Hotmail respects your inbox

Hotmail respects your inbox

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Your inbox is very personal. It’s your communications, your business, and your archives. The email you send is clearly very personal too – and it should truly be yours.

When designing the new Hotmail, we focused on helping people get the clutter out of their inboxes so that they can find important messages fast and be more productive. To do this, we added tools to help people manage the email they receive. For example, the Sweep menu lets you quickly delete or move all email from a particular sender. We also improved the filters and created a way to bring all related email messages together in a conversation view. We even took a hard look into our own practices and asked ourselves: What could we change to better respect our customers’ inboxes?

In asking ourselves this question, we made two significant changes with the new Hotmail: 1) We’re removing the text at the bottom of messages sent from Hotmail, and 2) We’re focused on only sending marketing email that you want.

Removing text from the bottom of messages sent from Hotmail

hotmail

We’ve seen a lot of feedback regarding the text that gets added to the bottom of email messages sent from Hotmail and some other email providers. In the image above, you can see an example of this text, “Hotmail goes with you. Get it on your BlackBerry or iPhone.”  We call this text a tagline, and we’d like to address this pretty simply – we’re getting rid of it.

When Hotmail first started in the mid-90s, taglines helped people to discover our then revolutionary new type of personal email service … free web-based email. At the time, most people had an address tied to an ISP like an AOL, CompuServe, or Prodigy email, and taglines were an efficient way to let people know about Hotmail. As Hotmail evolved over the years, so did taglines, taking on the additional role of educating people about new features & services in Hotmail and other related products. They proved to be effective, with nearly 2 million taglines clicked per month. 

But alas, most people don’t really like taglines in their email. Email is personal, and taglines can distract from your message, or make it look less professional. While taglines did drive awareness and clicks, we respect your inbox, and we are taking them out in the upcoming Hotmail release.

Improving our email communications

Email is one of the most popular ways for businesses to educate, engage, and deepen loyalty with their customers; in fact, it’s the communication method that most people prefer when interacting with businesses. However, it’s also a channel that is easily overused, causing frustration when someone’s inbox becomes full of unwanted email. Hotmail recognizes this, and while we’re adding tools to help you easily manage the email you receive, we’re also making sure that the messages we send are desired and relevant, not adding to the problem.

With our next release, we’re focusing our attention on improving our email communications to be best-of-breed like our new Hotmail. We are implementing two changes in our email communications in the US:

  • Don’t open our email? We’ll stop sending it. If you aren’t engaging with our email, our goal is to stop sending it to you, except in the cases of critical account updates or service notifications where we don’t want you to be surprised. We’re also making our opt-out options more prominent.
  • More relevant email. Targeted email improves your experience by keeping you up-to- date on the upgrades, changes, products, and services you use. So we’re improving the relevancy of the email we send by taking into account which services you’re using and what you have or haven’t clicked in the past.

A key part of the new Hotmail is respecting our customers’ best interests and personal inboxes. This is reflected in our investments and decisions about how we communicate.

25 Comments
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  • I have switched from gmail over to microsft hotmail and I am quite happy with the change, however the adds on the bottom of the email bug me. I am happy that the windows team will be removing them.When is the new hotmail going to be realeased?

  • langware
    154 Posts

    @Hisun Kim:

    The URL you referenced (http://feedback.live.com) for providing feedback does not have an option for providing feedback about problems with the Windows Live Solution Center (www.windowslivehelp.com).

    How does one provide feedback for problems with the Windows Live Solution Center?

  • By: AsadachanhMEUANLITH

    [links removed]

    Thank you for all of the work on Hotmail, If you sign in on the web-based Messenger, and then you navigate away from the page, whether it be going to a non-Windows Live page or just plain closing the window, you will keep appearing online to others. all windows live,supports them once, Thank you very much. I'm very happy to see that and safty...?

  • @remain Thanks again for further feedback. We are reviewing our design for possible solutions with this issue.

    http://feedback.live.com is where we collect and monitor user feedback about Windows Live and you can designate the feedback to specific feature.

  • remain
    9 Posts

    @ Hisun Kim

    Thank you for your reply.

    I understand the idea behind the 2-minute window. In fact, I suspected that this was the reason for it, since a user might keep navigating from page to page, so you'll see the user go online-offline-online-offline constantly.

    However, I do believe that 2 minutes is MUCH too long of a window. ESPECIALLY when the user has completely left Windows Live pages. This is worsened by the fact that this also means that for 2 minutes, this user's friends will be sending messages that will VANISH into thin air and never be received. EVER. And they will not know about it at all.

    I sincerely hope that the team that develops and maintains the Web interface will try to fix this as soon as possible.

    The Web interface of Messenger is already live right now, and soon, it will be live in Hotmail as well, meaning millions of users will be using it.

    This issue could mean MILLIONS of unsent messages from MILLION of unaware people.

    Thank you for your time and attention.

  • filenox
    2 Posts

    The coming changes are good. Ok... not always very innovative but I'm sure that these new features will give Hotmail a new start to become a professional online mail client (again) and not one witch is used by kids so they can access Messenger easily

  • @adacosta - good comments on perf. We're constantly measuring our performance and finding ways to make the experience faster, and we definitely look at the trade-offs for graphics vs. speed. For example, we use text links instead of icons in many places. Great feedback, and we'll definitely keep working on performance. Nice blog post, too - thanks.

  • @remain Thanks for your feedback. There's 2 minutes window we keep a user logged in when hethey just navigates away without explicitly signing out from Messenger, for the user's own error correction and smooth perf in short comeback. We will keep an eye on this issue for those unexpected side effects as you observed.

  • adacosta
    91 Posts

    Is it possible for the Windows Live Hotmail Team to add a completely white theme to reduce the time it takes to load Hotmail? I am on a GPRS connection and the time it takes reach my inbox is excruciatingly long because of all of the colorful graphical elements that need to be loaded especially the Vapor wavy banner. I just want to see my email and load it it fast. It would also be nice to have a feature that allows me to stop a message from loading, like a stop button. Sometimes senders will put graphics in their signatures and those take such a long time to load when all I want to see is the content of the message. The ability to turn of the new email icon would also speed things up too. Just use bold to indicate new and not bold to indicate already red.

    Here is a article I wrote "Thoughts on Windows Live Hotmail wave 4" - with some additional suggestions: adacosta.spaces.live.com/.../cns!E8E5CC039D51E3DB!62528.entry

  • lars66
    8 Posts

    Installing a Bing plugin for Firefox without the users' consent AND making the plugin uninstallable goed to show you how much Microsoft "respects" users.

  • I very much look forward to using the new Hotmail!

  • Also, I'm not sure if this is the right place to do this, but if I may, I would like to suggest a modification for the new version of Hotmail:

    When you create a filter to automatically sort emails into your folders, it would be very useful to have the ability to apply the filter to the messages you already have in your folders.

    Thank you.

  • Windows Live Hotmail is really evolving each day. I can't wait until we can see the new Windows Live Wave 4.

    The screenshots that Steve B. presented in Brazil are really exciting!

  • HeinrichP
    18 Posts

    I know the mail-part of the Windows-Live upgrade hasn't finished yet all over the world. but when you in the old version (I certainly doesn't hope this occurs in the new version) you have this VERY long url (also in the Tab-headlines) which is like: example511w.example511.mail.live.com/default.aspx, when it just could be named "Hotmail". It's that simple.

  • HeinrichP
    18 Posts

    Hi!

    Okay. You say Microsoft do respect our inbox and our privacy. I haven't yet figured how to post blog-entries (if it is possible) on this site. Now I say: Please encrypt the entire Windows Live (like Google have just done with Gmail) and remove the ability to choose between http and https on the logon-site (I simply do not understand this opportunity). Except that, http non-secure encyption is the standard on windows live logon-page and you should change this (and remove the ability to use http) you should also simplify the setting-page in Windows Live. Please contact me for more information in redesigning and rearranging the setting-page in Windows Live. One more thing: The language-setting is saved in a cookie. It's really, really, very very very annoying if you (like me) have more than one pc. Please save it directly into the account in the future!

  • Web Guy
    19 Posts

    *** Please add a link on MSN and Live.com to the my.msn.com page. Then I could get around all my favorite sites without needing to type anything in.  ***  

    btw I just popped $19 for the ad free version of your services and LOVE IT!

  • Robert
    1 Posts

    Thank you! The text at the bottom was the only thing that was stoping me to use Hotmail but now I'm moving from Gmail as soon it is available.

  • @windowsliveuser - Yes, you can display what music you are listening to as a personal status message.

  • ericesque
    34 Posts

    I had a feeling this feature (dropping the taglines) was coming when I heard about all the other amazing things you've packed into this update.  I love it!  It IS the tipping point for me and I will be migrating my primary email address from Gmail to my @live.com address.  This update is a big step forward for Hotmail and will push web mail forward as a whole!

  • remain
    9 Posts

    I approve, like I imagine pretty much all Hotmail users out there.

    By the way, I have a fairly major bug to report for the new Windows Live, particularly regarding the web-based Messenger that is now integrated into any Windows Live page.

    If you sign in on the web-based Messenger, and then you navigate away from the page, whether it be going to a non-Windows Live page or just plain closing the window, you will keep appearing online to others.

    And the worst is, if people send you messages while you're in this 'false' online state, you will NEVER get these messages. No, they will NOT be received by you when you get on Messenger (web-based or client) next time, unlike offline messages.

    This is fairly serious, I think, since this would mean people would see you as online, and send you messages, and expect that you actually received them. But you didn't and NEVER WILL.

    I know this is not the place to report bugs, and this is quite off-topic to this blog post, but I really do hope this will be fixed very soon, as I find it to be a very huge flaw.

    Thank you very much.

    P.S.: By the way, where would be the correct place to report such issues or bugs?

  • JohnCz
    204 Posts

    Great news to hear taglines will be gone.

    @webguy, there is a little dropdown to pick a domain to utilize for your Hotmail account.  Currently it defaults to Hotmail but you can also use Live.  It would be nice if they had a few other options.  Or you can do what I did, register your own domain and configure it to use Hotmail.

  • will windows live wave 4 have the option of displaying 'what music i'm listening to' as the previous versions

  • Amazing work! Thank you so much. I can now move to Live as my main email.

  • Web Guy
    19 Posts

    Good steps and thanks for that.  How about adding some  colored folders to help organize things?  Also, it would be nice if you added a more professional sounding domain option as hotmail and live don't really sound super professional.  How about bMail :)

  • Thank you for all of the work on Hotmail, I'm very happy to see that the taglines are being removed. I am also looking forward to the other changes.

    Having my calendar on my Android will be very helpful. I'd use a Windows Phone 7 if our carrier supports them once it's released.