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Microsoft

Microsoft's New Spamming Technique 247

judges1617 writes: "Microsoft is now testing a beta version of their MSN Explorer that sends e-mails to everyone in your Outlook Address, informing them that your e-mail address has changed and invites them to to try MSN. Even the people who use MSN are complaining, but M$ refuses to acknowledge it is doing anything wrong. Read the whole story here" The best part of this article is the MS reps argument about why this isn't spam "The e-mail you received was an invitation from MSN Explorer, sent on behalf of an existing user who changed their e-mail address and wants you to try MSN Explorer." I guess we can add "Spamming" as another "Business" where Microsoft can use its monopoly status to its advantage.
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MSNs New Spamming Technique

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  • by xtermz ( 234073 )
    doesnt surprise me one bit . microsoft and their holier than thou phylosophy (sp?)

    "sex on tv is bad, you might fall off..."
  • Tastes kind of like ham - add it to Kraft Dinner for a tasty treat!

    Thanks Microsoft!
  • Really, if you can't memorize the email addresses of the hundred or so people and mailing lists with whom you regularly correspond, you shouldn't be using a computer.

    Criminy, what next, complaining about Explorer's bookmark files? Really, if you can't memorize the thousand or so web addies your regularly surf to, you shouldn't be on the web.
  • Chapter U: It's not wrong if we do it. Chapter V: If it is indeed wrong, litigate, litigate and obfiscate then litigate some more.
  • by plover ( 150551 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:43AM (#750098) Homepage Journal
    I mean if you can be busted for writing Melissa, (which behaves in an identical manner) why not for this?
  • by semaj ( 172655 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:43AM (#750099) Journal
    I have several email accounts, for different reasons. If they all spontaneously decided to tell everyone to use one account, where would I be?

    I don't see why this shouldn't be an /option/, but as the default it does seem a bit weird.


    -
  • Maybe we should quit calling them Micro$oft and start calling them

    Microspam!

    Yes, yes, I know. Tacky. But I couldn't help myself.
    Rani
  • Wow, what great innovation!

    Now Microsoft has an official version of this great functionality usually only found in Macro Viruses. I guess they're just embracing-and-extending again, to bring their customers these great new features.

    Why, in a few more versions of Outlook (once everyone on Windows is forced to use it), they should have the "Goodtimes" extensions finalized, and it will turn the world into mindless Microsoft drones.

    Gentlemen, I think we have a plot for an xbill sequel on our hands.
  • I got one in my mailbox today, talking about the Supreme Court decision. There's not a valid return address on those things or I'd reply "You bastards! Mark my words, we'll get you!" Too bad there's not a valid return address.
  • MS reps argument about why this isn't spam "The e-mail you received was an invitation from MSN Explorer, sent on behalf of an existing user who changed their e-mail address and wants you to try MSN Explorer."

    *sigh*

    Could Microsoft possibly be more clueless? That's one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard.


    -----
    "People who bite the hand that feeds them usually lick the boot that kicks them"
  • So next we will have a worm which sends off mail to everybody in your Outlook Address Book Saying I love Microsoft Products ,Linux Sucks and Bill Gates was the best thing to happen to computers since Charles Babbage The irony is it would serve everyone right for using MS Outlook in the first place
  • by boing boing ( 182014 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:45AM (#750105) Journal
    Jeez...this article is more about clueless newbies sending spam...the product specifically asks if you want to email ALL of your email contacts. Maybe a lot of people just didn't bother to read the message. The implementation is clearly bad, but that doesn't make the idea (allowing people who have just changed their address to send a mail to everyone they email regularly) bad.
  • Ok, so MS assumes that anyone who changes their Email addy wants all of their friends to try MSN Explorer, right?

    Sure, that makes sense to me. I think I'll assume that anyone who visits my web site wants all of their friends to visit my website. Lesse, where did I put that virus kit...

    Mythological Beast
  • Sounds to me like MS has put the techniques used by the ILOVEYOU virus to use in 'protecting consumers' from having bad (read: non-MS controlled) email services...

    Hmm... freaky. What I want to know, is *how* did they do this, technically? Can other spammers use this same technique as well, or is it a Microsoft-only hidden technique? Because if it is, thats monopolistic.

    Everyone should be able to use all the MS Outlook users out there to send spam, you know... not just Microsoft!

  • by bungalow ( 61001 )
    Microsoft is abusing its power to extend its reach. Users be damned.

    This is new and different?
  • "The e-mail you received was an invitation from MSN Explorer, sent on behalf of an existing user who changed their e-mail address and wants you to try MSN Explorer."

    I don't know about everyone else (and IANAL), but this REEKS of a class-action suit. I don't use the program, but if I did, I certaintly wouldn't give them the right to do anything 'on my behalf'. Unless, of course, it's buried somewhere in the EULA... Better watch that bank account, too.

  • People always assume that the little boxes with next don't mean anything, just keep clicking next. They're stupid for not reading what they are doing. It isn't right that they can't modify the message, or that it pimps Microsoft's apps. For some people, it's great to be able to notify others instantly, they probably don't know how to check 2 mail accounts. They aren't uber-geeks, just casual users who are playing with the all-in-one apps that M$ is putting together. It really is nice for people who are just getting started. Yes, it is spam, because Microsoft forced commercialization into it.
  • Well, it's certainly going to write it easier for the macro virus programmers anyway.

    Just call:

    sendspamtoeveryoneinaddressbook();

    And you're well on the way!


    -
  • This seems like a phenomenally bad idea -- just think what happens if the secretary at a large company with thousands of employees (like the one where I work) inadvertantly allows the email to be sent.

    ---
  • Isn't that illegal in certain states? (CA, CO, among others). String 'em up!

    --
  • ...but I always thought that sending updates of e-mail addresses should be done by the person changing their account.

    And while you can 'opt out', wouldn't it be better if the system popped up one of those annoying MS dialogs asking if you want everyone to be informed?

    Or even better, allows you to pick and choose who you want informed, and allow you to enter your own text informing them, with the MS 'standard' being one of the options...

    Or does that make too much sense?

    NecroPuppy
    ---
    This Monday is up to three days... And still going strong...
  • Everyone want's to receive JUNK MAIL on behalf of friends.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Well, they're used to do thinking for their users. This time they only took it a bit further. They think that the users want others to try the MSN Explorer.
  • The e-mail you received was an invitation from Microsoft Monopoly Expander, sent at the behest of a former user who changed their e-mail address and does not want any more spam. Thank you.

    Translation courtesy of BabelFish.

    --Jeff

  • Attempting to justify that these email are not spam, the letter from MS says:

    "The e-mail you received was an invitation from MSN Explorer, sent on behalf of an existing user who changed their e-mail address and wants you to try MSN Explorer," said Microsoft customer support in a letter that appeared to be an official statement.

    Let's see if their definition of non-spam holds up...

    "The e-mail you received was an invitation from GetRichQuick, Inc., sent on behalf of an existing spammer who wants you to try his product."

    Hmmm...nope, certainly not spam. Nosiree, nothing even remotely hamlike about it.

    PR 101: When caught doing something wrong, immediately claim that you weren't actually doing anything wrong. Then define what you were doing so that it matches what is wrong in every sense of the definition...
    ________________

  • I thought there was actually a law against SPAM? Since this message section is sent without the consent of the user, it seems like you'd be able to establish that M$ actually sent it. Since it does not offer a way to avoid getting the same message in the future, didn't a law just pass making it illegal, litigatable spam?

    Class-action lawsuit, anyone?
  • by mr.ska ( 208224 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:46AM (#750120) Homepage Journal
    M$: 90+% of the home operating system market.
    Apple: has some home operating system market.

    M$: monopolizes with its bosom buddy Intel. Boring hardware.
    Apple: can't monopolize to save its life. Funky, powerful hardware.

    M$: spams their users.
    Apple: sues anyone trying to tell their users about new Apple stuff.

    Sigh. It's stuff like this that makes me want to load up QNX and just hide in my basement...

  • What I'm hearing from the preliminaries is that no one is suprised, and I know I'm certainly not. We all knew that something like this was a possibility, and when the technology was ubiquitous enough, it would be exercised by the Microsoft Marketing Machine (Bob).

    Not only do I not get why people are still using this, but why it's even being reported as news. Everyone is collectively smacking their heads and going 'Duh!' on this one. Just wait until they start redirecting IE to the Microsoft Propaganda Page every hour on the hour (for MSN users, of course!).

    C'Mon folks. Real news please.

  • No, no. That's right, the Mellissa virus wasn't this destructive. It only sent out emails to some of the people in your address list.
  • If I received that e-mail from one of my friends, I'd make a special trip over to their house and kick 'em squa in the balls simply based on the principle of the matter (they should know better than to use a crappy product like Outlook!)

    'Nuff said.
  • <obvious solution> Don't use Outlook and don't keep any names in the Outlook address book.

    --
  • First teh program asksk if you wna to import your address book. then it ASKS if you want to send a message to everyone in your address book tell them of your new address. then it even SHOWS you the message that will be send "spam" and all. you actually have to click the SEND button to send this message. Ther user of the software knows perfectly well whats going to happen, how can you say they don't know they are doing it? Microsoft isn't spamming anyone, they just stuck a little ad at the bottom of an email that you have a CHOICE to send or not.
  • <sarcasm> These messages obviously are not spam. In the article, it clearly states that Hotmail, a completely free and useful service who protects your password and e-mail fervently, refuses to mark this as spam! Since Hotmail is the best web-based client around for free e-mail addresses, I would think that it would have the best filtering programs to weed out unwanted e-mails from unsolicited sources. Since the infalable Hotmail does not mark this as spam, saying "The e-mail you received was an invitation from MSN Explorer..." then clearly this was meant to be a beneficial and desired e-mail. Naysayers, begone! Hotmail would never lie to you! </sarcasm>
    ------
  • "I recently began using a new product from Microsoft called MSN Explorer. With MSN Explorer, you can send and receive e-mail, exchange instant messages with me and the millions of other people who use MSN Explorer, browse the Web and much more. MSN Explorer even offers an exciting new look for using the Web and makes it easy to find and play music online. Want to try it out? It's FREE! Just click on the link below and follow the download instructions.

    This reads like spam to me. I wonder how many people are actually fooled to thinking that this was really a letter from a friend raving about this new product.

    What gets me is that this seems so low for microsft to stoop. I mean, underhanded buisness maneuvers are at least somthing that requires brains... spam is something that dumbasses trying to make a buck off the web resort too.

  • by Shotgun ( 30919 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:48AM (#750128)
    Just another example of lock-in techniques from the monopolist. I get an offer for a free month of MSN, so I say, "Heh, it's free. Let's see why everyone trashes MSN so much." I install it, then everyone get a notice to change how they reach me.

    Once I discover why everyone has been dissing the service, I have to either manually inform everyone that the previous message was bogus spam generated by MS crapware, that I was only testing out their service to see how bad it was, that it was so bad that I'll never use it again and that they should send emails to my real address, or I keep the service since that is how everyone knows how to reach me.

    It's a testament to my cynicism that I believe most people would opt for the second choice.

  • What is an 'addy'? Not all here are born knowing English! Be more open for acceptance of Open-Source!
    ok!

    -Ashram


    addy = address

    I am sprinkling my posts with hip, with it slang, so that I will appear mad cool, and have my choice of Slashdot chicks.

    props to Taco!
  • by lwagner ( 230491 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:48AM (#750130)

    I don't know what you guys are talking about...Mine seems to work fine...


    ---

    "I recently began using a new product from Microsoft called MSN Explorer. With MSN Explorer, you can send and receive e-mail, exchange instant messages with me and the millions of other people who use MSN Explorer, browse the Web and much more. MSN Explorer even offers an exciting new look for using the Web and makes it easy to find and play music online. Want to try it out? It's FREE! Just click on the link below and follow the download instructions."



    --
    Spindletop Blackbird, the GNU/Linux Cube.
  • which is why I'm going to Linux this weekend. Already have the Mandrake 7.1 disks made and have got an I-Opener booting Linux to use as a remote Xterm. The only stumbling block I'll have is getting TSM (Top Secret Messenger) running with the Win32 ICQ under WINE. Anyone? Anyone?

    * sigh *

    Remember when people were polite on the net because they'd have several hundred magazine subscriptions to cancel if they didn't? Damn AOL!

  • It's just that simple. It appears that Microsoft construes the defeat of fast-track to be a victory, and an endorsement of their business techniques.

    Look for more of this type of conduct.
  • This one doesn't propigate itself... Yet...

    How about that for a virii... A script that makes Outlook think that you've changed your e-dress and spams everyone.

    Not that I would, or could, do such a thing...

    NecroPuppy
  • You mean some people actually WANT to tell others that their email address has changed? Changing addresses without telling anyone has significantly reduced the number of messages I get per day.
  • Outlook syncs to my mobile phone, point me to another program that does that, and I'll use it.

    -
  • It would be apropriate.

    They once again sent me an "Update" email from their "Freedom To Innovate" (or was that annoy) people.

    The last one that they sent me had an invalid reply-to. I was replying to tell them that I resent being added to an email list that I never asked for.

    Whats worst... tI get this email today...AFTER
    trying to get off the list, last time that they sent me one.

    Microspam indeed.

    -Steve
  • "The e-mail you received was an invitation from MSN Explorer, sent on behalf of an existing user who changed their e-mail address and wants you to try MSN Explorer."
    OK, so first, MS tried to dictate to the government who they can and can't sue. Now the corporation of the northern hemisphere sees fit to put words in our mouths. I've got news for them... I DO NOT want anyone to try MSN Explorer, therefore it is the absolute pinnacle of presumption to send an e-mail on behalf of me saying the opposite. Obviously, those who are complaining are of the same opinion. Of course, never has the court of Emperor Gates bowed to public opinion.
  • by romco ( 61131 )
    2 things really bother me

    "I am writing to let you know that I have a new e-mail address: "(new e-mail)."

    "users could not edit the wording."

    So it is spamming , and not allowing you to change
    change the wording to state that it is comming from Micros~1 and not you.

    I'd almost call it a virus.
  • I hadn't yet been able to see the post above, which is even more true: since they're assuming your endorsement without your consent, I'd say that's pretty bad and likely illegal, too.
  • by Fervent ( 178271 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:51AM (#750140)
    To Microsoft's credit, you have to press a couple of buttons to "accidentally" send this spam (read: you are an idiot). The program even tells you the subject line of the spam right before you ok to send it ("Come try Explorer Preview" or something like that).

    IMO, if you go through a few clicks and see something as blatant as that, you shouldn't click "OK" and complain about it afterward.

  • by jbarnett ( 127033 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:52AM (#750141) Homepage

    This is an automatic message from the new Windows Messaging software information you that _Bob Sagertion_ has change his desktop wall paper quickly and easily with only 2 clicks of the mouse. That sure is easy, please try using Microsoft Windows 98 with imbedded Windows Messaging Software to allow YOU to take advantage of this great new fearture.

    This email would also like to information you that _Bob Sagertion_ has not only moved his mouse, but has also used 2 clicks in the last _12_ seconds. How do you know so much information about _Bob Sagertion_ ? With the new Microsoft Mouse Monitor Util imbeded with Microsoft's own Windows Messaging. If you would like these great feartures YOU TO can get Windows Messaging for the low price of $19.95.

    The next time _Bob Sagertion_ has made any changes or has interacted with a peice of Microsoft's Windows Messaging software, you will receive notice of this. If you would like YOUR freind to take notice of any IMPORTANT things you do with your computer, like change email address, store your persoal private journal or even make a mouse click, then please check out Microsoft's Windows Message software for the low price of $19.95

    --

    Also on a side note, Microsoft is suing Norton Anti-virus software for detecting and delete any messages Windows Messager is sending out. Due to the lack of AI in Norton's software, it can't tell the differant between this GREAT NEW SOFTWARE and the hoard of outlook worms/virii out there.

    On a related topic, Mr. Norton knew caps has been shattered by an unknown person(s).

    Have a nice day,
    Windows Messaging software and Paper clip harry


  • It is bad enough that Microsoft is sending unsolicited commercial email. Yes, boys and girls, this is spam - unsolicited because neither the user or the people in his Outlook address book explicitly asked for it - the user just sent a change of address request, and it is commercial it nature.

    Worse, Microsoft makes a statement in the email in the user's name ("I am using MSN and would like for you to try it!") without his permission. This is incredibly arrogant and possibly illegal. If Microsoft doesn't remove this "feature" it will have another lawsuit added to it's stack of legal troubles.

  • Outlook syncs to my mobile phone, point me to another program that does that, and I'll use it.

    Hm.
    Point me to some specs, and I'll write you one:)
  • by jgerman ( 106518 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:54AM (#750144)
    Before I say anything else: Windows users generally ARE clueless newbies. That's kinda M$'s market no?

    In any case it's one thing to automatically send out an informational note declaring a change of address. But I don't recall seeing anywhere M$ jinforming the user that they would be sending an ad/invitation or whatever. Most people would just assume they were sending a "hi my email address changed". Instead M$ is putting words into users mouths. They never said they wanted their contact list to try it.

    I say we all d/l the software and put a hundred or so M$ email addresses in our address books, then we can invite M$ employees, support, or whatever to try the new MSN Exploder.

  • I mean if you can be busted for writing Melissa, (which behaves in an identical manner) why not for this?

    because it's not a virus. as described in the article, the user first has to agree to import their outlook address book, then affirm that they want to mail everyone in it to notify them of the new address, then they are shown the message and they have to confirm that they want to send it.

    no, it's not a good idea. yes, it's kind of spammish. but it's nothing like a virus.
  • It could grab all e-mail addresses from any incoming/outgoing messages in all your folders. Which is worse? Pissing off EVERYBODY or just those close enough to be in your address book?
  • Of course you'd have to actually try to send it, and it doesn't send the e-mails automatically... but what do you expect? The Slashdot crew would *NEVER* pass up a chance to bash Microsoft...

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • MS reps argument about why this isn't spam "The e-mail you received was an invitation from MSN Explorer, sent on behalf of an existing user who changed their e-mail address and wants you to try MSN Explorer."

    *sigh*

    Could Microsoft possibly be more clueless? That's one of the most ridiculous statements I have ever heard.


    IANAL, but couldn't the MS assumption that a given user 'wants' the people in their address book to try MS be considered false advertising?

    I mean, couldn't it be considered fraud or something???

    NecroPuppy
  • Well, it's still sort of spam, but it's from the users rather than from Microsoft. What MS did is really damned tacky, and it skirts the edge of spamminess, but if the users are shown the whole message before sending...

    Now, the fun will be if the people you send to can automatically resend your announcement to everyone in their address book...


    My mom is not a Karma whore!

  • by markt4 ( 84886 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:55AM (#750150)
    Uh, excuse me, but it seems to me that there is a significant difference between "notify the people in your address book of a change of e-mail address" and "notify the people in your address book of a change of e-mail address and include in that message a totally unsoliciated advertisement implying your endorsement of our service and we are not going to let you read this message before we send it out".
  • you really should read the articles before you post instead of trying to be a mindless MS basher. You don't have to give them the right to send the email, it asks you 3, THREE times if you want to send the email, it even shows you what it's going to look like. If you don't want to send the email then you do something like click "no" instead of "yes"...
  • As much as I hate to say it...

    First, the program does ASK you if it's ok to send messages to your contacts informing them of your address change. You actually have to press a button to get it to send the notifications. So is it really spam?

    Spam is really unsolicited e-mail that provides no service whatsoever, and just bugs you. These messages actually inform you of one of your contact's new e-mail address. It's worthwile information.

    Second, If they are providing this feature, why not let them include a little advertisement? People put up with the little ad at the bottom of every single hotmail message without complaining too much.

    They have to make money somehow, since no one actually pays for their software :)
  • So this brings us to a real question: What can Microsoft do before the hoi polloi will even start to look at an alternative OS?
    Obviously, a lot of this depends on the alternatives themselves. But let's say, for the sake of arguement, an OS (let's just call it Z) develops via open source and provides all the functionality that MS provides. I know I would switch in a heartbeat, but most non techies wouldn't bother. So what does Microsoft have to do to piss those people off so that they will begin to see alternatives?
    Or do some of those people actually like this stuff?
  • by LordStrange ( 19871 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @06:57AM (#750154)
    I think most mega-dialup ISPs are doing this sort of thing. I know Sprint/Earthlink does it. They do ask if you want to notify those in your address book, but they fail to mention the marketing crap that they attach.

    It is distasteful, but it's not a Microsoft only thing.

  • > Wow, what great innovation!

    Moral of the story: Always patent your virus algorithm, so if you get hit by a stiff fine you can pay it off by the proceeds from your IP!

    --
  • Of course there is a difference, but have you ever signed up for an online service of some sort? Almost every damn service these days will send the same sort of stupid message. This is not a case of Microsoft being EVIL, it is a case of MARKETING people thinking something stupid. Any large venture will put this sort of horrible advertising in. I'm not saying it's not wrong to do, I'm just saying why does this deserve an article when thousands of other products and companies do this. The implementation is clearly bad in that they don't give you a chance to edit the message, but like I said the idea is not so bad.
  • Some people are overracting on this. The problem here isn't necessarily that people are unknowingly spamming people with e-mail(although it will happen because people often don't read what they click too). Its the fact that Microsoft has now "innovated" there way into Unsolicited E-mail. It would have been just as bad if Bill Gates they bought one of those CD sets full of e-mail and started to spam people to try their software.
  • by Wellspring ( 111524 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:02AM (#750162)

    You think this is bad, you should see what else they have on the way:

    Internet Explorer: Automatically posts to slashdot announcing that you are now using Internet Explorer and that we will all be assimilated.

    MS Word: Prints a letter and envelope, complete with Estamps, to everyone in your address book, then uses Orbital Mind Control Lasers to make you sign, seal and send them. MS charges the estamps to your credit card.

    MS Money: An 'affiliate' program. They send spam announcing that you use MS Money, then offer five bucks to people who switch, also. The money comes from your bank account. (After all, they didn't get this rich writing big checks. Buy 'em out, boys!)

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:19AM (#750186)
    if you can't memorize the email addresses of the hundred or so people and mailing lists with whom you regularly correspond, you shouldn't be using a computer.

    Actually, while I think you meant it in jest, I think it's true.

    My name isn't unique. There are a million John Does in the world. At work, I'm john_doe@johndoescompany.com, and at home, I'm jd@johndoesisp.net. Those are two unique identities.

    Nothing bugs me more than carrying on a conversation with foo@bar.com, and having him "reply" to the wrong address because "John Doe"'s work address is above his home address in foo@bar.com's "address book". Not only do I not necessarily want personal correspondance at work, but now I have to forward that mail *back to my home address* if I want to keep a record of it in one place.

    Email addresses uniquely identify users. Names don't. We expect total drooling fuckwits to be capable of associating phone numbers (7 to 10 arbitrary digits) with individuals, so it's actually pretty goddamn reasonable to expect them to be able to associate an email address (a pronounceable string of characters often bearing a striking resemblance to the person's name) with an individual too.

    And as for those who are saying that "mailing everyone in your address book when you change addresses isn't spam", read the article.

    If it mailed everyone in your address book with "Hi. This is John Doe. I'm now on MSN and my address is john_doe@m_s_n_dot_com", it would be a misfeature, but forgivable.

    It doesn't.

    It says "I recently began using a new product from Microsoft called MSN Explorer. With MSN Explorer, you can send and receive e-mail, exchange instant messages with me and the millions of other people who use MSN Explorer, browse the Web and much more. MSN Explorer even offers an exciting new look for using the web and makes it easy to find and play music online. Want to try it out? It's FREE! Just click on the link below and follow the download instructions", and presumably follows it with a link to a Trojan. (Yeah, I consider MSN a trojan. Deal with it.) 100,000 quatloos says the spam's in fuckin' HTML, too.

    If it walks like spam, smells like spam, and is made from potted meat product like spam, it bloody well is spam.

    I've just added the strings in the above-quoted spam to my procmail filter. The response will be "550 MSN auto-generated spam rejected. Use a real ISP that doesn't turn you into a spammer."

    As for Bill Gates and the marketer who came up with this shit, anyone whose sole view of the world is their own lower digestive tract should not be permitted to come within 20 feet of a computer, much less one attached to the 'net.

  • If MS is offering what appears to be a neat feature of change-of-address notification to actually target marketing at people without the sender's knowledge, doesn't this violate some law? Like maybe theft of computer services?

    None that I know of. Again, it would be different if they made no mention of their intentions during the "change of address" process. But the subject line should pretty clearly tip you off that "Hey, I'm about to send some advertisements to people".

    Generally, I stay away from any services or web sites that ask for friends' email addresses. I know that they will simply spam them under my name (think Pointcast a few years back) and I'll only succeed in making them extremely angry.

  • by ichimunki ( 194887 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:30AM (#750189)
    Windows users generally ARE clueless newbies. That's kinda M$'s market no?

    Given the sheer number of personal computers and smaller servers that exist in the world and run under Windows 9x/2k/NT/CE, I'd say that their target market is pretty much anyone and everyone who uses a computer for anything, ever. To try to equate "Windows users" with "clueless newbies" is nothing short of insulting to the computing population as a whole. I'm guessing I can count on one hand the number of computing professionals who, at some point, haven't been willingly involved in some way with MS products, including their foul GUI.

    I say we all take a solemn vow to simply avoid Micros~1 products as much as possible and to stop treating them as though they were actually important in the world of computing.
  • by Stavr0 ( 35032 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:30AM (#750191) Homepage Journal
    No. This is much worse. By sending potentially hundreds of unsolicited commercial emails, you are violating your ISPs Terms of Service. When 5 or 10 of these posts trigger a spamcop report [spamcop.net] or other similar complaint, YAIT!

    • You get TOSsed from your ISP and you'll have to spend hours on the phone to convince said ISP that "honest! it wasn't my fault!"

    • You lose some friends who now think your a MS sellout, spammer or worse
      Your email address will end up ORBS, RBL and several other blacklists, which means your (brand new!) email address is now useless
      Several of you friends will succumb to the suggestion, try MSN explorer and fsck themselves up too; hating you twice as much.

    I nominate this one for the stupid crocky losing misfeature award of the year.
    ---

  • Other services may send out advertising with your messages, but they don't go so far as to attach paragraphs of endorsement written in the first person, making it look as if the user wrote them -- much less not actually mention that they're doing it.
  • by mr.ska ( 208224 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @07:34AM (#750198) Homepage Journal
    It is distasteful, but it's not a Microsoft only thing.

    ...but it is a distasteful Microsoft thing. So we're allowed to whine, hiss, and spit. Aren't we?

    License: By reading this you are agreeing that you agree with me.

    Yes, I agree that I agree that that sentence is your licence.

  • The best part of this article is the MS reps argument about why this isn't spam "The e-mail you received was an invitation from MSN Explorer, sent on behalf of an existing user who changed their e-mail address and wants you to try MSN Explorer."

    This reminds me of Microsoft's response when I pointed out a problem with one of their C++ libraries: "It isn't a bug. It's a limitation." That slogan was my .sig for years.

  • Human: Ummm, I think my computer has a virus.

    MS Tech Support: Why do you think that?

    Human: It e-mailed everyone in my Outlook address book, telling them I had a new e-mail and to try MSN.

    MS Tech Support: Oh, that's not a virus, it's a feature.

    Human: It's a feature of the OS to auto e-mail your friends?

    MS Tech Support: That's correct.

    Human: So the programs like "The Love Bug" are a feature of Windows.

    MS Tech Support: No, they are virii.

    Human: But doesn't this "feature" make the OS more likely to spread virii?

    MS Tech Support: Virii spread is not a result of bad programming on MS's part, but because the user did something wrong.

    Human: Things like this don't happen on my Mac or Linux bo...

    MS Tech Support: *hangs up abruptly*

    So there we have it folks, when MS spams your friends, its a feature, when a virii does it, its the users fault.

  • MS trains it's users to click buttons. Excell makes me click OK four fucking times to save a spreadsheet. 1; click save icon 2: You should use an older format for people that don't have this. OK 3; You might loose something here! OK. 4. I forgot what, but it's obtuse. Ahhhh! just save the thing! We all know how many buttons you have to press to say, change a DNS server. Then you have to reboot! MS interfaces have always been second rate, inconsistent and deceptive.

    I can imagine the same feeling of "just do it already" takes over here too. How many times do you have to click OK to do this? After digging deep enough to change that address, I can imagine the average user is already annoyed. Next they get a promissing note, "Wow, now I don't have to do this by hand." By the time they get to that subject line and don't see anyway to change it, and don't know that the message contains something that WAS NOT prommised... well, they push the button.

  • The problem is that microsoft did to things wrong. They worded thier ad to strong also they
    They did not give people the choice to change it if they wanted to.

  • Either you haven't bothered actually *reading* what he said or you don't think there's any difference between "Microsoft aims its products at" and "Microsoft products are used by". Either way, though, he's wrong. I'll grant you that much.
  • Linux is free, in the same way that picking up a recipe leaflet in a supermarket is free. If you start assuming time is a cost, then nothing is free and virtually every company in the world will be open to lawsuits.

    When someone prints a recipe leaflet, it costs them money. The cost of Linux is borne by the developers that chose to donate their time.

    The cost of spam is borne by several people: the moron who runs an open relay, the owners of routers and gateways en route, the bandwidth, and the disk space the victim's mail server uses to store the message. All the spammer needs to do is send 1 message with the victims in the BCC: field. They pay little of the actual cost, if any---some spam from free trial accounts at their ISP.

    So the point is that some commmunications are banned because of who pays. Junk faxes operate on the same principle as spam; the receiver pays for the toner and paper, and the sender only pays for the fax line. Junk snail mail and telephone salespeople are fine (legally) because the sender pays for the printing and postage or the long-distance call.
    ___ CmdrTHAC0 ___

  • As I see it, the problem here is that the software is encouraging the ignorant to violate internet ethics. The end-user should get what they deserve, which is possible termination of their internet connection for spamming. I encourage everyone to report anyone using this feature to their ISP. But this is not the true problem here. While "my friend" might have technically sent me an unsolicited email, the message (i.e. content) is from Microsoft; given that the user cannot alter the message. It is a very slick twist on viral marketing which I find extremely distasteful. Where are all these Chief Privacy Officers I keep hearing about? Self-regulation at work.

    --
  • With features like this, who needs bugs?
  • Ok, didn't realize i was trolling, and posted before i finished reading the article... sorry to waste your time, mr. BFS.

  • by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @09:50AM (#750255)
    > I cannot believe that these idiots are trying to claim that it isn't spam. It's auto-generated; it's ad-copy; and it's offensive to one's intelligence.

    "This is not spam!" is the first cry of the spammer.

    0) Spam is theft.
    1) Spammers lie.
    2) If you think a spammer's telling the truth, see Rule #1.
    3) Spammers are st00pid.

    (Footnote: Actually, "OooOOOOOHhonnnngggh! is the cry of the spammer. After I pound its balls flat with a mallet. The bit about "It wasn't spam, it was invitation to buy my product" only comes after they've regained the ability to speak. This is poor practice: when you whack a spammer, do it like you mean it. If properly whacked, the bits of goo around the server room will never recongeal into anything that has the ability to speak.)

  • by frankie ( 91710 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @10:12AM (#750259) Journal

    I'm surprised that no one mentioned this yet, but it reminds me of the MCI Friends and Family [cbs.com] fiasco. Remember that one? People signed up for cheap long distance to certain numbers, but MCI conveniently neglected to mention that they would call each of these people at dinner time and say "well, your friend so-and-so gave us your number and said that you should switch to MCI".

    My extended family has boycotted MCI ever since. Too bad none of us use MSN right now -- we can't get indignant and drop their service.

  • Any excuse to bash MS, huh?

    First off, the users who are complaining already hit a button that said it was going to do this. It's not like it did it automatically, the user had to take action for this to take place.

    Secondly, why complain about this, and why now? How is this different from "Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at http://hotmail.com" or "Share information about yourself, create your own public profile at http://profiles.msn.com" that is at the bottom of every message sent from Hotmail, or the ad that Deja inserts at the bottom of every newsgroup post? Shouldn't you have been complaining about that before this?
  • When was the last time you tried to upgrade that woderful hardware you wierdo?

    Last month. Processor upgrade. Worked fine.
    Three months ago, another 128 megs RAM. Worked fine.
    Before that, new internal hard drive. Worked fine.
    Earlier still, another 64. Still worked fine.
    Then of course there were the video and TV cards I added (I now run a two-headed Mac, thank you very much). All of it worked fine. Oh, and there's the external hard drives and CD burner.

    Next on the list: a USB/FireWire combined card. If the other upgrades are any indication at all, it'll work fine.

    I hope you enjoyed being reemed up the ass for the price since apple has a monopoly on its hardware.

    Which is precisely why the only hardware I buy from Apple is the original system itself. The video/TV cards, the RAM, the drives, the burner, and processor upgrade... none of them are from Apple. Apple does overcharge for peripherals (have you seen the ungodly prices they're charging for the RAM upgrades they just started offering?) but the CPU's are more than worth every last penny.

    Ever owned a Mac? I thought not. Very, very few people who call Macs overpriced ever have. All I can say is, own one and you'll understand.
    ----------
  • Stop it! Stop sending the spam! Spamming is the one thing the Knights who LART spammers can not stand!

    [one of the knights gets a new msn address]

    Ah! I spammed us! Quick change our email address! Agh!! I spammed us again! Agh, ogh, egh [rolls around on the floor in agony]

    Steven
  • by B.D.Mills ( 18626 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @12:33PM (#750278)
    I agree completely.

    It's pretty clear how completely distorted the thinking of these Microsoft marketing people is. From the article, a representative of Microsoft's customer support department is quoted as saying: "The e-mail you received was an invitation from MSN Explorer, sent on behalf of an existing user who changed their e-mail address and wants you to try MSN Explorer." (Emphasis is mine.)

    It's pretty clear that Microsoft is intending to put words into the mouths of their users with statements like that.

    The usual definition of "spam" I employ is "unwanted and unsolicited commercial or bulk e-mail". This alleged Microsoft product meets both of these definitions.

    One problem with anti-spam laws is the way some anti-spam laws are worded. It would be the users that would be prosecuted and not Microsoft. But the good news is Microsoft could be prosecuted for making and trafficking a product that sends unsolicited commercial e-mail. It is clearly a trojan feature in their product.

    I feel that Microsoft should get advice from their lawyers on anti-spam laws, other laws relating to unauthorised access to computer equipment and e-mail fraud before releasing this product. If they don't, they could be in for an interesting time in the courts later.

    ---

    Disclaimer: IANAL. IDNLITUSA. (I am not a lawyer. I do not live in the U.S.A.)

    --
  • by painecave ( 189032 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @01:02PM (#750279)
    For those who want to take a look at the VB code, after installation of the software, go to the hidden folder:

    C:\Program Files\MSN\MSNCoreFiles

    (And do your self a favor and make get rid of it's hidden option)

    There you will find a few .mar files. Don't be fooled, they are not short cuts to access databases as your windows may believe. Open em up in wordpad and take a looke. There is some junk in images and such, but there is also alot of VB. I wonder if the send program is in there?

  • by painecave ( 189032 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @01:08PM (#750281)
    in file:

    C:\Program Files\MSN\MSNCoreFiles\ui.mar

    Do a search for 'recently'. It will take you to the message. Go ahead and edit it in wordpad to give yourself any email spam you would like to give.

    My personal favorite is : Security through obscurity and bad press doesn't work very well. If I could do this, pray you have your VB scripting turned off.

  • by coyote-san ( 38515 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @02:56PM (#750298)
    This is an automatic message from Windows Messaging to let you know that _Bob Sagertion_ was able to access his favorite web site, _http://hotdudesinaction.com_, in only click with hot new version of Windows ME!

    Windows Messaging thinks you would also like to know that _Bob Sagertion_ is available at MSN Instant Messaging address _hungry-for-c*ck_ at this very instant!

    You can join _Bob Sagertion_ at _http://hotdudesinaction.com_, or his instant message handle _hungry-for-c*ck_, by downloading your FREE trial version of MSN at the address below. (Or you can join his wife, _Sue Sagertion_, as she searches for _Salt Lake City Divorce Lawyers_.) Remember, with Windows Messaging you are sure your friends can always join you at your favorite sites!

    <i>Bob always thought that the 'paperclip' seemed a little <b>bent</b></i>
  • by detritus. ( 46421 ) on Wednesday September 27, 2000 @03:22PM (#750299)
    It appears that the new ICQ 2000b uses a tactic similar to Microsoft's, where users on your contact list are by default are sent an e-mail from you to log back on to ICQ after 30 days of not being online. While this isn't nearly as intrusive as MSN's browser's feature, it still is sending messages by default without the user's knowledge (unless they look at their preferences).

    Yet more useless and annoying "features" added to ICQ's new releases after AOL's purchase of Mirabilis...

    - Slash
  • I never said I clicked without reading. The point was that MS forces people to click so often that they'll punch anything. The only thing I won't read anymore are those 15 page EULA that have all the force of urine against a tide. Oh, I Agree and I Submit, Bill. Ahhh, ha ha ha ha ha! Nope, don't use that smelly stuff any more except at work where I'm forced to suffer. Setup NT 4.0 service pack 4,5 or 6, with office 97. I've never touched any of MS's impossible to find "default" settings, and so they torture me every day.

    My sympathy goes out to all of those people who have a single choice of OS when they buy their machine. I also feel for them as they get suckered into MSN, and spam all of their friends. Tricked again!

  • >Footnote: Actually, "OooOOOOOHhonnnngggh! is the cry of the spammer. After I pound its balls flat with a mallet.

    To pick a nit here: if a spammer is an ``it", by definition a spammer is neither male nor female, & thus does not have testes (aka balls).

    So how painful *is* the cry of a spammer when you crush its spores?

    Geoff
  • > Your email address will end up ORBS, RBL and several other blacklists, which means your (brand new!) email address is
    > now useless

    No, IIRC, RBL applies to the domain, not the account on the domain. (A site gets black holed if it consistently proves itself unwilling to kick spammers & other abuse-types off of it's system.)

    In other words, msn.com will get RBLed. AGAIN. After they made the minimum feeble attempts to crawl out of that space.

    It's amazing that a company which prides itself for attracting so many ``smart people" has so many marketroids that get it in repeated trouble over so many issues that a couple minutes of applied commonsense would avoid.

    Geoff
  • That's a bit like shipping everybody a machine gun, delivered with a belt of ammo already loaded in the gun loaded, and saying that everything is alright because they shipped it with the safety on?
  • Oh I get it now. If I have to "take action" to send unsolicited email messages it's not spam. Has it ever occured to you that all spam starts with a human clicking a few buttons?
    I guess not. You are probably too smart for something this obvious to occur to you.

    A Dick and a Bush .. You know somebody's gonna get screwed.

  • Outlook syncs to my mobile phone, point me to another program that does that, and I'll use it.

    An older version of Outlook Express used to add everyone who sent me a signed e-mail to my address book wihtout asking me. Now it adds everyone to my address book who sends me an e-mail with a "from" address and name.

    --

  • Other services may send out advertising with your messages, but they don't go so far as to attach paragraphs of endorsement written in the first person, making it look as if the user wrote them -- much less not actually mention that they're doing it

    I'm sure virus writers are already working out how to make use of this new "feature", especially if the text can be changed.
  • by Hanno ( 11981 ) on Thursday September 28, 2000 @12:53AM (#750317) Homepage
    I have clicked "no" on Microsoft's web site when I signed up for a minor download.

    Ever since then, I receive constant updates from Microsoft's "Freedom to Innovate Network".

    Unsubscribing did not help. Complaining to my local customer support of Microsoft Germany did not help (Several German MS employees asked "What is the Freedom to Innovate Network? I never heard of that.") Complaining to the US customer support did not help. Complaining to their US internet provider did not help.

    Now don't tell me about "clicking no the for the love god" when it comes about a company that is too big to even care about me wanting their PR spin or not.

    ------------------
  • Damn, now where did I put Bill's e-address?

    It's billg@microsoft.com [mailto].

    --
    This slashdot post generated by Mozilla. Click "here [mozilla.org]" for details.

  • a good point. It should show you a preview.
    ---

"The medium is the massage." -- Crazy Nigel

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