A Weblog About Topics and Issues Discussed in the Book Spam Kings by Brian McWilliams

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June 21, 2005

Microsoft retiring abuse@microsoft.com

Reporting spam is a thankless job. But the Internet's founders nonetheless wanted to encourage the practice. So, in a protocol known as RFC 2142, they dictated that domain holders must create a mailbox named abuse@domain.com.

The idea was to facilitate reports of spam or other network abuse, without requiring Internet users to search for contact addresses or otherwise jump through hoops.

In a rather shocking violation of Internet etiquette, Microsoft has decided to stop accepting mail to abuse@microsoft.com. Messages to that address currently generate the following auto-reply:

Thank you for contacting Microsoft. Your e-mail will be handled by a Customer Service Representative within approximately 24 hours.Please note that the e-mail address you have contacted, "abuse@microsoft.com" will be retired on April 29, 2005. In the future, please visit http://www.microsoft.com/contactus to contact Microsoft.

OK, so maybe Microsoft has devised a better, if non-standard way to report spam coming from its networks. Wrong. The Contact Us page at Microsoft.com contains no information on the subject of reporting abuse whatsoever.

Ironically, a section of Microsoft's site devoted to email fraud and phishing still recommends that Internet users report suspicious messages to abuse@microsoft.com.

Microsoft's move has landed it on a blacklist maintained at RFC-Ignorant.org, a site that calls itself a "clearinghouse for sites who think that the rules of the internet don't apply to them."

A detailed discussion of why "abuse@domain" accounts are essential is available here.

UPDATE: The aliases abuse@hotmail.com and abuse@msn.com are apparently not scheduled for retirement.

Posted by brian at June 21, 2005 10:30 AM


abuse@microsoft.com still is a valid address. We just turned off the auto-reply.

Posted by: anon Y Mous at June 24, 2005 10:23 AM

i signed into msn and a block came up telling me that i was online on another computer in a different location. so i change my password and called msn tech support and alerted them about my situation. msn tech support told me to come to this web site and it would help solve the problem

Posted by: Valerie Bartlett at July 20, 2005 8:04 PM


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