Instant Message in a Bottle
Date Added: Aug. 13, 2001
Huge company "X" creates an extremely popular application and offers it for free via the Internet. Millions of people come to love and depend on it to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. Now, they want you to pay for it, but, of course, there might be a simple and easy way we, as a group, can fight it. All it takes is forwarding a simple e-mail. Right? Not quite.
This hoax comes in many different flavors - each of them patently untrue.
Subject: PLEASE READ IMPORTANT
MSN is planning to take away MSN Messenger by September 14th, 2001. If you want to keep our MSN Messanger free of charge, send this email to everyone you know. It will be used as a petition. Each person you send this to counts as one signature" If this petition gets 500,000 signatures they will keep MSN Messenger.
If they do not receive 500,000 votes you will have to pay £5.00 to have Messenger (per month). If you don't care about this then please for everyone's sake help out a little. Thank you for your time and consideration and please help MSN beat their vote
Yahoo is planning to take away Yahoo Messenger by August 25th 2001. If you want to keep out Yahoo Messenger free of charge, send this to everyone you know. It will be used as a petition. Each person you send this to counts as a "signature" If this petition gets 1000,000 signatures they will keep Yahoo Messener.
If they do not receive 1000,000 votes you will have to pay $10.00 to have Messenger (per month). If you don't care about this then please for everyone.... copy and paste this message to everyone! bout this then please for everyone.... copy and paste this message to everyone!
Our America online staff is planning to take away IM by May 9th, 2002. If you want to keep our IM free of charge, send this email to everyone you know. It will be used as a petition. Each person you send this to counts as one "signature" If this petition gets 100,000 signatures they will keep AOL IM.
If they do not receive 100,000 votes you will have to pay 15.00 to have IM (per month). If you don't care about this then please for everyone's sake help out a little. Thank you for your time and consideration and please help AOL beat their vote.
Dear AIM users,
Because of our overloading of our servers, we are being forced to extract our non-active AIM users. Because this is a free service, AOL has exceeded the budget for the AIM service. We are asking that you send this exact message to 20 other AIM users to ensure us that you're an active AIM user. Our system tracking devise will pick up this message to keep you on our active list. You have 72 hours to complete this task or your service will be cancelled immediately. Starting April 9, 2003, we will be charging a small fee for registering of a screen name for AIM. Thank you for your time and for using AOL or AIM.
Hey it is Andy and john the directors of MSN, sorry for the interruption but msn is closing down. this is because too many inconsiderate people are taking up all the name (eg making up lots of different accounts for just one person), we only have 578 names left. If you would like to close your account, DO NOT SEND THIS MESSAGE ON. If you would like to keep your account, then SEND THIS MESSAGE TO EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST. This is no joke, we will be shutting down the servers. Send it on, thanks.
WHO EVER DOES NOT SEND THIS MESSEAGE, YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE CLOSED AND YOU WILL COST £10.00 A MONTH TO USE. SEND THIS TO EVERYONE ON YOUR CONTACT LIST.
NOW YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO. PLEASE DO NOT FORWARD THIS or REPLAY. COPY THE WHOLE EMAIL. GO BACK TO YOUR INBOX AND CLICK ON NEW. AND PASTE
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION
Internet technologies comprise an extremely competitive industry, with new companies surfacing and disappearing practically overnight.
Seeking new ways to introduce products and build a user base, the shareware models of software distributing was introduced in the late 1980s. Software would be offered initially for free, then, after its popularity and usefulness was established, the company would start charging for it. Many thought that would be the case with the extremely popular instant messaging software introduced in the mid 1990s. After all, such a powerful and useful tool can't be free forever, right?
In fact, the IM 'industry' remains a volatile one. Many early players were unable to handle the huge demand for their service, failed to garner enough subscribers to make a pay-to-play model work, or were gobbled up by bigger companies looking for inexpensive tools to spruce up their services and attract new customers.
Today, Instant Messaging is dominated by three major players: Microsoft's MSN Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger and America Online Instant Messenger (AIM). These companies use popular features like IM to build their market share (and push the little guy out), all with a PR spin of "bringing the service to more people."
There is a commonly held notion, however, that big, faceless corporations are out of touch with their customers' needs and desires and make rash decisions based purely on greed.
Take it easy, none of these companies are discontinuing IM or considering making it a pay service. Even if they were, they would not likely be swayed by a chain letter petition, nor would they make your continued free use of the product contingent on your fowarding an e-mail or instant message.
These, and similar rumblings about Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, all employ a clever hoaxter's creation: the notion that these big companies have some way to adequately track the messages millions of subscribers send. It is not only technologically impossible but logisticly improbable - it would be a momentous task to monitor billions of mails and IMs, weed out the duplicates and incorrectly addressed ones, and tally the valid ones.
And would you want them to be able to do this? The privacy implications alone are staggering.
In fact, all three companies have policies and procedures in place to weed out inactive accounts, typically by monitoring logins - not account activity. Accounts that show no logins in a certain time period (usually three months) are automatically put into inactive status or deleted entirely. There would be no need (or desire) for these companies to have you show how much you use your IM by making you forward a poorly written message. Break this chain!