Hotmail or Notmail
Date Added: Mar. 6, 2002
Despite what these letters claim, Hotmail is not running out of resources, the server is not being taken offline, nor is your account in danger if you don't prove you use it.
hey, i don't know if this is for real, but it can't hurt to just send it to all the hotmail users ya know.....
Dear Hotmail User,
Because of the sudden rush of people signing up to Hotmail, it has come to our attention that we are vastly running out of resources. So,within a month's time, anyone who does not receive this email with the exact subject heading, will be deleted off our server. Please forward this email so that we know you are still using this account.
WARNING WARNING Hotmail is overloading and we need to get rid of some people and we want to find out which users are actually using their Hotmail accounts. So if you are using your account, please pass this e-mail to every Hotmail user that you can and if you do not pass this letter to anyone we will delete your account.
From Mr. Jon Henerd Hotmail Admin. Dept.
A common theme in chain letters is that since the big corporations (in this case, Microsoft, the owner of Hotmail) offer for free services that you grow very dependent on, they can do whatever they want to with them and you'll have to cooperate or lose the "right" to use them.
Originally an independent company, Hotmail was one of the first and most successful web-based free e-mail services. So successful it was, in fact, that Microsoft bought the startup when it was only a year or so old. Now, we're expected to believe that one of the oldest and most successful free e-mail services could run out of resources, especially with the backing of a multi-billion-dollar giant like Microsoft?
On top of that, we're to believe that Hotmail's management would send such news to you via a randomly forwarded and poorly written e-mail?
Seasoned Hotmail users (and users of other web-based e-mail services) know that this type of information, if real, would appear on the service's login page or sent directly to each user in an e-mail bulletin. Hoaxes like this one prey on the novice user, who is not yet used to how these services work.
That is one of the reasons this chain is so pervasive and persuasive. Hotmail appeals to the novice user in droves. It is simple to set up, simpler to use and is included in Windows, MSN and other Microsoft products.
In 2001 - perhaps responding to the realization that people just weren't buying Hotmail running out of resources - a new version surfaced instructing Hotmail users to forward to avoid having to pay a monthly fee for the service. This one is "signed" by none other than Bill Gates himself.
Attention Hotmail Users:
Due to a recent increase in the number of Hotmail users, we have found that our free web-based email service has become too popular for our resources. Because of this, we are going to begin charging a fee to the users who are not sufficiently taking advantage of the technology we are providing them. The users who receive this email and do not forward it to at least 15 people will be charged a fee of $25.00 per month. I have conferred with my associate S. Jobs, and we have agreed that this is an appropriate amount.
Sincerely, William Gates, CEO Microsoft Inc.
One month later, a prettier version - designed to look like an html message from MSN (but delivered as a .jpg image file) - began making the rounds and duping a new group of MSN-ers.
Here's another - with more grammatical errors.
Yet one more tells you that the MSN and Hotmail servers will be taken offline and that you need to forward all important mail and copy your address book. You're also told that your account will be cancelled if you don't forward the notice to 20 friends. The grammatical errors alone should be enough clue that this one is a hoax.
In March, 2002, many users received the supposed "final warning" that, while prettier than its predecessors, is no more valid or better written.
The most convincing argument against the claim that MSN wants you to forward an e-mail to prove you use your account is that e-mail tracking as it is described in this chain letter is not possible. Also, what if you don't know 15 or 20 other hotmail users (I know I don't)?
If Hotmail really wanted to weed out inactive accounts, they could just check their system to find any account whose owner has not logged in in a given amount of time - In fact, that's exactly how Hotmail manages its inactive accounts. The following is from Hotmail's Frequently Asked Questions page:
"If you do not sign in to your MSN Hotmail account for 60 days, or if you do not sign-in within the first 10 days, your account will be marked 'inactive.' Stored e-mail and addresses will be permanently deleted, and inbound mail will be refused. If your account stays 'inactive' for over a period of 90 days, it will be permanently deleted."
The very first version listed above contains a comment from one of the fowarders that "i don't know if this is for real, but it can't hurt to just send it to all the hotmail users ya know..." Well, it can hurt, and here's why: One version of this chain I received contained nearly 650 e-mail addresses from numerous forwards. It took me about 20 minutes and a word processor to isolate those addresses and create a list that would be worth hundreds of dollars to any e-mail marketer (spammer). Don't worry, I deleted the list and would never sell such a thing, but I wanted to demonstrate how easy it would be to collect them using chains like this.
Hotmail is alive and well and you don't need to forward some dumb e-mail to save your account or keep it free. Break this Chain!