Hotmail's spam rider asking me to sign up for a service that makes me spam my friends and potential clients.  I'd rather not.

Why is it that Hotmail continues to include ads for itself in emails sent by its service? We do understand that part of why Gmail's caught on is that it can be used exactly like our old, conventional ISP-based mail service? If I send Gmail, it doesn't have ads in the text of the email, only in the sidebar, menubar, etc if they too use Gmail. Gmail users throw privacy to the wind and accept ads because the Gmail interface is that good, but also because we get everything we used to get from an ISP, plus portability, if we want to use our old mail handlers. (Everything but the ability to email .exe's, that is.)

Why Microsoft/Hotmail continues to append "spam riders" to their users' email, I don't understand. Spam riders will keep many Gmail users from ever considering switching. Perhaps (and I suspect this is part of the case) they've given up on growing and would rather simply "monetize" what little they've already got, like when AOL's prices stayed insanely high for dial-up (and even AOL access once users were using someone else's high speed access) and priced themselves right out of business in the long term.

But rather than milking cash, why not make try to make a better interface than Gmail's? Maybe they could remove the insane MSN tie-ins, maybe even keep the spam riders, and take out the annoying ads inside of Hotmail? Right now there's no war for email, not attempt to out-innovate Google. There's only Hotmail and Yahoo trying their darnest to make more profit as their ships all but sink.

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