Do Hotmail really sell email addresses? I don’t think so.
Ok, anyone who has ever tried to sign up for a Hotmail account knows that pretty much every word is taken. So bob @ hotmail is gone, bobby @ hotmail, bobman @ hotmail, etc. To get an email address, you need to go with an obscure combination of words, or a combination of words and numbers or letters and numbers. Even then, bob1953 @ hotmail is probably gone, so is bsmith53 @ hotmail etc. Well, the porn spammers know this too. Keeping in mind that they don’t care if the email doesn’t get through because they’re unlikely to be providing a real return address, they can just set their email program to try all possible combinations containing words and names, and a few numbers, and probably have a huge success rate. If you want to test this theory for youself, sign up for two Hotmail accounts. Make one as simple as possible and one much more complex (like b1j9smith53xj72 @ hotmail), don’t ever use them to send or receive email and see how long it takes the spam to come rolling in. If the theory that Hotmail sells the addresses is correct, both should start getting the same amount of spam in the same amount of time. If the spammers are just trying every possible combination of letters and numbers, a long complex sequence like b1j9smith53xj72 should never come up, and it should never get spam.
Also, I signed up for a Hotmail account using my first name, my last name and my birth year, and got a lot of spam, but also got emails for another girl of my name. She’d had the account and lost it - either because she didn’t check it for 60 days, or because she asked for it to be deleted, or something like that - and so it was available when I applied for it, but it had been used in the past, and so it was still getting spam from it’s previous use. If she had used it while signing people’s guestbooks or on newsgroups, it would have ended up on the spammers list, and they would have kept on emailing it after it was deleted because they don’t get the bounce messages.
So, the original question, why do they still get spam through despite the exclusive filter? I have no idea. I really cannot explain that one. If the email was being sent with your own address as the return address, I guess it would make sense, but it’s not. Perhaps there is some corruption at Hotmail, but I’m thinking it’s more likely to be corrupt individuals and not the company policy - after all, Hotmail are the ones storing all this spam, which must cost them a fortune. I can’t see spam being so lucrative that it’s worth the massive storage space needed. If Hotmail could totally eliminate spam, wouldn’t their bandwidth and storage needs drop dramatically, saving them big dollars?