Internet Service Provider MSN.COM Disembowels
|Beginning in the Fall of 2000, Netizens began losing
Internet access to corporate and commericial server mail systems. The problems
were overwhelming, because it kept reappearing, one customer at a time. During
this period of hyper-sensitivity to potential hacking of client databases, the
expense and time invested into research of this problem was incredible, and the
problem continued without resolution or answers.
Eventually, it became
evident that every customer reporting access problems was using MSN.com as
their Internet Service Provider (ISP). But Microsoft Network's technicians had
no answers, either.
MSN.com has now announced their "industry-standard
spam filtering sytem" as the reason that SMTP port access to other servers is
being denied to their customers and POP3 is discouraged, except to MSN's own
servers. How forcing customers to send all outgoing mail through MSN's own
servers provides spam protection to anyone's InBox is not explained. It's clear
that MSN customers cannot secure mail information in their corporate server
accounts, nor use corporate mail lists or corporate or commercial account names
on mail they send, nor corporate security. Nor can commercial Internet servers
be accessed outside of MSN itself. Does MSN seriously believe that it's OK to
prevent people from contacting other professional people and organizations,
using their professional mail systems and e-mail addresses? If MSN has
installed a massive, big-brother, Carnivore-like filter system to collect
information on the communications of all their customers, this goof-ball,
moronic policy might be expected. (Microsoft's own employees can't reach their
own server accounts through MSN.com, or can they?) One cannot help but wonder
where, in the vast, corporate structure of Microsoft, the decision was made to
implement a policy which vomited all over the entire Internet and hundreds of
millions of user accounts that currently exist.
This is the age of
employees who work through their corporate and commercial servers from home or
on the road, and MSN's repressive restrictions, aside from the serious security
implications and potential violations of privacy for their customers,
represents an unwanted and unusable level of service from an ISP for
Information Technology (IT) professionals, which leaves the Simpson's crowd for
the most part, many of whom are happily connected to AOL.
(AOL) is already a vast pablum marketplace for newbie Netizens who benefit from
being spoonfed limited Internet and thoroughly-strained associated services.
AOL has the market lock on the newbies; a market that MSN is unlikely to
challenge. But the more mature Netizens outgrow AOL's limitations, and seek
more direct Internet access or simply require more sophistication than AOL
provides. For many years, MSN.com has been recommended by many Internet
services as a full-service provider, but they have now withdrawn such service
and become unsuitable and offensive among the Internet Community. The venom in
this communication is deemed appropriate for the cost, frustration and lost
clients that Microsoft's traitorous implementation has inflicted upon the rest
The following information includes a message e-mailed to many
customers during May, 2001 from various domains, corporations and hosting
services. If you require Internet mail access to your own commerical or
corporate accounts, you can no longer use Microsoft Network as your ISP.
|Microsoft Network Betrays
Tag Bunny, Webmaster,
All Virtualpath.com Commercial
Internet Server Accounts
Virtualpath.com Subdomain Members
All FirstStartLLC.com Corporate Server Accounts
All Affected Internet
Individuals, Domains & Components
May 4, 2001; MSN.com Internet
Service Provider - POP3/SMTP Account Access
accessed through the Internet Service Provider (ISP) MSN.com have progressively
experienced loss of SMTP access to accounts and services during the past six
months. This has impacted server services for all Internet commercial domain
and corporate servers, not just ours. MSN.com now claims this is due to an
arbitrary anti-spam program, requiring MSN to drop support for SMTP access to
other server systems on the Internet. This lame excuse appears to be their
cover for a hideous control scheme to force customers to use only MSN's mail
accounts. In any case, MSN.com's intentions have not been announced in any
manner that reached our attention until now, and horrendous resources have been
consumed by many bewildered information technicians to determine why
individuals kept losing access to their accounts.
MSN.com, here's the answer:
implementing an industry-standard spam filtering system on our e-mail servers.
This action is part of a new set of anti-spam initiatives designed to protect
MSN customers and the MSN e-mail system from unsolicited commercial e-mail. MSN
does not provide support for accessing e-mail from other accounts through MSN.
If you want to continue to do so while you are signed in to MSN, you must
re-configure your Outgoing mail (SMTP) server information to ensure that all of
your outbound e-mail is sent through the MSN SMTP mail servers.
Part of modern life is
Information Technology via the Internet. Millions of professionals, including
all Virtualpath.com and FirstStartLLC.com clients, require full port access to
specific server services and data security from workplace and subscription
providers, including mailing lists and extensible databases, nearly always
involving sensitive or private information, and the security of such
information which is our duty to maintain within our networks and servers for
People who trust
engineering secrets and other sensitive data to safekeeping in their ISP
mailboxes are taking an extreme risk of serious disenchantment of such trust,
including loss of their careers or control of their personal lives.
Your ISP's job is to
provide access for all Internet services to you. Clean, reliable Internet
access is what you are paying for from your Internet Service Provider. It is
not your ISP's prerogative to determine that you no longer need specific access
services at their whim. For MSN.com, one of the larger ISPs, to have breached
their client's trust in this manner is unconscionable. Virtualpath.com accounts
allow massive transfers of POP3 / SMTP data, unaltered and far more secure than
ISP mail, which no ISP account including MSN.com can match. This new MSN.com
limitation prohibits access to any mail account other than through MSN.com
servers. Like AOL, MSN.com apparently intends to sniff all of your mail and
determine whether you need to be ratted-off to big brother. That is, in fact,
the probable reason for such an AOLish policy.
MSN.com has been
trusted by the Internet Community as a quality ISP in the past, and recommended
as such by Virtualpath.com and others for many years. MSN.com's new policy is a
breach of trust and a breach of their duty to their customers. Their
implementation of the new policy has been underhanded and secretive, apparently
without informing their own technical service personnel as to why customers
were progressively being cut off from their Internet server SMTP services. If
you use MSN.com, you will need to fire them and obtain an honest, full-service
ISP to retain normal access to Virtualpath.com and any other commercial and
corporate server accounts.
In cases where you
have a time-requirement contract with MSN.com as part of an equipment purchase
agreement, you may have grounds to claim breach of contract on MSN.com's part
to break the contract, since their service has changed to deny services you
require from an ISP. You CAN NO LONGER USE MSN.COM to access any other e-mail
server except MSN's own mail servers.
associated services will supply server-side technical details in any
class-action litigation against MSN.com regarding this issue, upon request.
This situation sheds new light on other issues involving Microsoft, and we've
withdrawn previous support for Microsoft in their Freedom To Innovate campaign
as we're now unsure about their motives. Virtualpath.com will also publish news
of any customer-MSN.com disputes that can be verified. We will attempt to
present all three sides of the dispute, since the client (you), ISP (MSN.com)
and Internet Server Services (us) are all involved. Additional comments from
Microsoft will be published here as well.
In various regions, we
will be exploring reputable full-ISP providers to replace MSN.com for our
clients. We will attempt to find such providers in portions of the United
States, South America and parts of Europe for any of our users, whether former
MSN.com customers or not. Please feel free to contact your sysops about any
specific information for your area.
MSN.com has been a
valued Internet partner for years. Hundreds of various associations with
Microsoft, Site Builder's Network and Microsoft products and testing programs
have been extremely rewarding and contributed greatly to the overall
technological growth of the Internet. And unlike oppressive ISPs that were
unsuitable for I.T. use and for our clients, MSN.com has provided excellent
service in the past. Perhaps they will have a premium service that provides
suitable access in the future, but such an option was not mentioned anytime
during problem remediation, including (finally) the communication from MSN.com
that is included above. We are shocked by this unfortunate betrayal, and
surprised at such a move while antitrust suits are still in progress from
similarly preceived, allegedly heavy-handed tactics. MSN.com has forced this
communication as millions of users are cut off from their established mail
accounts, so they must be anticipating a reaction from us. We will forward any
further information from MSN.com to you.
Tag Bunny, Webmaster
CONTACT MSN - Tell them what you think about their new
MSN SUPPORT - Why Can I No Longer Access My Commercial Mail
The majority of spamming
and hacker attacks come from the major ISPs; AOL, MSN and Yahoo. These ISPs are
trying not only to protect their own customers, but reduce complaints from the
other ISPs who constantly complain of spam and hacking.
By forcing customers to use only
their ISP mail accounts, the connection which sent unwanted or malicious mail
is readily apparent, providing for correction by any action necessary to
prevent future occurrences from that customer.
Yahoo and AOL already limit mail
access to their own servers. MSN's choice to do the same is reasonable.
MSN is neither AOL nor
Yahoo. AOL customers are either blissfully ignorant of WWW access to server
accounts or they don't have need of such access. AOL's stated opinion is that
they know what their customers need, which seems to work for a lot of people.
On the other hand, many who cannot use AOL's handouts have been able to find
MSN.com in most areas of the U.S.
The problem is that MSN's customers often require full access,
which is why they chose MSN in the first place, and the method of MSN's
withdrawn services has been costly and frustrating. Customers didn't have time
to prepare by obtaining a new ISP with the services they require - MSN just
changed the service and they were suddenly, surprisingly, cut
When MSN says, "... industry standard anti-spam," does that mean
it's a standard because MSN is forcing it onto their customers?
Spam isn't so much of a problem.
There are options to limit spam, such as choosing the DoubleClick Opt Out
Cookie and using Outlook's features to block spammers. Deleting unwanted
messages that are singular and probably won't be repeated takes just a second.
Blocking more persistent spammers, or removing your name from an unwanted
subscription, takes a moment longer. None of this justfiies withdrawal of
server access by MSN, particularly from the company that sells monstrously
expensive software to provide such services on LAN servers,
MSN's port 25 lockout shouldn't affect 80% of their customers. The
others, with only 100 million (?) mail accounts which are unaccessable
shouldn't cause too much of a stink. And this won't bother MSN's hotmail
accounts, which happen to be http instead of smtp/pop3. So what's the