doesn't generate enough traffic for them to even log.

them: you need an SPF record

me: installs an SPF record

them: your SPF record is wrong. RFC blah blah states...

me: IT WAS GENERATED BY YOUR ONLINE TOOL!! And if you want to quote RFCs at me how about the one where if your server accepts email, you're guaranteeing not to drop it for frivolous reasons (RFC 2821, sec. 6.1)?

them: our reasons are not frivolous, but we won't tell you anything.

me: like how your servers drop email sent from thunderbird but let the same messages through when sent from outlook express?

them: we don't filter based on header information

... and so it goes. I understand that I'm a small fish in a big pond and that there's a war on terror, uh, I mean spam, but hotmail just sucks.

Slashdot extra-whiney tonight (0, Troll)

slashkossucks (1160093) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934689)

Of all the things in this world to whine and complain about, this really takes the cake. What a bunch of babies on this board... is this really all you do? Get worked up in a lather over something at Microsoft? Honestly, you people are OBSESSED....

Oh well. (1)

HaloZero (610207) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934707)

You're all old enough - and should have been at this long enough - to know that Microsoft has a habit of taking a look at specifications and RFCs, saying 'Hmm... those are nice suggestions..' and then throwing the stack out the window.

Further, why does anyone use Hotmail any more, any way? There aren't enough other free providers out in the world yet?

Re:Oh well. (1)

pv2b (231846) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935373)

My dad, for one, has a 10-year old hotmail address.

Changing it now would be a real PITA.

What would the robot do... (1)

kcbanner (929309) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934811)

...frame someone! *Camera pans to M$*

10 hotmail ids?! You gotta be kidding.. (1)

gbalaji (1044174) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934843)

Seriously. I'm not a loony devoid of friends. I regularly mail close to some 100 friends in any combination. But I don't think there is a single hotmail id in my address book. I use my hotmail id only to login to expedia.com. I simply cannot believe someone has more than 10 hotmail ids in his address book. What is all this ruckus about?

And btw, why do I have to type in average.joe@HOTMAIL.com when I'm already on the hotmail page?

Sometimes even earlier denial is good (2, Informative)

kju (327) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934859)

Some server will deny some/more recipients even after only one prior recipient. The reason? Spam filtering during the SMTP phase and conflicting configuration of the different recipients. Doing spam filtering during SMTP is good, as you can cleanly deny spam instead of just acting like a black hole and throwing it away. In the case of a false positive the sender will at least get a clean error message without having to send one of these nowadays very annoying bounce messages. If you ever became victim to some spammer abusing your mail address as the sender of spam and you've got 25000 bounces, you know why bounce messages need to be eliminated thanks to spammers.

Unfortunately spam filtering has became so complex that more often than not one there is no one-size-fits-them-all configuration. But this means that the same message might be acceptable to the configuration settings of user A but not to the settings of user B. When now a mail sender tries to send a message to A and B, it will be necessary to deny recipient B due to the differing config (at least for filters which are based on content and thus can not be run before the recipient was accepted and the message sent).

Yes, this breaks a proposed standard. But so do a lot of other spam filtering techniques like RBL, SPF and Greylisting. Thanks to the spammers we have broken SMTP quite some while ago and one is to wonder why internet mail is still quite reliable. I predict it can only go downhill from here.

You think MS is bad? Try Yahoo! (3, Informative)

statemachine (840641) | more than 6 years ago | (#20934943)

Yahoo has been junking all e-mail from my domain. Yet, my domain has been around since '99, has an SPF record, and has not been on a spam blacklist ever. I don't run any lists, and usually these e-mails are only directed at one recipient.

When I contacted Yahoo, I was referred to a broken web form that supposedly would direct me to a place where I could whitelist my domain, or at least make it less spammy-looking to Yahoo. Upon further attempts to reach them, I only received automated responses, but no answers to my questions.

I am not the only one who has had this problem sending e-mail to Yahoo accounts. Ironically, just Google for all the discussions on how Yahoo doesn't care.

Sending e-mail to GMail accounts works just fine for me. None of my messages show up in the spam folder. This is an indicator that the problem lies with Yahoo, and not with my domain.

Re:You think MS is bad? Try Yahoo! (1)

proficiovera (1099145) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935097)

I have this same problem. People who have me white listed don't get my emails sometimes. Doesn't even make their bulk email.

"Admins Accuse Microsoft of Hotmail Crap" (2, Funny)

cliveholloway (132299) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935035)

Heh. Am I the only one who misread the headline and thought, "How true".

0.01K ought to be enough for anybody. (1)

ls671 (1122017) | more than 6 years ago | (#20935365)

0.01K ought to be enough for anybody. -Bill Gates

vFp do7l (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20935767)

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